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. Read more »
Lynette Harris, a maintenance technician, brought a sexual harassment suit against the City of Baltimore’s Department of Public Works in 2006. She alleged that male coworkers and supervisors referred to her and other women as “bitches” and used other derogatory terms on almost a daily basis, that she was repeatedly exposed to provocative photos of women in common areas at work, and that sexually explicit conversations were common in the workplace. The court held that Harris was entitled to a trial on her claims of supervisor harassment because several of her harassers were able to exert control over her routine work assignments, even though it was unclear whether her supervisors had the power to hire and fire her.
But, as a result of the Supreme Court’s decision last June in Vance v. Ball State University, courts across the country will be forced to restrict the definition of supervisor to only those with the power to hire and fire, and the like. This means that employers will no longer have a heightened legal obligation to protect against harassment by lower-level supervisors who direct daily work activities but are not authorized to take actions like hiring and firing – and that employees harassed by lower-level supervisors will have to bring their claims under the far tougher standard that applies to cases of coworker harassment. Read more »
January’s jobs numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics were worse than analysts predicted and especially bad for women. Despite higher expectations, it turns out that the economy added only 113,000 jobs last month. What’s more, women actually lost 51,000 jobs and men captured all of the job gains, adding 164,000 jobs.
Breaking down the jobs numbers:
The majority of women’s losses were in the public sector (-30,000). The other biggest losses for women came in the professional and business services sector (-14,000), and retail (-5,000).
Women’s public sector losses continued a distressing recent trend: women have lost public sector jobs every month since September. In fact, women have accounted for all of 51,000 public sector jobs lost since September.
Detailed public sector information is not yet available by sex for January, but we know that of the total public sector losses (-29,000), there were losses at every level of government: federal (-12,000), state (-6,000), and local (-11,000). The greatest losses were in local government education (-8,700) and as of December 2013, women made up 73 percent of those workers.
Women’s gains in January were minor – their largest job gains were in construction and leisure and hospitality, with 3,000 additional jobs in each. Men outpaced women in both industries, with 45,000 construction and 21,000 leisure and hospitality jobs added in January.
Last month, I told you that women captured all of December’s weak job growth. But revised data for December released today show that women actually gained only 36,000 of the 75,000 jobs added in December—less than half of all the jobs added.
Here are 5 things we learned about the jobs with the largest projected growth between 2012 and 2022:
Projected job growth in the next decade is disproportionately in female-dominated occupations.Of the 30 occupations with the largest projected growth in the next decade, nearly two-thirds (18) are female dominated, with workforces that are 60 percent or more female.
These high-growth jobs are also disproportionately low-wage, with almost half (13) of the 30 jobs typically paying less than $13.83 per hour.
Of the 13 low-wage, high-growth jobs, twice as many are female-dominated compared to male-dominated: eight occupations are female-dominated, four are male-dominated, and one is mixed.
Asia Myers’ story is all too common. After suffering a threatened miscarriage, Asia brought her employer a doctor’s note with a lifting and pushing restriction. If Asia had been injured at her job, as a Certified Nursing Assistant at Hope Healthcare Center in Michigan, or if she had a medical condition other than pregnancy, this would have been no problem. With a doctor’s note, these other categories of employees were routinely given light duty assignments such as hair and nail care for residents, shaving residents, paperwork, feeding residents, and performing showering tasks that don’t require lifting.
But Asia was pregnant and Hope Healthcare Center maintains a discriminatory policy that denies pregnant employees reasonable accommodations that it permits for non-pregnant employees with similar restrictions. So when Asia asked for light duty, she was refused. Hope Healthcare Center forced Asia to choose between a steady paycheck and a healthy pregnancy. When she chose her pregnancy she was required to take unpaid leave. She lost her health benefits and struggled to make ends meet at a time when she most needed healthcare and a steady paycheck.
