On June 22, hundreds of women workers, union members, and community supporters from across the country traveled to the AFL-CIO headquarters in Washington, D.C. to participate in the “Working Families Speak Up!” event. “Working Families Speak Up!” focused on working women and the impact of the trends in the current workforce on their families and the economy. The event served as a rallying pre-event for the White House Working Families Summit that took place on June 23.
Event participants wanted to get the message out that women are coming together and improving their workplaces by fighting for policies that will better the lives of workers and families across the country. OUR Walmart member and working mother Linda Haluska was one of the many speakers who took to the podium during the event. She talked about how improvements in workplace policies such as more consistent and adequate hours in retail scheduling will directly improve the lives of workers and families.
Other policy changes included raising the tipped and minimum wage and making equal pay for equal work a reality.
“I believe addressing income inequality is the challenge of our time. We must do everything we can to tip the balance back in favor of workers. That means making the minimum wage a living wage. It means ensuring equal pay for equal work is the law, not just a slogan,” UFCW International President Joe Hansen remarked during the event.
Workers and supporters also called for policies to ensure that everyone has access to affordable child care and can receive basic workplace accommodations during pregnancy. Participants also expressed that workers know collective bargaining and collective action are important for achieving workplace policies that work for women and families.
Many of the “Working Families Speak Up!” event participants were eager to take their stories and their message that collective action is imperative to achieving better and fairer wages and working conditions for working women and their families to the White House Working Families Summit. In the lead up to the White House Summit on Working Families that took place on Monday, labor unions and worker organizations are highlighting the need to raise wages as key to improving the lives of all workers. The labor movement has been on the forefront of the fight to raise wages including raising the federal minimum wage and tipped wage, raising the minimum wage locally in states and cities, and ensuring that all workers have the right to a voice on the job to demand fair pay.