Today, for International Women's Day, janitors from California to Texas, Colorado to Washington and Oregon, and across the United States, joined women worldwide in the fight for equal pay.
While women are making undeniable strides on college campuses and in corporate offices, the vast majority of working women are still being left behind economically in our country.
Women in the U.S. are still paid 78 cents to a man's dollar. This disparity is even larger for women of color. African American women are paid only 64 cents, and Latina women paid just 56 cents, for every dollar paid to a white man. This amounts to nearly half a million dollars in lost wages during a woman’s work life.
Legislative efforts have been made at the state and federal level to close the gender pay gap, but labor unions are still one of the most effective tools in addressing this disparity. Women standing together in a union are paid 31% more on average than women in nonunion jobs.
SEIU janitors are living proof of the union difference.
Nearly 130,000 janitors are standing together across the country to fight for $15 and #RaiseAmerica with good jobs. Already, 70,000 janitors have won historic raises, with the majority of SEIU janitors - 57% - to be paid $15. Janitors took this fight to the West Coast today.
Events were anchored in California, where thousands of immigrant women - including many who do not have the protections of a union - said "Ya Basta, enough is a enough!" Although janitors clean the buildings of the wealthiest corporations in the world, too often they face long work days, low wages, and abuses on the job.