Today, Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand are introducing the Family and Medical Insurance Leave Act (FAMILY Act). The FAMILY Act would provide workers with partial wage replacement for up to 12 weeks for a serious illness; the serious illness of a child, parent, or spouse; the birth or adoption of a child; the injury of a family member who is in the military; or for time off surrounding a family member’s deployment. The FAMILY Act is self-funded through employer and employee payroll tax contributions.
Here are the top 5 reasons why this is a very big deal:
Everyone needs paid time off, but few have it. Nearly all workers need to take time away from work at some point to deal with a serious personal or family illness or to care for a new child. Yet, only 12 percent of workers in the U.S. have paid family leave through their employers and fewer than 40 percent have personal medical leave through an employer-provided temporary disability program. The FAMILY Act would create a national paid family and medical insurance leave program, and cover all workers in all companies. This means people could take necessary time off without worrying about making ends meet.
The workplace is changing—and moms are in it. Women make up almost half of the U.S. workforce today. Four in 10 American households with children under age 18 now include a mother who is the sole or primary breadwinner. This number has quadrupled since 1960 and includes 8.6 million single mothers. While women are moving up in the workforce, studies show that they are still primarily responsible for family caregiving responsibilities. Women (and men) need income replacement when they take time out to care for families. The FAMILY Act supports women and their families by shoring up families’ economic security—especially for single-parent families—when it is needed most.
Today we’re taking one giant step closer to that goal. Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand are introducing the Family and Medical Insurance Leave Act (the FAMILY Act), a bill to provide up to 12 weeks of partial wage replacement to workers who need to take time out to care for themselves and their families.
It’s really very simple. Americans who work hard and play by the rules should not have to risk a nose dive into poverty just to care for their loved ones. It’s unacceptable.
Times have changed – it’s clear. Women are in the workforce in greater numbers than ever before and often heading single-parent families, or in families that rely on two incomes to make ends meet. And times aren’t changing back. Read more »
D.R. Horton, Inc. v. National Labor Relations Board – a case decided this week by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals – puts yet another roadblock in the path of employees who try to come together to enforce their rights. In a 2-1 opinion, the Fifth Circuit upheld a construction company’s policy of requiring its employees to sign an agreement to arbitrate all employment disputes and to forgo any opportunity to pursue their claims through a class action. The court’s ruling overturned a National Labor Relations Board order holding that the employer’s policy was invalid because it violated the right of workers to engage in collective activity under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA).
The majority reasoned that the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) requires the enforcement of arbitration agreements, including this one, even though its enforcement meant trampling employees’ ability to come together to challenge the terms and conditions of their employment under the NLRA. The dissent argued forcefully that the FAA does not require litigants to “forgo the substantive rights afforded by a statute.” The dissent further argued that because the FAA permits invalidation of an arbitration agreement for any “grounds as exist at law or in equity for the revocation of a contract,” this arbitration agreement should be invalidated for violating employees’ rights to engage in “concerted activity” under the NLRA. Read more »
When it comes to salary negotiation, managers ought to check their biases at the door, and make decisions about employees based on merit. But a recent article from TODAY Money notes that women who ask for more money are often negatively perceived by their supervisors as being greedy, demanding, or not nice. Research has documented that women pay a social cost for negotiating pay that men do not experience; one study found that when women negotiated they were considered less desirable by hiring decision-makers, and their colleagues had less desire to work with them. Research also shows that women have greater concerns than men about experiencing backlash for negotiating pay, and that these concerns are very much grounded in reality. This backlash, in itself, is a form of workplace discrimination.
For Walmart workers, this year Black Friday starts on Black Thursday, the day also known as Thanksgiving. Being open on Thanksgiving is actually nothing new for Walmart. What is new is that Black Friday sales will start at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving this year, meaning many more workers must work through the holiday.
While Walmart hopes to cash in this Black Friday (and Thursday), its workers simply hope to make enough cash to put food on the Thanksgiving table. OUR Walmart has planned 1500 Black Friday protests at Walmart stores across the country to call attention to this irony, and the very difficult working conditions the group says dog Walmart workers.