Tag Archives: Person of color

living wages


It’s Time to Raise the Minimum Wage

The White House and Senate Democrats are zeroing in on a plan to raise the minimum wage, which has not increased in more than four years, to $10.10 per hour. The Senate is expected to take up the plan sometime “very soon,” according to Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY).

The renewed effort in Congress to increase the minimum wage comes afterimportant victories at the ballot box this past Tuesday.

ThinkProgress outlines five reasons why we should raise the minimum wage:

1. It would bring it in line with inflation: While the federal minimum wage isn’t indexed to inflation (unlike some state minimum wages) and hasn’t been raised in four years, if it had kept up with inflation since its peak in the 1960s it would be over $10 an hour. Many fast food workers have been calling for a $15 minimum wage — a rate that will soon go into effect in a small town in Washington state — which is more in line with what civil rights activists demanded in the 1960s.

2. It would boost the economy: While opponents of a minimum wage increase claim that it will hurt job growth, research points to the opposite. There is little evidence that it would hurt jobs, but it would very likely help businesses through increasing demand, lowering turnover, and boosting prices and would give the economy a big boost thanks to more money in people’s pockets to spend on purchases.

3. It would lift millions out of poverty: Full-time minimum wage workers earn just $14,500 a year, which for someone with two kids means living $3,000 below the poverty line. The wage isn’t enough to make rent in any state. Raising it to $10.10 an hour, on the other hand, would lift nearly 6 million people out of poverty.

4. It would be a big help for women and people of color: People of color make up 42 percent of minimum wage workers despite representing just 32 percent of the overall workforce, and women make up two-thirds of the country’s minimum wage workers despite being half of the population. Raising the wage to $10.10 an hour would lift 3.5 million people of color out of poverty and help close the gender wage gap.

5. Americans support it: A recent poll showed that 80 percent of Americans support raising the wage to $10.10 an hour, and that includes two-thirds of Republicans and nearly 80 percent of those making $100,000 or more. On Tuesday, voters approved minimum wage increases in New Jersey and a town in Washington and they also approved raises in the 2012 elections in three other cities. In fact, when given the opportunity, voters nearly always approve minimum wage raises by substantial majorities.

Raising the minimum wage it’s just good policy, it’s “a political goldmine.” The issue is very popular and cuts across party lines. In fact, it’s the perfect issue to help Democrats attract more white working class voters.

BOTTOM LINE: Raising the minimum wage will be a huge boost to our economy. More money in the pockets of workers means more customers for businesses large and small, which in turn leads to a virtuous cycle that creates jobs and grows the economy.

Forty-Nine Years and 77 Cents … Fatima Goss Graves, National Women’s Law Center

Here’s a “fun” fact for you: 49 years after President Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act, women working full-time are paid just 77 cents on the dollar compared to their male counterparts. And the wage gap is far worse for women of color.

Earlier this week, we asked you to urge President Obama to ban federal contractors from retaliating against employees who talk about their wages. But that’s only one front in women’s struggle to achieve equal pay for equal work. Will you help?

Please donate $10 today to support the Center’s work on Paycheck Fairness and other issues important to women and their families.

With millions of Americans still unemployed or underemployed, the wage gap isn’t a question of equity alone: closing it is an economic necessity. The Center is pushing hard to revive the Paycheck Fairness Act, a bill stalled by a determined minority of opponents in the last Congress. Among many other economic issues, we’re also fighting for increases in the minimum wage and for funding for the child care support so vital for women with children who work outside the home.

Please donate $10 today to support the Center’s work to eliminate the wage gap and push for other policies critical to women and their families.

Without you and the other members of our activist community, we wouldn’t be able to advocate as effectively as we do. Can you take an extra step today? Please donate $10 to support the Center’s work. Thank you for all the help you give.


Fatima Goss Graves Vice President for Education and Employment National Women’s Law Center

P.S. Please donate today — Your support will make a difference.

Shh! Never Discuss Your Salary … Fatima Goss Graves, National Women’s Law Center

Never discuss your salary with anyone.

