Ariana Davis, a UFCW Local 21 member who works at Safeway, spoke at the White House United State of Women Summit in Washington, D.C. She shared the stage with President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, actress Kerry Washington and Oprah to discuss key gender equality issues.
Ariana presented with AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler about the best way to give working women equal pay and an equal say – a union. Equal pay, fair schedules, paid leave – the bottom line is that if we stand together and negotiate together, we win together.
In front of a crowd of 5,000 people, Ariana shared her experience with being a part of UFCW Local 21 in Seattle. “Being in a union has allowed me to negotiate for and win higher wages, good benefits and economic stability. But the truth is, the power of a union is about much more than dollars and cents. I’ve stood up for my friends at work who were being disrespected by management. And I helped them get justice on the job. That’s a powerful feeling. I am a force in my community.”
Evidence shows that union membership increases wages for all workers, but women experience especially large advantages. Women are the primary breadwinners in 38% of American households – paying them less for no reason puts millions of families and communities at a disadvantage.
Back in the other Washington, Ariana has been busy collecting thousands of signatures as the citizen petitioner behind Initiative 1433, a statewide ballot measure which will raise the minimum wage to $13.50 and provide workers with up to seven days of paid sick leave.
6.8 million women in America belong to a union. Thanks to Ariana, more people know why.