retail worker

Credit: MIKI Yoshihito on Flickr, under Creative Commons (CC BY 2.0).



Fast food and retail workers in Chicago joined the movement for fair pay on Dec. 13. At a rally at Cityfront Plaza, organized by the Workers Organizing Committee of Chicago, a labor organization, speakers called out major fast food and retail corporations for weakening Chicago’s economy with “bottom-of-the-barrel” wages, the committee said in a press statement. They delivered a letter to the Greater North Michigan Avenue Association demanding a response to the campaign by Dec. 22.

A recent report by Action Now, an advocacy group, and Stand Up! Chicago, a coalition of community and labor organizations, found that Chicago residents pay a steep social and economic price when major corporations pay their employees poverty-level wages, so that many are forced to rely on public assistance just to survive, reported the committee.

The fight for better working conditions for the middle and lower class is a growing movement across the country. The most notable instances are striking Wal-Mart workers who are demanding better pay and benefits, and, as of last week, Michigan workers protesting against the new anti-union “right-to-work” law.

In October, retail workers in New York launched the Sustainable Scheduling campaign for fair scheduling. A few weeks later fast food workers launched their Fast Food Forward campaign demanding livable wages and the right to organize. On Dec. 6 various low-wage workers in New York united in Times Square to fight for their rights to decent wages, benefits and the right to be treated fairly.

–Maggie Freleng, Women’s eNews correspondent

More News to Cheer This Week:

Arab Women Media Watch Centre in England congratulated the 2012 Olof Palme Prize winners, including Radhia Nasraoui of Tunisia. She is a lawyer fighting for the freedoms and rights of people in the Arab region, Journomania reported Dec. 14.

Colin Powell joined military leaders urging congressional support for an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act introduced by U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen that would allow the Department of Defense to cover the cost of abortions for servicewomen who are survivors of rape and incest, Stand With Servicewomen announced in a press statement.

A federal judge has permanently blocked North Carolina from issuing an anti-abortion specialty license plate, ruling that offering plates with a “Choose Life” slogan without an alternative supporting abortion rights is unconstitutional, The Chicago Tribune reported Dec.10.

The United Arab Emirates has made it compulsory for all public and private sector organizations to include a female representative on their board of directors, the Arabian Business reported Dec.10.

Hundreds of people formed a human chain in Rabat, Morocco, to denounce all forms of violence against women, AFP reported Dec. 8.

A group of Mormon feminists have declared Dec. 16 as “Wear Pants to Church Day” and is calling on sister saints across the globe to join the effort, The Salt Lake Tribune reported Dec. 11.


A senior advocate for women in Afghanistan was shot dead by unknown gunmen Dec. 10, The Washington Post reported. It is the latest assassination against women’s rights activists in the country. Two assailants riding on a motorbike gunned down Najia Seddiqi as she was heading for her office in eastern Laghman province, according to Helai Nekzad, the chief of information at the Women’s Affairs Ministry in Kabul. Seddiqi was head of the Women’s Affairs Department for Laghman province. Her predecessor in that post was killed four months ago, when explosives hidden in her car were detonated.

Meanwhile, a U.N. report indicated that Afghan female victims of violence are still being failed by the justice system, BBC News reported Dec. 11. Although some progress has been made in implementing a 2009 anti-violence law, overall use of the law “remained low,” the report says.

More News to Jeer This Week:

Women took to the streets in Michigan on Dec. 11 to protest the state’s sweeping assault on women’s health with the package of anti-abortion legislation passed in the Senate last week, The Guardian reported Dec. 12.

Although women make up nearly half of the U.S. work force, only 16.6 percent have seats on the boards of Fortune 500 companies and the number has barely budged since 2005, according to a Catalyst 2012 study released Dec. 11, Reuters reported.

Male and female executives sitting on the same board are engaged in “sexual display,” which is why most women won’t succeed at the top, independent researcher Steve Moxon found, The Business Insider reported Dec. 10.

Women and kids will be the first victims of the “fiscal cliff” if a deal is not struck between Democrats and Republicans by the end of the year, says Heidi Hartmann, president of the Institute for Women’s Policy Research in Washington, D.C, The Huffington Post reported Dec. 10.

Muslim women often feel pressured to change their appearance or anglicize their name in order to access employment, a recent parliamentary report found in Britain,  The Guardian reported Dec.10.


A longtime Orange County judge was publicly admonished by a state agency for saying that a rape victim “didn’t put up a fight” and that her sexual assault was only “technical,” the Los Angeles Times reported Dec. 14. The Commission on Judicial Performance said Superior Court Judge Derek G. Johnson’s comments breached judicial ethics.

A British landmark civil suit was settled on recently with the Metropolitan police paying £15,000 (about $24,000) damages to a woman whose rape when she was 15 was badly mishandled by a police Sapphire Team in Southwark, London, Women Against Rape said in a press statement Dec. 13. This case put the spotlight on the flagship Sapphire Rape Units who have mishandled multiple rape case investigations in the past.

Nearly half of women who became pregnant through in vitro fertilization (IVF) after age 40 say they were “shocked” to discover they needed fertility treatments, according to a study, Fox News reported Dec. 11.

Women stand a much better chance of becoming centenarians than men do, a U.S. Census Bureau report shows, U.S. News and World Report reported Dec. 11.

Former International Monetary Fund leader Dominique Strauss-Kahn and Nafissatou Diallo, a New York City hotel worker, have signed a settlement of her sexual assault lawsuit. The terms of the settlement are confidential, the Associated Press reported Dec. 10.

In Memoriam:

Aloisea Inyumba, the minister of gender and family promotion in Rwanda, passed away Dec. 6 at the age of 48, reported Dec.10. Inyumba had been suffering from throat cancer. She was named a WeNews 21 Leaders in 2007 for her effort as a senator to promote the peace and cooperation of women on local and international levels.

Jenni Rivera, a pop star and spokesperson of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), was killed Dec. 9 in a plane crash, NCADV announced in a press release. Rivera, an entertainment icon known for her music and her television show, was a vocal advocate against domestic violence and a tireless champion for Latinas.

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