Women’s Rights = Workers’ Rights (and Not Just on Labor Day!)

Workers Rights

HAPPY LABOR DAY… to everyone except people who don’t believe that women’s rights = workers’ rights!

Workers RightsGather round internet, while I tell you a tale of my own personal development and growth. I come from a family that believes in access to birth control and abortion. In high school I interned at NOW-NYC and organized a bus to travel to D.C. for the 2004 March for Women’s Lives. In short: I started as a women’s rights activist.
Then, I joined the labor movement. I learned how the intentionally constructed and ever-growing gulf between the rich and the poor was to blame for so many horrors of our society. I became an ardent, “no war but the class war” kind of gal. I organized workers to go on strike against their abusive bosses, I went to law school to become a union lawyer; then I became a union lawyer. The labor movement remains my home and I still believe that we are all workers and fighting for rights as workers can unify us all.
But along the way, I forgot my gender justice roots. As a white woman in the labor movement, it was too easy for me to lose sight of the ways that sexism (and racism! And homophobia! And xenophobia!) can undermine worker organizing. The true meaning of solidarity, you see, is not limited to the class war.
At NWLC, I am proud to work at the intersection of workers’ rights and gender justice. The policies we are advocating for ensure that all working people – including women – will have safe, healthier, and more just jobs.
Not only that, but as Sara Nelson said recently, “what we legislate, we don’t have to negotiate.” In other words, a stronger legal floor means stronger union contracts for all.
So what is it that NWLC is advocating for that will help all working people? Check out my non-exhaustive list below:

  • Pregnant Workers Fairness Act
    Introduced in the House! Would ensure that pregnant people can get the accommodations they need to stay safe and healthy at work.
  • Paycheck Fairness Act
    Passed the House! Waiting for the Senate. Would help end pay discrimination by closing loopholes in the Equal Pay Act.
  • FAIR Act
    The FAIR Act is waiting for a markup and vote in the House. It would end forced arbitration.
  • FAMILY Act
    Introduced in the House and Senate, the FAMILY Act is a national paid family and medical leave plan that would ensure that working people can take the time they need to address serious health and caregiving needs for themselves and their families.
  • BE HEARD Act
    Introduced in the House and the Senate! Would extend protections against harassment and other forms of discrimination to more workers; remove barriers to access to justice, such as short statutes of limitations and restrictively interpreted legal standards; promote transparency and accountability; and require and fund efforts to prevent workplace harassment and discrimination.
  • Public Service Freedom to Negotiate Act
    Waiting for a markup and vote in the House! This bill would extend bargaining rights to public service workers across the country, a majority of whom are women.
  • Equality Act
    Passed the House! This bill provides clear protections for LGBTQ people through our federal civil rights laws.

Even after Labor Day ends, I’m proud NWLC will keep fighting for working people and for the laws that let them and their families thrive.