Co-Sponsor and Support Swift Passage of the Raise the Wage Act

February 5, 2019

 

Dear Members of Congress:

As members of a broad coalition of organizations that promote economic security and equity for women, we strongly urge you to co-sponsor and push for swift passage of the Raise the Wage Act as a top priority of the 116th Congress.

The Raise the Wage Act will raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $15 an hour by 2024, then index the minimum wage so that it continues to rise along with wages overall. It will also end unfair exclusions for tipped workers, people with disabilities, and youth so that they, too, can benefit from a decent minimum wage.

Women across the country—especially women of color—continue to experience a pay gap and a higher risk of poverty than men. Women working full time, year round typically make only 80 percent of what their male counterparts make, leaving a wage gap of 20 cents on the dollar. This wage gap varies by race and is larger for women of color: Black women working full time, year round typically make only 61 cents, Native women only 58 cents, and Latinas only 53 cents, for every dollar paid to their white, non-Hispanic male counterparts. While Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) women make 85 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men, many AAPI communities experience drastically wider pay gaps.

Women’s overrepresentation in low-wage jobs is a driving force behind the gender pay gap. Women are close to two-thirds of the workforce in jobs that pay the minimum wage or just a few dollars above it, as well as two-thirds of workers in tipped jobs. Women of color are particularly overrepresented among tipped workers and other low-wage workers. They are particularly harmed by the $7.25 federal minimum wage that has not gone up in a decade and by the $2.13 tipped minimum cash wage that has been frozen for an astonishing 28 years.

Poverty-level wages heighten women’s economic vulnerability, which in turn heightens their vulnerability to sexual harassment on the job. Women who rely on tips to survive often feel compelled to tolerate inappropriate behavior from customers so as not to jeopardize their income and employers are often unwilling to protect their employees for fear of upsetting a paying customer. Women’s lack of economic power in these workplaces perpetuates the already pervasive culture of sexual harassment in industries that employ large numbers of tipped workers.

The Raise the Wage Act is critically needed to advance women’s economic security and dignity in the workplace. The Economic Policy Institute estimates that increasing the federal minimum wage to $15 by 2024 would give nearly one in three working women a raise, including 41 percent of Black working women, 38 percent of working Latinas, 29 percent of white working women, and 18 percent of Asian working women.

Women and people of color have been left behind by our economy and our policies far too often, for far too long. Adopting the Raise the Wage Act would mark a crucial step toward ensuring they can work with equity, dignity, and safety. There is no more fitting way to begin this historic Congress than by making real, concrete progress in ensuring all women receive adequate pay.

We urge you to prioritize the Raise the Wage Act in the 116th Congress by cosponsoring and urging swift passage of this legislation. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Emily Martin, Vice President for Education & Workplace Justice at the National Women’s Law Center, at (202) 588-5180.

Sincerely,

9to5, National Association of Working Women

9to5 Georgia

A Better Balance

ACCESS

African American Health Alliance

American Association of University Women (AAUW)

AAUW Texas

American Federation of Teachers (AFT), AFL-CIO

AFT Local 1766 (Union of Rutgers Administrators)

American Psychological Association

Americans for Democratic Action (ADA)

Arizona Coalition to End Sexual & Domestic Violence

Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance

Cambridge Committee to Raise the Minimum Wage

Caring Across Generations

Center for American Progress

Center for Frontline Retail

Center for Popular Democracy

Chelsea Collaborative

Coalition of Labor Union Women

California Capital Chapter, Coalition of Labor Union Women

Capital Area Chapter, Coalition of Labor Union Women

Chesapeake Bay Chapter, Coalition of Labor Union Women

Chicago Chapter, Coalition of Labor Union Women

Cleveland Chapter, Coalition of Labor Union Women

Florida Chapter, Coalition of Labor Union Women

Genesee County Chapter, Coalition of Labor Union Women

Grand Prairie Arlington Chapter, Coalition of Labor Union Women

Greater Kansas City Chapter, Coalition of Labor Union Women

Greater New Jersey Chapter, Coalition of Labor Union Women

Greater Oklahoma City Chapter, Coalition of Labor Union Women

Houston Chapter, Coalition of Labor Union Women

Kate Mullany Chapter, Coalition of Labor Union Women

King County Chapter, Coalition of Labor Union Women

Lorain County Chapter, Coalition of Labor Union Women

Los Angeles Chapter, Coalition of Labor Union Women

Metropolitan District of Columbia Chapter, Coalition of Labor Union Women

Missouri Chapter, Coalition of Labor Union Women

Northeast Cleveland Chapter, Coalition of Labor Union Women

Pennsylvania Chapter, Coalition of Labor Union Women

Philadelphia Chapter, Coalition of Labor Union Women

Rhode Island Chapter, Coalition of Labor Union Women

San Diego Chapter, Coalition of Labor Union Women

San Francisco Chapter, Coalition of Labor Union Women

Southwestern Pennsylvania Chapter, Coalition of Labor Union Women

St. Louis Chapter, Coalition of Labor Union Women

Western New York Chapter, Coalition of Labor Union Women

Western Virginia Chapter, Coalition of Labor Union Women

Color Of Change

Connecticut Women’s Education and Legal Fund (CWEALF)

Day One

Equal Rights Advocates

Equality North Carolina

Equality Ohio

Family Values @ Work

Federally Employed Women

Found Objects Transformed

Futures Without Violence

Gender Justice

Health Care for America Now

Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault

In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda

Innovation Ohio Education Fund

Jewish Alliance for Law and Social Action

Jobs With Justice

Cleveland Jobs with Justice

Justice for Migrant Women

Kentucky Equal Justice Center

Labor Project for Working Families

Legal Momentum, The Women’s Legal Defense and Education Fund

Maine Women’s Lobby

Massachusetts Voter Table

MNCASA

Moms Demand Action – Triad NC

MS Black Women’s Roundtable

National Alliance to End Sexual Violence

National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF)

National Association of Social Workers, Massachusetts Chapter

National Center for Lesbian Rights

National Coalition for the Homeless

National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Central Ohio Chapter

National Committee on Pay Equity

National Council of Jewish Women

National Domestic Workers Alliance

National Organization for Women

North Carolina NOW

Raleigh NOW

Southwest Pennsylvania NOW

Triad NOW

National Partnership for Women & Families

National Women’s Law Center

NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice

Nevada Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence

New Mexico Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs

New Voices for Reproductive Justice

Ohio Alliance to End Sexual Violence

Ohio Domestic Violence Network

Ohio Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice

Oklahoma Women’s Coalition

Organization United for Respect

Oxfam America

People For the American Way

PHENOM (Public Higher Education Network of Massachusetts)

PowHer New York

Project IRENE

PWN-USA

Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities Coalition

Restaurant Opportunities Centers United

Restaurant Opportunities Center of Pennsylvania

Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law

Sexual Assault Services of Northwest New Mexico

Solace Crisis Treatment Center

Tewa Women United

Union for Reform Judaism

Unitarian Universalist Mass Action Network

United Church of Christ, Justice and Witness Ministries

United Democratic Women of MD, Inc.

V.I. Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault Council

Valencia Shelter Services

Vermont Network Against Domestic and Sexual Violence

Voices for Progress

Washington State Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs

West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy

Western Center on Law and Poverty

Women & Girls Foundation of Southwest Pennsylvania

Women Employed

Women of Reform Judaism

Women’s Law Project

Women’s Rights and Empowerment Network

Working Washington/Fair Work Center

YWCA USA

YWCA Dayton