Pictured: Leader Nancy Pelosi (second from left) with 9to5 leaders and staff
On Feb 20th Leader Nancy Pelosi and US Rep. John Lewis hosted a townhall meeting, entitled, “When Women Succeed, America Succeeds.” Leader Pelosi is hosting these forums across the nation to promote an economic agenda that supports women and families. Three 9to5 leaders were featured speakers at the event that drew a crowd of more than 120, and shared personal experiences about the need for equal pay, raising the minimum wage and paid sick days.
Here are excerpts from each of their testimonies:
Tonya Pinkston spoke about the need for paid sick days. She shared her experience of when her mother had brain surgery and Tonya wasn’t able to be at the hospital because her employer didn’t allow her any time off. Her story highlighted the need for paid sick leave and the ability to use earned sick time to care for families members as well as yourself.
Sonya Underwood shared her story of how difficult it is to find affordable child care: “As a mother of three there were many times when I had to choose between paying for childcare and paying a utility bill. Childcare is very expensive! I know there were job opportunities that I missed out on because I could not stay late or work additional hours, because I couldn’t afford the additional childcare fees. If childcare wasn’t an issue I know I could have advanced to supervisor at my last job.”
Rev. Harriet Bradley spoke to the issue of raising the minimum wage: “The Lord opened a position as a caregiver for me over 9 years ago. I discovered that there was an attitude that this work was menial and the value of it was only at a minimum wage rate. I have been with an agency for over 8 years and I am making the same minimum rate as when I started. Being a caregiver not only provides services for the clients but it helps the entire family to live a normal and productive life. Now it is time for the caregivers’ pay to be increased so that their quality of life will improve also.”