The Democratic Party released its Better Deal platform in June that included a call for a higher minimum wage, better jobs, and worker training. Conspicuously absent, however, was any mention of unions. This was quite a stunning departure from the original New Deal that had unions and labor organizing at its very core. Last week the Democrats finally released a new plank that focuses on labor law reform, under the banner of “Give Workers the Freedom to Negotiate a Better Deal.” While no one expects the proposals to pass anytime soon, their inclusion signals that the Democrats may wrap workers’ freedom to organize into the 2019 platform. Will the Democrats stick with labor law reform this time around? For women workers’ sake, let’s hope so. After all, workers’ right to freely form unions and bargain collectively is a gender justice issue; unions help women close the wage gap, rise out of poverty, and address power issues on the job.
In the U.S., women have historically had less access to cars, but their traditional, gendered family roles have increased their share of household-related trips—think daycare pickup, grocery shopping, and the like. The mismatch between women’s mobility constraints and burdens has, in turn, created significant restrictions in women’s labor market choices. As a result, employed women’s work commute trips were, for decades, shorter in both distance and time than those of employed men.
Women in the United States have long been expected to care for others out of love or devotion rather than for money. This feminization of care work has resulted in low wages for domestic workers, who are often immigrant women, and the exclusion, historically and today, of care workers in many parts of the workforce from the protections of labor laws and policies. In Part 1 of a recent interview, Gender Policy Report curator, Professor William P. Jones spoke to Sociologist Evelyn Nakano Glenn about this topic and its intersection with U.S. labor and immigration policy.
On June 8, 2017, the House of Representatives passed the Financial CHOICE Act. If signed into law, this Act will roll back numerous regulations set in place by the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. News reporting about this Act has centered on the government’s role in Wall Street bail-outs and the risks and benefits of regulating how financial advisors invest consumers’ money. Analysis of its gendered and racialized impacts by contrast have been markedly absent. Beyond eliminating regulations for financial institutions, the Financial Choice Act also threatens to dismantle the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), an independent government agency that investigates exploitative financial practices on the behalf of U.S. consumers. If signed into law, the Financial Choice Act would dramatically reduce the resources individuals have to challenge incorrect, outdated or damaging information about them in their credit reports, a change that holds significant consequences for people of color and transgender individuals.
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