Equal Pay Today expresses deep concerns with President Trump's Labor Secretary Nominee

On January 25, 2017, Equal Pay Today! submitted a letter of concern on the nomination of Andrew Puzder as Labor Secretary to the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions. 

On behalf of Equal Pay Today, we are writing to express our deep concern with President Donald Trump’s nominee for Department of Labor Secretary, Andrew Puzder. Mr. Puzder’s professional record calls into question his fitness to serve as this nation’s chief champion of workers. While we recognize and respect each President’s right to appoint nominees of his or — one day — her choosing, we also recognize, respect and rely on the Senate’s responsibility to provide advice and consent on those nominees as a key tenet of the balance of power. As a result, we are compelled to add our voice to the chorus of individuals and organizations encouraging you to evaluate carefully and with a critical eye Mr. Puzder’s record, conflicts, temperament, and commitment to the mission of the Department of Labor.

Equal Pay Today! is an innovative collaboration of women’s legal and workers’ rights organizations, working at the local, state and federal level to close the gender wage gap and engage new and diverse constituencies in the fight for equal pay. We have members in nearly every region of the country and six state projects in California, Illinois, Minnesota, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, and Washington State. Understanding that many factors contribute to the gender wage gap, we focus on combatting pay discrimination, pay secrecy, occupational segregation, pregnancy and caregiver discrimination, wage theft and an inadequate minimum wage. To this end, it is of paramount importance to us that the Secretary of Labor be a champion of these issues on behalf of women workers and the families and communities who depend on them.

After reviewing his record, we are concerned that far from a champion, Mr. Puzder appears to be indifferent, dismissive, or at odds with the needs of America’s workers on a range of issues. This includes those who work for his company, CKE Restaurant Holdings (CKE). Chief amongst our concerns, however, are his positions on the policies and laws that impact the gender wage gap and women’s economic security.

Mr. Puzder is hostile to laws that would prevent wage theft, raise the minimum wage, and provide sick leave – all of which would help close the gender wage gap. Women, including many working and single mothers, comprise nearly two-thirds of minimum wage workers and nearly two-thirds of tipped workers. We also know that wage theft due to wage and hour violations disproportionately impacts women. As a result, raising the minimum wage, including for tipped workers, and enforcing and improving wage and hour laws, including expanding overtime pay, are critical to closing the gender wage gap. Moreover, these policies are overwhelmingly popular amongst the American people, regardless of political affiliation. Polls have also shown that a majority of small business owners are also supportive of gradual minimum wage increases. Unfortunately, Mr. Puzder does not appear to agree. Over the years, he has opposed raising the minimum wage and extending overtime protections.

Moreover, under Mr. Puzder’s leadership as CEO, CKE has been a repeat and egregious violator of wage and hour laws and other workplace laws, from equal employment opportunity laws to occupational health and safety laws. Indeed, a recent investigation found that during Mr. Puzder’s tenure, CKE has been hit with more federal employment discrimination lawsuits than other major hamburger food chains, including Burger King and McDonalds. Many of the laws his company violated are laws that, as Labor Secretary, Mr. Puzder would be charged with enforcing. How can the American people have confidence that he would enforce nationally what he could not or would not enforce within his own company?

Mr. Puzder is also a strong critic of paid sick leave laws, despite the fact that these laws are overwhelmingly popular amongst the American people. Given his position, it is difficult to see him as a credible enforcer of the Labor Department’s rule requiring federal contractors to provide their employees earned paid sick days – days that can be used to address illness, or domestic violence and sexual assault.

