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Women’s Economic Security Enhanced by Collective Bargaining

Photo of Lori Pelletier at the Senate Hearing.

Collective bargaining is one of the best solutions for gender pay discrimination, Connecticut AFL-CIO Executive Secretary-Treasurer Lori Pelletier told a U.S. Senate hearing on the economic security of working women on Tuesday.

Unions today continue to be critical to the economic security of working women and their families, who still face an uphill battle in the workplace…a union contract sets standard rates for different positions. As a result, the gender pay gap for workers covered by a union contract is much smaller—91 cents on the dollar—than for nonunion workers. 

She told the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee that when women are protected by a mutually agreed upon collective bargaining agreement:

It gives them an important weapon to combat the undermining of their economic security. Collective bargaining raises women’s wages by 12.9%, and the union difference is even higher for African American women, Latina women and women who have immigrated recently.

In addition, Pelletier said collective bargaining also gives women workers more economic security by increasing their chances of having employer-provided health insurance and pension benefits, paid family leave, short-term disability benefits and training opportunities.

Along with the advantages of a collective bargaining agreement, Pelletier and others at the hearing stressed the need for strong workplace and family policies, including labor standards such as an increased minimum wage, enforcement of wage and hour laws, equal pay rules, paid sick days and the Family and Medical Leave Act.

Read Pelletier’s and the other witnesses’ testimony and see an archived webcast of the hearing here.

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