Equal Pay/Fair Wage

Obama Promotes Family-Friendly Workplace Reforms

Monday, June 23, 2014

The full-day meeting explored a range of reforms to benefit working families. But the day also saw federal contractors walk off their jobs to protest the federal government's role as the largest funder of low-wage jobs for working women and people of color.

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Two original "Rosie the Riveters" at The Department of Labor Regional Forum in San Francisco held ahead of today's working families summit.
 

  

NEW YORK (WOMENSENEWS)— President Barack Obama and his team promoted a package of reforms to strengthen the rights of working families at an all-day conference Monday, The Associated Press reported June 23.

Obama used Twitter and the hashtag #FamiliesSucceed and #WHSocial to spread the message on social media about the need for paid sick leave, paid family leave and wage equity for women.  

 

Women and families' rights groups along with advocates for social justice used Twitter to emphasize the importance of improving working conditions for pregnant women and working mothers.

 

A centerpiece of the day was Obama’s support for the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, which would require employers to accommodate those who are pregnant or face other similar limitations, a guarantee widespread among other industrialized nations.  

New York Congressman Jerrold Nadler, the author of the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, applauded Obama’s support for the bill. “It is unconscionable that, nearly 35 years after passage of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978, women are still being forced to leave jobs," Nadler said in a press statement. The bill has 128 co-sponsors in the United States House of Representatives, Nadler said, and Sen. Robert Casey (D-PA) has introduced a version in the Senate based on Nadler’s bill, which was first introduced on May 8, 2012.   

But not everyone is applauding today. Hundreds of low-wage federal contract workers for 50 companies doing business at federal sites – like the National Zoo, Pentagon and Union Station – walked off their jobs Monday, saying they were led by an army of working women dressed like Rosie the Riveter.

In a press statement they said this was the eight strike by low-wage federal contract workers in the past year.

Against that backdrop, a report says that the federal government is the largest funder of low-wage jobs for working women and people of color, and that President Obama should take executive action to help lift them into the middle class, RH Reality Check reported.

The report, Underwriting Good Jobs, details how 8 million workers and their families, or more than 20 million Americans overall, depend on low-wage jobs that are significantly funded by taxpayer dollars. A disproportionate number of those low-wage employees are women -71 percent - and minorities - 44 percent.  

Meanwhile, House Speaker John Boehner, the Republican from Ohio, used Twitter on June 23 to register partisan opposition to the White House forum. 

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