Mr. Puzder does not appear to possess the temperament of a leader who is pro-worker, a requirement of the Labor Secretary. Mr. Puzder’s statements about “beautiful women eating burgers in bikinis” are well known, but less known and perhaps more troubling are his extended remarks on CKE’s hyper-sexualized ads, in which he reflects on his influence as a leader. He noted, “I used to hear, ‘brands take on the personality of the CEO.’ And I rarely thought that was true, but I think this one, in this case, it kind of did take on my personality.” With respect to workers, he once noted that machines are “always polite, they always upsell, they never take a vacation, they never show up late, there’s never a slip-and-fall, or an age, sex, or race discrimination case.” Worse, in 2011, he disrespectfully characterized his own employees, noting “in the employment pool, you’re hiring the best of the worst. … And at Hardee’s it was so bad, we were hiring the worst of the worst and hoping they would stay.” Even allowing room for differences in personality, these are not the words and tone of a CEO who respects and wants to inspire and protect the totality of his workforce, which includes women, persons of color, persons with disabilities, people over the age of 40, people with children, people who work multiple jobs to make ends meet, humans. These are not the words of an advocate for women who wants to close the gender wage gap. And these are certainly not the words of a servant-leader who desires

’to foster, promote, and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers, and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights.’

Nonetheless, this is the mission of the Department of Labor; this is the charge of the Labor Secretary.

As you prepare for Mr. Puzder’s confirmation hearings and consider his fitness to serve in this capacity, we ask you to review carefully his record, and ask whether this is the record and the personality you want to see embodied at our nation’s Labor Department. We look forward to watching his confirmation hearing and robust questioning in February, to hearing more from current and former CKE employees, to reading his responses to your “Questions for Record” and to generally learning more about the man behind the record and his vision for the Department, but, based on what we know thus far, we do not yet believe he would be a champion for workers. That is a concern for us; that is a concern for your constituents; and therefore we hope that is a concern for you.

EPT Executive Director Asks "What would What would you do with equal pay or an extra $1 million?"

On the occasion of Latina Equal Pay Day, Joi Chaney, Executive Director of Equal Pay Today! penned a blog post on her Medium page asking "What would you do with equal pay or an extra $1 million?"

Here is an excerpt. 

This week, millions of Latinas are asking themselves just that: What would I do with an extra $1 million? Latina Equal Pay Day was on Tuesday, November 1 — the day in 2016 when Latina wages finally caught-up to the wages earned by White, non-Hispanic men in 2015. That’s 10 months — nearly a full year — later. Put another way, Latinas must work 22 months to earn what White men earn in 12 months. Nearly twice as hard to get half as much. How much does this cost Latinas? You guessed it: More than $1 million over the course of a 40-year career. -- Joi Chaney

Read the full blog post on her Medium page. Learn more about Joi Chaney here.

 

EPT State Projects Featured in United State of Women #StateofWomen Spotlight Blog

On November 3, 2016, the United State of Women featured the Equal Pay Today! Campaign's State Project Leads on their #StateofWomen Spotlight Blog. 

"On the heels of Latina Equal Pay Day, we sat down with the fearless leaders of the Equal Pay Today Campaign, A Project of the Tides Center, to continue the conversation for this week’s #StateofWomen Spotlight. Learn more about the work being done on the ground to ensure that all women, regardless of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age, or disability status receive equal pay for equal work. → http://bit.ly/2eEHGZj" -- United State of Women

Each week, United State of Women shines the spotlight on a pioneer who has influenced the movement toward gender equality. We are so proud to have the pioneering work of our state project leads highlighted this week. The blog featured a video interview with Noreen Farrell, Executive Director of Equal Rights Advocates in California and Chair of Equal Pay Today! followed by interviews with state project leads in five of our six states.

California was represented by Jennifer Reisch at Equal Rights Advocates, Amy Poyer at California Women’s Law Center and Elizabeth Kristen at the Legal Aid Society — Employment Law Center; Illinois was represented by Melissa Joseph at Women Employed; New Mexico was represented by Pamelya Herndon at Southwest Women’s Law Center; Pennsylvania was represented by Terry Fromson at Women’s Law Project; and Washington was represented by Janet Chung at Legal Voice. Equal Pay Today! also supports a project in Minnesota, which is led by Lisa Stratton at Gender Justice. 

Read the blog here on the United State of Women website.

Learn more about these leaders on our Who are We and State Projects pages.

Contact info@equalpaytoday.org with questions.

