The Battle to Preserve Women’s Rights

The election of Donald Trump and the takeover of many state governments by right-wing Republicans pose a grave threat to the gains won by the women’s rights movement and in the UE since the 1940s. In the current political climate women need unions now more than ever as the best way to ensure greater earnings, benefits, and protections from discrimination in the workplace.  Until women have full and equal rights, all workers are held back.  

Four out of ten households in the U.S. with children now have a woman as the sole or primary wage earner — the highest level in U.S. history.  However, there remains a huge income gap between women and men.  Nationally, women earn only 80 cents for every dollar men earn.  While this gap is slowly closing, at current rates the gender pay gap will not be erased until some time in the mid 22nd century.  Black women only make 65 percent of what white men bring home, and Latinas only make 58 percent.  

The U.S. is ranked 100th in the world in women’s representation in national legislatures; only 19 percent of the members of our Congress are women.  In Congress, men continue to push bills that eliminate healthcare opportunities for many women, including the defunding of Planned Parenthood, stripping maternity care from mandated health insurance coverage, and gutting Medicaid, which would fall disproportionately on low-income single mothers.  

UE members need to apply ever greater pressure on politicians and bosses to advance and maintain women’s rights. This war against women’s rights needs to stop.


  1. Calls on the union at all levels to:
    1. Fight legislation that negatively impacts women's and families’ rights;
    2. Bargain for gender equality and to fight women’s oppression in the workplace;
    3. Demand pay equity, recognize the intersection of race and gender, and commit to address pay inequalities at all levels;
    4. Encourage women to assume positions of leadership within their locals, regions, and the national union;
    5. Educate members, all officers, and staff on sexual harassment and develop programs to combat harassment, intimidation and sexist attitudes wherever found;
    6. Develop a harassment policy to be presented at regional councils and national conventions, and develop an ombudsperson training and program to have point people available at regional councils and national conventions; 
    7. Support strengthening workers’ compensation laws in all states with improved provisions on injuries sustained from physical attacks in the workplace;
    8. Press for employer-paid training programs which allow women to upgrade their skills, and to fight for the right of women to enter jobs that have been traditionally reserved for men;  
    9. Renew the fight for employer-funded childcare;
    10. Collect and share with members information about women’s issues;
    11. Support the candidacy of pro-labor women to public office, as well as their placement on committees dealing with legislation on women's issues;
    12. Calls for the formation of a women’s caucus within UE;
    13. Provide quality childcare for meetings and conferences to allow parents and guardians to participate in the activities of the union;
    14. Encourages UE members to engage with organizations fighting for women’s rights;
  2. Supports the right of all those seeking gynecological reproductive healthcare, 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 reproductive health issues; 
  3. Calls upon Congress to:
    1. Improve and expand the Family Medical Leave Act and ensure all workers receive full benefits;  
    2. Enact a federal paid maternity leave program and a high-quality federal day care program;
    3. Create a welfare system which does not penalize women for staying home to take care of children and which provides a living wage and quality childcare;
  4. Directs the General Executive Board (GEB) to investigate and propose feasible programs to subsidize and/or provide union childcare, when available, for UE national meetings to enable members with children to attend.