March 31, 2014
Women’s History Month has provided us with an opportunity to highlight the lives of Mary Harris “Mother” Jones, Frances Perkins, Dolores Huerta and Addie Wyatt—remarkable women who made significant contributions to the labor movement.
These women’s lives have served as an inspiration to today’s female labor activists. From the brave women of OUR Walmart to the women who work in our nation’s meatpacking, food processing, and poultry plants, as well as supermarkets and retail stores, women are taking the lead in fighting for respect and dignity at work and the right to organize for better wages and benefits.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, union membership remains higher for men (11.9 percent) than women (10.5 percent), but the gap is narrowing as women realize the benefits of belonging to a union. In fact, workers who were members of a union in 2013 had median weekly earnings of $950, while workers who were not union members earned $750 per week.
As UFCW members, it is our duty to welcome more women into the labor movement by spreading the word that when workers stick together as a union, they have bargaining power and a collective voice that they simply do not have when they are not unionized. In unity there is strength, and unions can lift us all up by strengthening the middle class and our economy and restoring some balance between the wealthy few and the rest of America.