 

 

Join Equal Pay Today! and Partners in Raising Awareness about #LatinaEqualPay Day

LATINA EQUAL PAY DAY

TWITTER STORM - TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 1 AT 2:00 - 3:00 PM ET

Use: #LatinaEqualPay #Trabajadoras #EqualPay2Day

Latina Equal Pay Day -- the day when Latina pay catches up to that of White, non-Hispanic men from the previous year -- is being observed on November 1, 2016. More than 50 years after the passage of the Equal Pay Act of 1963, Latinas typically earn only 54 cents for every dollar earned by White, non-Hispanic men and must work nearly 23 months to earn what white men earn in 12 months. Indeed, given that this is the last "Equal Pay Day" observance of the year, Latinas must typically work longer than ... everyone. This disparity hurts not only Latinas, but also the families and communities they support. In 2016, this is unacceptable. We need to act now and let everyone know that we support #LatinaEqualPay and we VOTE! Join the women’s rights community, Latino advocacy organizations, the labor movement and workers’ rights advocates for the #LatinaEqualPay Day Twitter Storm on November 1 at 2:00 pm ET! 

WHAT: #LatinaEqualPay Day Twitter Storm. A toolkit including educational resources, sample promotional tweets, info-graphics, and memes can be found at http://www.latinaequalpay.org/. To learn more about EPT Equal Pay Day activities, please visit our Equal Pay Days page.

WHEN: TODAY, Tuesday, November 1 from 2:00 - 3:00 PM ET (1:00 pm CT/12:00 pm MT/11:00 am PT)

WHERE: Twitter, using the primary hashtag #LatinaEqualPay and secondary hashtags #Trabajadoras, #EqualPay and #LatinxEqualPay.

SPONSORS: Equal Pay Today!, Labor Council for Latin American Advancement, National Hispanic Leadership Agenda, AFL-CIO, National Women's Law Center, MALDEF, Alianza Nacional de Campesinas, American Association of University Women, American Federation of Teachers, Be Visible, Casa de Esperanza, Centro de los Derechos del Migrante, Equal Rights Advocates, Farmworker Justice, Hispanic Federation, Institute for Women’s Policy Research, International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers , Labor Project for Working Families, Latina Circle, Latino Decisions, LatinoJustice PRLDEF, Latinos United for Secure Retirement, League of United Latin American Citizens, Lideres Campesinas, Make it Work, Make it Work Action!, MANA, Moms Rising, Mamás con Poder, National Association of Hispanic Publications, National Domestic Workers Alliance, National Council of La Raza, National Hispanic Foundation of the Arts, National Association of Hispanic Federal Executives, National Education Association, National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, National Network to End Domestic Violence, National Partnership for Women and Families, Presente, ROC, SAG-AFTRA, SER- Jobs for Progress National Inc., UFCW, United State of Women, United Steel Workers Local 675,Voto Latino, Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights (COLOR), National Partnership for Women & Families, IAMAW, Friends of Farmworkers, Inc., The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, A Better Balance, Institute for Science and Human Values, UltraViolet, Center for Popular Democracy, National Council of Jewish Women, Catalyst, Atlanta Women for Equality, ACLU, American Women, State Innovation Exchange, PowHer New York, Women Employed, CA Women's Law Center, Legal Voice, Progressive Congress, Cleveland Jobs with Justice, NC Justice Center, Working America, Rural Coalition, UAW Women's Department, People's Action/People's Action Institute, Coalition of Labor Union Women, Raise Up Washington, Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, Metro-Detroit CLUW Chapter, Young People For, Caring Across Generations, National LGBTQ Task Force, Toledo Federation of Teachers, 9to5, National Association of Working Women, Transport Workers Union, Women's Law Project, Feminist Majority, AFSCME, Women's Fund of Western Massachusetts, Mi Familia Vota, People For the American Way, Dialogue on Diversity, AFSCME 3299, United Farmworkers of America, Coalition of Florida Farmworker Organizations, The Women's Funding Network, Hispanic Alliance for Career Enhancement , ERA Coalition, National Organization for Women, The Florida Latina Advocacy Network, South Florida AFL-CIO, South Florida LCLAA, Miami Workers Center and UTD-AFT

EPT Member ACLU Women's Rights Project Blogged on Women's Equality Day: "The Women Behind the 19th Amendment Had a Grander Vision Than Just the Right to Vote"

Lenora Lapidus, Director of the ACLU's Women Rights Project penned a blog entitled "The Women Behind the 19th Amendment Had a Grander Vision Than Just the Right to Vote" in honor of Women's Equality Day.

