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Stop the War on Women ~ Defend and Advance Women's Rights
Women make up 45 percent of the world’s workforce. Yet women account for 70 percent of global poverty. Women in developing countries work an average of 60 to 90 hours per week. Worldwide, women earn an average of 75 percent of men’s pay in nonagricultural work. In the U.S. women are working longer hours to make ends meet. Inequality has reached levels not seen since the 1920s. To cut labor costs and increase profits, companies intensify their exploitation of women. In ten years, 80 percent of women in industrialized countries and 70 percent of women globally will work outside of the home. The global economy needs to advance the issues of workers and their families.
The healthcare crisis affects women very severely. Women of childbearing age generally have higher healthcare expenses then men of a similar age. Many health plans cover Viagra, but not birth control for women. Historically, clinics such as Planned Parenthood have helped fill the gap, providing numerous reproductive services, including but not limited to abortion. Unfortunately, Planned Parenthood and similar clinics have been top targets for the right wing. With their defunding, many low-income women will no longer be able to afford preventative care or necessary life-saving treatments. Ironically, the same politicians who seek to restrict funding for birth control and outlaw abortion are also cutting preschool programs, SCHIP, and other family services. The message is clear to women – you are on your own.
Women’s rights are under attack. The right wing seeks to destroy the advances of the past sixty years. Freedom from sexual discrimination, assault, and bullying in the workplace should be a basic human right. However, even language is now twisted against women, with victims of rape called “accusers” instead. Republicans state legislators have passed laws referring to abortion doctors as murderers. The No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, passed by the Republican House of Representatives in 2011, cuts off all government funding for any health service agency who may provide some abortion services. Under this outrageous bill, date rape and statutory rape aren’t treated as being rape.
When we fight for women’s rights, we fight for the rights of all. Female workers experience the denial of family medical leave and shared leave, and the refusal of reasonable requests for shift changes so they can care for themselves and their families. These are problems that can impact all workers, yet the main task of caregiver (whether it be of small children or elderly parents) usually falls to a woman. This means that the average woman spends only 27 years in the wage-earning workforce, while a man spends 40 years. Family financial dynamics require men to work longer, delay retirement, and take second jobs to make up for women’s lost wages. Thus wage parity becomes a fight for all.
To cut labor costs and increase profits, corporations exploit women worldwide. UE needs to continue its history of fighting for all workers’ rights not only in the U.S., but globally, regardless of gender, race or creed. The time is now to put pressure on the leaders of the world not only to advance women’s rights, but also to protect the rights of future generations. This war against women needs to stop.
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED THAT THIS 72nd UE CONVENTION:
- Calls on locals and regions to educate members to bargain for women’s equality and to fight women’s oppression in all aspects at their workplace;
- Calls for a high-quality federal day care program and calls upon locals to renew the fight for employer-funded childcare, available for all shifts, in their respective contracts;
- Calls on the union at all levels to demand pay equity for women, recognizing that organization and collective bargaining are the best and most lasting ways to achieve this goal;
- Calls on the union at all levels to demand quality affordable healthcare, including preventative and lifesaving treatments, as well as alternative birthing methods, and adequate retirement benefits;
- Calls on all locals and regions to educate their members and women’s organizations to support workers’ rights by demanding that companies, the U.S. government, and international financial institutions adopt and enforce core workers’ rights;
- Supports legislation to create a welfare system which does not penalize women for staying home to take care of children and offers genuine job assistance with a living wage and quality childcare;
- Calls on the union at all levels to fight for legislation to ensure all workers receive full benefits under the Family Medical Leave Act;
- Supports the right of all women, regardless of economic status, to choose whether to continue or terminate a pregnancy, to have access to free, confidential, and effective birth control and family planning services, to be protected against forced sterilization, and not discriminated against because of women’s health issues;
- Calls on the union at all levels to educate members on the workplace menace that is sexual harassment, and to combat harassment, intimidation and sexist attitudes wherever found; and support strengthening workers’ compensation laws in all states with improved provisions on injuries sustained from physical attacks in the workplace;
- Calls on locals to press for company-paid training programs for all workers, allowing women to upgrade their skills, and calls upon locals to fight for the rights of women to enter jobs that have been traditionally reserved for men;
- Calls on the union at all levels to provide training, encouragement and support for women to become active at all levels of the union, including leadership, and fight any aspect of women’s oppression within the union;
- Encourages all members of the union to join the Coalition of Labor Union Women (CLUW);
- Encourages our union at all levels to collect and share with members information about women’s issues and legislative tools like report cards.