By DIANE S. WILLIAMS
Latina Equal Pay Day is Nov. 20, 2019. That’s the date a Latina who started work on January 1, 2018 has to work until in order to earn the same pay as a white, non-Hispanic male co-worker hired on the same day.
The inconvenient and uncomfortable truth that a Latina earns 53 cents for every dollar a white man makes is a national disgrace.
The labor movement brings political and social pressure to address the longstanding issue of economic justice for women. Belonging to a union is a pathway to economic gains and justice for working Latinas, and all women. Unions fight for equal pay for workers doing the same jobs regardless of race and gender.
Here in New York City, DC 37 keeps the pressure on:
- We press New York City Council to track pay for women and minorities in city service.
- Locals 2507 and 3621 filed lawsuits on behalf of EMTs and Paramedics (whose ranks are predominantly minority and women) but are paid up to $40,000 less per year than FDNY Firefighters, who are almost exclusively male and predominantly white.
- Board of Employees Local 372 has sued the city on behalf of its mostly female School Crossing Guards to demand equal pay for when they are assigned Traffic Enforcement Agent duties. TEAs are predominantly male and earn $6 per hour more than SCGs.
Union members understand the valuable of knowing and posting wages publicly in the workplace. In 2009, President Barack Obama signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act to make it easier for women to rectify discriminatory wages. In 2017, President Donald Trump revoked the Ledbetter Act. Today people can be fired for asking about the wage another worker earns.
This allows discrimination to flourish.
The difference in the quality of life for women who belong to unions and bring their pensions and medical coverage into retirement and those who don’t is tangible.
The labor movement won powerful rights for all working people. For a better society, we must do more to bring economic equality for Latinas — and all women.