Excerpt:

Last week we commemorated Women’s Equality Day, a celebration of the anniversary of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Most people remember that the 19th Amendment gave women the right to vote. However, many people forget the Amendment's original intent: to make women fully equal citizens to men in all respects under the Constitution. 
... In the decades since, countless other ACLU advocates (including Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the co-founder and first director of the ACLU Women's Rights Project) have fought to further women's equality at home, in society, and in the workplace, but that fight is still not won. 
... As a founding steering committee member of the Equal Pay Today! Campaign, which is composed of national and state-based women’s and workers' rights advocacy organizations, the ACLU and its allies seek to end sex discrimination in the workplace and close the gender wage gap. 

Click here to read the full post. 

Join Equal Pay Today! and Partners for a Twitter Storm in Demand of Women's Equality on #WomensEqualityDay

Today is Women’s Equality Day - the day the nation celebrates the progress made in the 96 years since women won the right to vote. Not since 1920 has our progress been more apparent than it is today. Women have more freedom over if, who or when they’ll marry and if, when or how they'll bear children. Women are nearly half of the workforce, are more likely to attend college and earn professional degrees. We have growing representation in local and state government, Congress and, potentially soon, the White House.

But even as women have advanced and families have changed, our workplaces have not kept up. We all know the figure: on average, women make 79 cents for every dollar white men make, and women of color make even less. Earlier this week we commemorated Black Women’s Equal Pay Day – the day that marks when African American women finally catch up to what white men were paid the previous year– eight months later. And we won't hit Latina Equal Pay Day until November 1.

Moreover, one-fifth of women workers report that they have lost a job or were told they would lose a job for taking time off due to personal or family illness. Pregnant workers still face discrimination that threatens their health and the financial stability of their families and according to a recent survey, one in three women have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace.

It's clear that we have not yet reached full equality for women.

Women's Equality Day 2016 must be then - as it has always been - not only a moment for celebration and commemoration, but also an opportunity to renew our demand for full equality for all women - in the home, in society, and in the workplace.

That’s what the Equal Pay Today! Campaign - is fighting for: Ending gender discrimination in the workplace and making sure all women are treated fairly. In addition to equal pay for equal work, the coalition is fighting to address the following issues:

·         Occupational segregation

·         Pay secrecy and retaliation for discussing pay

·         Hiring and promotion discrimination on the basis of pregnancy and caregiving

·         Wage theft and an inadequate minimum wage

As a majority of women serve as the breadwinner, co-breadwinner, or financial contributor to their families, these inequalities conspire to impede family economic security and national economic security. Moreover, they stand in the way of closing the pay gap and achieving full equality for women.

This Women’s Equality Day, we ask you to use Women’s Equality Day as an opportunity to demand that your representatives, your employer and your social network be an advocate for these issues. Join us, our members, and other women’s rights advocates on Friday, August 26 at 2:00 – 3:00 pm ET on Twitter and Facebook using the hashtags #WomensEqualityDay and #EqualPay2Day.

As we move closer to 100 years of women’s suffrage, it’s time to make equal pay – and equality overall –  a reality.

EPT PA State Project Leader Women's Law Project Co-sponsored a Roundtable for #BlackWomensEqualPay Day

Excerpt from Women's Law Project Blog

Equal Pay for Black Women Roundtable at City Hall

"Thank you to everyone who attended the roundtable discussion on equal pay co-hosted by Rep. Donna Bullock and the Women’s Law Project, including Rep. Tonyelle Cook-Artis, Rep. Brian Sims, Brenda Shelton-Dunston of the Philadelphia Black Women’s Health Alliance, Samuel Jones of Restaurant Opportunities Center (ROC) United, Jovida Hill of the Philadelphia Mayor’s Commission for Women, community organizer Denise Ripley, and Jazelle Jones of the Pennsylvania Commission for Women.
Yesterday marked the day of the year that Black women had to work until in order to catch up the earnings of a non-Hispanic white men the prior year. Pay discrimination cuts across almost all industries and demographics, but the problem disproportionately affects Black women and women of color, who experience a double pay gap."

