Labor's Edge Articles by Liz Shuler
Our Days, Our Lives: Working Women Need a Voice on the Job
By Liz Shuler, Secretary-Treasurer of the AFL-CIO
Shirley Chisholm broke ground as the first African-American woman elected to Congress. But back in 1970, she knew her story was the exception, not the rule. Speaking during a debate on the Equal Rights Amendment, she said and I quote: “Discrimination against women, solely on the basis of their sex, is so widespread that it seems…normal, natural and right.”
Women Deserve a Voice on the Job and At the Ballot Box
By Liz Shuler, Secretary-Treasurer of the AFL-CIO and
Page Gardner, Founder and President of the Voter Participation Center
Today we celebrate Women’s Equality Day, a day that commemorates the 19th amendment being ratified granting millions of women the right to vote. In the 95 years since, women have used their votes to better their lives, strengthen their families and protect their communities. But women have yet to maximize their power at the polls – about a third of all U.S. women and close to 40 percent of unmarried women are not registered to vote -- or in the workplace. The labor movement provides nearly seven million women with a voice on the job through union membership and is a driving force in the fight for economic equality and security for women.
Unions Are a Woman’s Best Friend
by Liz Shuler
With National Women’s History Month behind us now, it’s still important to celebrate the great strides women have made over the past decades. It is equally important to remember how many women workers still don’t have the basic necessities they need to support themselves and their families. The labor movement views the struggle for women’s equality as a shared fight, especially considering women are the sole or primary breadwinners for 40% of families in the United States. Women of color, in particular, have a hard time getting good pay and benefits, and they make up a disproportionate share of low-wage workers.
Why Should Emily Lose $443,000?
Emily Crockett is 29 years old. Over her working life, she can expect to lose $443,000 to unequal pay.
You’ve probably heard the statistics: Women get paid 77 cents for every $1 men get paid. The picture is even worse for women of color. And the numbers haven’t budged in more than a decade.
The wage gap is there for women no matter what level of education they have or what type of experience they have. It persists regardless of what type of job a woman holds or what point in her career she is at, and it only gets worse as she advances in her career.
What’s So Great About Unions, Anyway?
Let’s be honest. Sometimes, outside of election campaign seasons, even progressives wonder what’s so great about unions. Sure, we had a role to play before job safety laws, the eight-hour day, Social Security and civil rights laws were passed. But today?
Even our friends aren’t immune to the relentless attacks on unions from the right and the stereotypes that come with them: union thugs, lazy workers, relics of the past, self-absorbed, yadda, yadda, yadda.
Most of you know that as union strength has declined over the past three or so decades, so has the middle class. That's because unions are just regular working people who come together to balance power with employers and bargain for better living and working standards. And when unions are weakened by corporate and right-wing politicians, all working people feel the squeeze