By Helping Women and Low-Wage Working Families Achieve Economic Security
For Immediate Release: February 14, 2013
Press statement from Linda Meric, National Executive Director of 9to5
In Tuesday’s State of the Union address, President Obama called for passage of the Paycheck Fairness Act, an increase in the federal minimum wage, universal preschool and a fair budget that isn’t balanced on the backs of America’s most vulnerable. These are important steps to create new jobs and energize our economy.
Congress must pass the Paycheck Fairness Act (PFA) which would close loopholes in our existing equal pay laws, prohibit retaliation against workers who ask about or share wage information, and empower women to better negotiate salary and benefit increases. Every cent counts in this sluggish economy, when more women are primary family breadwinners or co-breadwinners than ever before. The pay gap translates into hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost earnings over a woman’s lifetime.
Recognizing that corporate profits have soared while working wages have eroded, President Obama called for an increase to the minimum wage to $9.00 an hour. This increase would lead to higher wages for millions of low-wage workers and their families. Americans who work hard shouldn’t live in poverty. Women, who are over-represented among-low wage and minimum wage workers, would especially benefit from this increase. Low-income single mothers working full-time and making only about $15,000 annually simply don’t earn enough to pay for housing, food, medical care and transportation, much less child care, which can eat up close to half the income of a family living below the poverty line.
That’s why universal preschool is a first-rate measure that would help women and low-wage working families attain economic security. It would help low-income single mothers be able to find and keep employment, increasing their potential to lift their families out of poverty. Lack of available, affordable, quality child care is one of the biggest obstacles to low-income mothers being able to enter and stay in the workforce. Universal preschool would also give all children a healthy start in life, improving their chances for higher academic achievement and a more productive adult life.
Finally, we must ensure that Congress passes a fair budget. Reducing the deficit over the long-term requires that all of us pay our fair share, including the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans. But we must also protect the safety-net programs that assist low-income families who are struggling just to get by. It’s wrong to expect the nation’s poorest and most vulnerable to pay more in order to give tax breaks to multi-national corporations.
Every American should be afforded economic opportunity and the ability to live in dignity. Congress must work together with President Obama to ensure all working families make progress toward economic security and a brighter future that makes the American Dream available to all of us.
About 9to5: In 1973, a group of female office workers in Boston, fed up with being powerless and undervalued in the workplace, mobilized to change the way they were treated and paid. The group organized around their grievances; terms that didn’t yet exist– sexual harassment, pay equity and family leave. Forty years later, 9to5 has emerged as one of the largest, most respected national membership organizations of working women in the U.S. For more information, go to 9to5.org.
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Contact: Susan Berryman Rodriguez/ 404.222.0030 / firstname.lastname@example.org