Click here to read the full blog.

August 23 is #BlackWomensEqualPay Day – 8 months too late

JOI CHANEY | Equal Pay Today! Campaign, A project of the Tides Center

Posted on Medium as well.

Imagine it's Friday afternoon -- payday Friday! The day you look forward to after hard work. The day you know you will be able to care for your children and family. The day you move one step closer to owning a new home. The day you move one step closer to paying off your student loans or a dignified retirement. It’s also the day you stop by the local small business or big box store to shop for what you and your family need (and maybe a little of what you want). It’s the day you should feel closest to achieving the American Dream.

But when you look at your paystub, it’s 40 percent less than you expected. It makes no sense – you put in the hours, you worked hard – why would you get paid less than you earned? Worse, you’re pretty sure others have been paid more than you, even though you worked just a hard as them. How are you going to do any of the things you and your family need to survive – much less thrive – in the America you helped build?  

Sounds like an exaggeration? Maybe for you, but for the African American women reading this post (and for the one writing this post), sadly, this is not a fictitious scenario. This is our reality.

According to U.S. Census 2014 data, on average, African American women make $.60 for every $1 made by a White man. So while most observed Equal Pay Day on April 12th – the approximate day the average woman’s earnings catch-up to the earnings of the average White, non-Hispanic man, Equal Pay Day for African American is observed today, August 23rd, four months later. African American women have to work nearly 20 months to earn what white men earn in 12 months.

Moreover, African American women are paid 80 percent of what White women make and 82 percent of what African American men make, underscoring the intersectional role race and gender play in income inequality. The gap persists even when you account for differences in occupation, experience, and education, which leads most experts (and anyone with common sense) to believe illegal discrimination or unfair bias is a major factor that accounts for this inequity.

Multiple generations of my sister circle have come face-to-face with this incredible reality. My mom, a pediatrician from the Baby Boomer generation, dealt with discrimination from banks when she tried to get a business loan in the 1970s. My fellow Generation X, god-sister’s manager told her last year she was paid less than her colleague because, “He has a family.” My best friend – a new mother – was denied a major client because her boss assumed her family responsibilities would preclude her from performing at her best. Sometimes it feels like the only thing that’s changed is the date on the calendar.  

Who suffers as a result of this inequality? It’s not just African American women – which would be wrong enough - the impact is felt by everyone, especially families. While all women are increasingly becoming the breadwinners or co-breadwinners of their family, African American women – married or unmarried -- are more likely to be so. This means discrimination in pay impacts the entire family. When you consider also that African American men also make less than White, non-Hispanic men, it’s no wonder that some estimate it will take 228 years for African American families to reach the same wealth White families have today. And while more data on LGBTQ persons is needed across the board, households led by African American lesbian couples typically earn less than African American gay male couple households. 

And these stats are just based on national numbers. The discrimination in pay in your state could be far worse. As an example, the average African American woman will lose more than 870,000 over the course of her 40-year career, but in some states African American women will lose more than $1 million. 

So, we know it’s bad for African American women, but the question is: What is being done about it?  

The Obama Administration is taking action to close the gender wage gap, raising awareness, strengthening enforcement, improving data and encouraging businesses to take the Equal Pay Pledge

Women’s legal and worker’s rights organizations, like the one I run, the Equal Pay Today! Campaign, are working in coalition at the local, state, regional and national level to close the gender wage gap for all women, including African American women. Through six state projects in California, Illinois, Minnesota, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, and Washington State and the work of our roundtable member organizations across the country, we are working to address the major legal, legislative, policy and cultural issues that allow the wage gap to persist and undermine women’s economic security. Issues like: unequal pay, pay secrecy and retaliation for discussing pay, pregnancy and caregiver discrimination, the lack of adequate paid family or medical leave, occupational segregation, or the lack of a livable minimum wage – all of which disproportionately impact African American women. 

