Campaign for women’s pay equity launched at state capitol

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — In 2015 we are still trying to figure pay equity for women in the workplace. One organization taking that on was front and center at the state capitol Thursday.

“It’s our time for us to have wage equality for all and equal rights for women in the United States of America,” said Academy Award winner Patricia Arquette at the Oscars for tens of millions to hear around the world. Connecticut resident and multiple Oscar winner Meryl Streep rooted her on in the crowd.

A campaign for women and family-friendly workplace policies launched at the state capitol Thursday. In the crowd, plenty held signs which read “One Fair Wage.” The organization called “Everybody Benefits” wants a series of bills passed to address many things, including putting pressure on employers underpaying workers so that tips make up for it.

“The worst part is that when you’re a woman who must rely on tips for any portion of her base wage, you must tolerate what ever a customer might do to you, how ever they may touch you or treat you or talk to you because the customer is always right,” said Saru Jayaraman, Co-founder of ROC United.

Statistics show women make just 77 cents for every dollar a man earns. Women make up two-thirds of the minimum-wage workforce, and that includes servers in restaurants.

The coalition also wants insurance-style programs for those who have young children, paid sick days for workers currently not covered, fair-scheduling guidelines, and protection from wage theft for employees who either don’t pay minimum wage or who don’t pay at all.

“Connecticut has the chance to be the first state in 150 years to say let us overcome the legacy of slavery, let us overcome the legacy of gender pay inequity and sexual harassment, and demand, as they do in California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Minnesota, Montana, let us demand that employers actually pay their own workers rather than asking customers to do so,” said Jayaraman.

The coalition was originally created to push for paid sick days. In 2011, it successfully passed the nation’s first statewide paid sick days program.

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