The Road to Equal Pay

Henritta & grand daughterEqual Pay Day.  It sounds like something we should celebrate.  But instead, April 8 marked a somber symbolic milestone. Equal Pay Day represents the point at which a woman working full time will have earned as much as a man working full time the previous year. It takes women almost 100 additional days to make up the 23-cent average gender wage gap.

In 2014, the fact that this gap exists—and is even worse for women of color—is unacceptable. Women make up nearly two-thirds of minimum wage workers, and are increasingly the sole breadwinners of their households. Now, more than ever before, working families can’t afford unequal pay.

Women who are union members are less likely to face paycheck discrimination. Studies show that being a member of a union raises women’s wages by 12.9% compared to their nonunion peers. That’s a pay increase of $222 a week, according to the Center for Economic and Policy Research. Women of color who are union members earn almost 35 percent more than nonunion women of color.

Unions improve working conditions for women, but the fight for equal pay is far from over. Just this week, Republicans in Congress successfully blockedlegislation that would have helped close the pay gap.

UFCW Local 75 fights to secure fair wages for all workers, regardless of race or gender, by winning strong contracts and working to elect pro-worker, pro-woman leaders to office. Like any battle worth fighting, it’s going to take all of us working together to win equal pay for women.