And we are hope you will take action as well: 

1)  Educate yourself, the women in your life, and the employers in your life about the African American Women’s wage gap and the wage gap generally. 

2)  TAKE ACTION:     

a.  Follow and join the coalition Twitter Storm on Tuesday, August 23rd at 2:00 – 3:00 pm ET to create awareness about the gender and racial wage gap for African American women, using the hashtags #BlackWomensEqualPay and #60Cents

b.  Encourage your employer to take the White House Equal Pay Pledge and review DOL’s Employers’ Guide to Equal Pay.  If you are an employer yourself, take the pledge, review the guide, and makes strides, where necessary, to close the gender wage gap in your workplace.  

c.   Advocate for the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would close loopholes and update outdated federal equal pay laws to strengthen enforcement, thereby ensuring the right to equal pay for equal work no matter what state you live in. 

d.  Engage with Equal Pay Today organizations across the country, who are fighting successfully for greater women’s economic security. 9to5 (Denver, CO), A Better Balance (New York, NY), ACLU Women's Rights Project (New York, NY), American Association of University Women (Washington, DC), California Women's Law Center (Los Angeles, CA), Equal Rights Advocates (San Francisco, CA), Gender Justice (St. Paul, MN), Legal Aid Society- Employment Law Center (San Francisco, CA), Legal Momentum (New York, NY), Legal Voice (Seattle, WA), Mom's Rising (Greater Washington, DC), National Center for Law and Economic Justice (New York, NY), National Employment Law Project (New York, NY), National Partnership for Women and Families (Washington, DC), National Women's Law Center (Washington, DC), ROC-United (New York, NY), Southwest Women's Law Center (Albuquerque, NM), Women Employed (Chicago, IL), Women's Law Project (Philadelphia, PA)

Even if we do all of these things, equal pay for African American women and for all women won’t close over night, but it can close over our lifetime. Our daughters shouldn’t have to deal with the same issues our great grandmothers did. African American women, who overwhelmingly realize the importance of this issue and vote in record numbers, are powerful advocates in their community, but they shouldn’t stand alone. We need everyone standing up for equal pay and economic security regardless of race, gender or ethnicity to ensure the American Dream is possible for everyone.

 Joi Chaney is the Executive Director of the Equal Pay Today! Campaign, a Project of the Tides Center. Previously, she served as an advisor in the Office of Chair at the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

 

Equal Pay Today Organizations Participate in Black Women's Equal Pay Day Twitter Storm on August 23rd

Join Equal Pay Today! Campaign Organizations and other women's rights advocates for a Black Women's Equal Pay Day Twitter Storm on Tuesday, August 23rd at 2:00 - 3:00 pm ET. For the greatest impact, follow and join the conversation using the hashtags #BlackWomensEqualPay, #60Cents, and #EqualPay2Day.

Follow @EqualPay2DayOrg on Twitter and like us on Facebook

Learn more about all of our Equal Pay Today Organizations here: 

9to5 (Denver, CO), A Better Balance (New York, NY), ACLU Women's Rights Project (New York, NY), American Association of University Women (Washington, DC), California Women's Law Center (Los Angeles, CA), Equal Rights Advocates (San Francisco, CA), Gender Justice (St. Paul, MN), Legal Aid Society- Employment Law Center (San Francisco, CA), Legal Momentum (New York, NY), Legal Voice (Seattle, WA), Mom's Rising (Greater Washington, DC), National Center for Law and Economic Justice (New York, NY), National Employment Law Project (New York, NY), National Partnership for Women and Families (Washington, DC), National Women's Law Center (Washington, DC), ROC-United (New York, NY), Southwest Women's Law Center (Albuquerque, NM), Women Employed (Chicago, IL), Women's Law Project (Philadelphia, PA).