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There’s Another “Equal Pay Day” We Should Be Talking About

BWEPDTimeCard-cropped-e1437759202946The gender pay gap is one of the contributing factors to economic inequality. Women earn just 77 cents for every dollar a man earns. This means women have to work longer before they can retire, don’t earn as much as they need to raise the families they want, and are more likely to be in poverty.

But for one group of women, the statistics are even worse. African-American women make fewer cents on the dollar compared to white men then women overall. Black women earn just 64 cents for every dollar earned by their white male counterparts.

This startling wage disparity is why today is being dubbed “Black Women’s Equal Pay Day” by some progressive organizations across the nation. The disparity further demonstrates how racial injustice and economic inequality are linked.

Groups such as Atlanta Women for Equality (AWE) are urging women to symbolically clock out of work at 2:07 pm today to bring attention to the fact that despite how much progress we think we have made in our country, black women are still being paid significantly less than white men who do the same work.

According to AWE, black women earn only 64 cents “for every dollar earned by white men”. The organization set 2:07 p.m.–approximately 64 percent of an average workday–as the time of day for black women to symbolically clock out since white men will have earned as much at this point in the day as black women working a full day.  And for a black woman to earn the same income as her white male counterparts in 2014, she would need to work an extra 208 days into 2015 — or July 28, 2015.

This data also means that over the course of a 40-year career, black women would typically lose $775,000 to the wage gap – meaning they would have to work almost 63 years to earn what a white man would make in 40 years.

Although calling attention this wage gap is important, more work needs to be done to fix the problem. We need elected officials who will stand up for millions of women across the country who are working hard while not being paid a fair wage.

Union membership is another way we can decrease economic inequality and work to eliminate the wage gap for women, black women, and all minorities. Black women who are union members make an average of 13.1% more wages than their non-union counterparts. And union jobs give workers a collective voice in which they can speak out and negotiate in order to ensure equal work gets equal pay.

You can take part in Black Women’s Equal Pay Day on social media by following and using the hashtags #BlackWomenEqualPay and #ClockOut4EqualPay.

 

President Perrone in The Hill: Overtime Pay is Long Overdue

OT Rules are UnfairYesterday The Hill published UFCW International President Marc Perrone’s op-ed on the importance of expanding overtime pay to increase the threshold of salaried employees working more than 40 hours a week and not making time-and-a-half pay. You can read the op-ed below:

Every day, millions of hard-working Americans wake up to the realization that they will work more than 40 hours per week, but will not compensated for their hard work. Even though employers have to provide overtime pay to employees who work more than 40 hours per week under the Fair Labor Standards Act, many salaried workers are exempt. While it may be hard to believe that this is still possible, it may have to do with the simple fact that salary threshold for overtime pay has been raised only once since 1975.

How low is the threshold for these workers? The exact threshold is $23,660, which is lower – if you can believe – than the federal poverty level for a family of four. Even worse, because the overtime regulation has not been updated and adjusted for inflation, it has allowed employers to classify workers with salaries as low as $24,000. These are workers that have very low level supervisory authority, even though many will essentially perform the same work as their hourly coworkers. As a result, employers have used this overtime exemption to their advantage by requiring these low level supervisors to work for free after 40 hours. 

Under the new regulation, some workers will no longer be required to work long hours for no pay, and that means they can spend more time at home with their families or they can get paid for the work they do.  Others will get a pay increase in the form of time-and-a-half pay for overtime work. As to be expected, some workers will get a salary bump to exceed the new threshold. And in what could help spur the creation of countless of jobs, hard-working Americans who are struggling in low-wage, part-time jobs may see those jobs converted to full-time work, while some unemployed workers will get a new job when employers increase hiring to “spread the work.” 

While executive actions will not solve the fundamental economic challenges facing millions of families across this country, this new regulation is one of the most significant steps the Obama Administration can take on its own. It will also help cement a basic American value enshrined within the Fair Labor Standards Act that men and women who do the hard work would receive a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work.

While it is clear there are many areas our elected leaders must address to truly improve the lives of every hard-working American—such as paid leave, the minimum wage and fair scheduling—one would hope our elected leaders, especially Republican Members of Congress and leadership, would remember that no American in this day and age should ever be exploited simply because they want a job.

Those who oppose this rule change will have difficulty explaining why to their salaried workers in their districts and states, and that’s something to look for as we approach the 2016 election.

Support America, Support Unions–Your UFCW-Made Fourth of July Shopping List!

Shop-Union-July-4This Independence Day, aside from sporting red, white, and blue, show your patriotism by supporting union jobs. If you’re shopping for a 4th of July BBQ, we’ve got a handy shopping list full of products made by UFCW brothers and sisters across the country.

And if you have to run to the store on the 4th, be sure to shop union and thank the men and women who are working this holiday!

Drinks:

  • Barq’s Rootbeer
  • Coke products
  • Sprite products
  • Bud Light

Hot Dogs:

  • Ball Park
  • Boar’s Head
  • Foster Farms
  • Hebrew National
  • Hofmann
  • Oscar Mayer
  • Hormel
  • Nathan’s

Sausages:

  • Gianelli
  • Kroger Brand

Condiments and Buns:

  • French’s and Guldens Mustard
  • Heinz Ketchup and Catsup
  • Sara Lee Buns

Ice Cream:

  • Breyers
  • Good Humor