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Katherine Gallagher Robbins, Senior Policy Analyst

Katherine Gallagher Robbins

Katherine Gallagher Robbins is a Senior Policy Analyst for Family Economic Security at the National Women’s Law Center where she examines how tax and budget policies influence the financial stability and security of low-income women and families.  Before joining the Center in 2010, Ms. Gallagher Robbins worked as an organizer for the California Public Interest Research Group at the University of California, San Diego. She is a Ph.D. candidate in Political Science at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and a graduate of the College of William and Mary.

My Take

The Fair Minimum Wage Act and the Paycheck Fairness Act - Perfect Together

Posted by Katherine Gallagher Robbins, Senior Policy Analyst | Posted on: April 07, 2014 at 09:31 am

You know what I love?  When two things go together perfectly.  Cake and ice cream.  Wine and cheese.  Chocolate and…well, OK, chocolate pretty much goes perfectly with everything.

Two bills that are expected to see some action in Congress this month, The Fair Minimum Wage Act and Paycheck Fairness go together perfectly, too.  That’s because they’re both critical issues for women – and both will help women achieve fair pay.

The Fair Minimum Wage Act would gradually raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 per hour, increase the tipped minimum cash wage from $2.13 per hour to 70 percent of the minimum wage, and index these wages to keep pace with inflation. Raising the minimum wage would help women achieve fair pay:

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NWLC Releases New Report! Reality Check: Seventeen Million Reasons Low-Wage Workers Need Strong Protections from Harassment

Did you know that a narrowly divided 5 to 4 Supreme Court recently watered down protections for victims of workplace harassment? More than 15 years ago, the Supreme Court recognized the potential for supervisors to abuse their power over their subordinates and employers’ responsibility to prevent that abuse. And the Court put in place strong protections from harassment by a supervisor. But the Court’s recent decision in Vance v. Ball State University [PDF] rolled back those protections by including within their reach only supervisors with the power to take actions like hiring and firing. The Vance decision said that supervisors who direct daily work are now mere coworkers in the eyes of the law, and must bring their cases under the much more difficult standard that applies to coworker harassment claims. Now workers will have a much harder time holding their employers accountable for harassment committed by lower-level supervisors who assign tasks, set schedules, and control other aspects of their day-to-day work. As Justice Ginsburg noted in her dissent, the decision was “blind to the realities of the workplace.”

Reality Check: Seventeen Million Reasons Low-Wage Workers Need Strong Protections from Harassment, released today by NWLC, highlights three particularly important workplace realities:

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White House: Raising the Minimum Wage and Tipped Minimum Wage Helps Close Wage Gap, Reduces Poverty

Posted by Katherine Gallagher Robbins, Senior Policy Analyst | Posted on: March 26, 2014 at 11:41 am

A new report  issued by the White House this morning provides more compelling evidence that raising the minimum wage is critical for advancing fair pay and economic security for women. The report evaluates the impact of the Fair Minimum Wage Act proposed by Senator Harkin (D-IA) and Representative Miller (D-CA) and, like the NWLC analysis of the proposal, finds that women would especially benefit from raising the minimum wage, now just $7.25 an hour, to $10.10 per hour, increasing the tipped minimum cash wage – now just $2.13 an hour – to 70 percent of the minimum wage, and indexing these wages for inflation.

Here are some key findings from the report:

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Six New Facts on Why We Must Raise the Minimum Wage and Advance Equal Pay

We like numbers! We’ve previously identified 10 reasons why raising the minimum wage is a women’s issue. Well, we’ve been crunching some new employment and wage data and wanted to share these new six facts (and a chart!) that underscore why it’s critical to raise the minimum wage and advance equal pay and equal opportunity for women:

  • Three-quarters: The share of workers in the 10 largest low-wage occupations (defined in this analysis as those with median hourly wages of less than $10.10 per hour) who are women (76 percent), compared to 47 percent of all workers who are women.
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President Obama's Budget Expands Investments in Infrastructure and Manufacturing - But Women Are Falling Behind

The President’s budget proposes billions for infrastructure and manufacturing – critical job investments for both women and men. For this investment to pay off for working families, we need to prioritize programs that move women into nontraditional, higher paying jobs. Yet the budget simultaneously eliminates the Women in Apprenticeship and Nontraditional Occupations (WANTO) program.

WANTO supports community-based organizations that provide training to women in pre-apprenticeship programs and technical assistance to employers and labor unions. WANTO promotes nontraditional occupations for women and provides support for women’s success in the trades. Eliminating WANTO may slow women’s entrance into traditionally male-dominated fields, and leaves vulnerable the organizations who received support through WANTO for almost a decade. Women are already losing traction in these fields, accounting for just 10 percent of the gains in the 272,000 jobs added in the construction and manufacturing industries in the last year, despite comprising 22 percent of these industries.

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