That’s what they told Lilly Ledbetter on her first day on the job in 1979. It wasn’t until she found an anonymous note in her locker that Lilly realized that she was being paid as much as 40% less than her male colleagues in the same position.

This sort of pay secrecy policy that punishes employees helps to hide discriminatory pay practices. And here’s the kicker: Lilly worked all those years for Goodyear Tire & Rubber, which had the privilege of being a federal contractor.

Today is Equal Pay Day — the day that a typical woman’s wages finally catch up to a typical man’s in 2011. Ask President Obama to ban federal contractors from retaliating against employees who talk about wages.

It took Lilly 20 years to find out that she was being paid less than her male co-workers. But we know that Lilly is not alone: nearly fifty years after President Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act, women working full time are paid just 77 cents on the dollar compared to their male counterparts. And the wage gap is far worse for women of color.

It’s time to end punishing pay secrecy policies among federal contractors.

The President has the executive power to protect employees who work in companies that have federal contracts. Presidents have used executive orders to address other workplace rights, including requiring that contractors protect their employees from discrimination on the job.

In recognition of Equal Pay Day, join us in calling on President Obama to end retaliatory pay secrecy policies in federal contracting.

Thanks for your support!


Fatima Goss Graves
Vice President for Education and Employment
National Women’s Law Center
P.S. NWLC has some brand new resources released for Equal Pay Day. Check out our interactive wage gap map and new fact sheets on the wage gap and women of color, minimum wage and combating punitive pay secrecy policies.

Equal Pay Day – April 17 – AAUW

AAUW Releases State-By-State Rankings for Equal Pay Day
D.C. Has Best Ranking, Wyoming Worst
WASHINGTON – With the release of The Simple Truth about the Gender Pay Gap, the American Association of University Women (AAUW) unveiled new state-by-state equal pay rankings. Updated for the national observance of Equal Pay Day, which marks how far into the current year women must work to match what their male counterparts earned last year, The Simple Truth charts the wage gap in the 50 states and the District of Columbia.
The wage gap is narrowest in the nation’s capital, where women have the best earning’s ratio — 91 cents, on average, for every dollar earned by their male counterparts. The state with the worst earnings ratio is Wyoming, where women make 64 percent of men’s earnings. The national average puts women at just 77 percent.
The wage gap costs working women and their families tens of thousands of dollars in lost wages and directly affects women’s retirement security. These numbers are worse for women of color, and The Simple Truth examines racial and ethnic breakdowns. White and Asian women earn, respectively, 82 percent and 88 percent of white men’s earnings. African American and Hispanic women earn much less — just 70 percent and 61 percent of what white men earn, on average.
“Equal Pay Day, which this year falls on April 17, is an unfortunate reminder of how far we have to go to reach true pay equality. The wage gap hasn’t moved significantly in nearly a decade, and at this rate, we’ll be marking Equal Pay Day for the next 60 years,” said AAUW Executive Director Linda D. Hallman, CAE.
In addition to the release of The Simple Truth, AAUW branches across the nation will mark Equal Pay Day by holding rallies, wearing red to symbolize how women’s wages are in the red, handing out Pay Day candy bars, and hosting bake sales with discounts for women.
“The gender pay gap is unlikely to go away on its own. Our publications and tools will empower our advocacy on behalf of women and their families,” said Catherine Hill, AAUW director of research. “The Simple Truth is a useful resource for women, the media, and society at large as we work to address this stubborn inequality.”
The American Association of University Women (AAUW) advances equity for women and girls through advocacy, education, philanthropy, and research. Since 1881, AAUW has been one of the nation’s leading voices promoting education and equity for women and girls. AAUW has a nationwide network of more than 100,000 members and donors, 1,000 branches, and 600 college/university institutional partners. Since AAUW’s founding 130 years ago, members have examined and taken positions on the fundamental issues of the day — educational, social, economic, and political. AAUW’s commitment to educational equity is reflected in its public policy advocacy, community programs, leadership development, conventions and conferences, national partnerships, and international connections.