HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Topics » Activism » Socialist Progressives (Group) » The labor movement won't ...

Tue Jun 21, 2016, 10:28 PM

The labor movement won't survive if it doesn't help Black women to thrive

http://peoplesworld.org/the-labor-movement-won-t-survive-if-it-doesn-t-help-black-women-to-thrive/



Black women are playing significant roles in shaping the direction of emerging social movements; movements that affect the criminal justice system and the rights of working people across the country. Black Lives Matter and Fight for $15 are just two of the influential campaigns intersecting with labor that African American women are leading in. As African American civil rights and human rights activist Ella Baker once said, "Wherever there has been struggle, Black women have been identified with that struggle," and this holds just as strongly today.

As the elections loom, the continued right-wing attacks on labor and working people's hard-won gains show that there is much at stake. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), some of the fastest growing occupations with the greatest increase in job opportunities projected through 2024 will be in the healthcare, retail trade, and food services sectors. These are industries steadily being overtaken by black women. The service sector is 27 percent African-American women. Black women have also had a steady increase in union membership since 2002 at 15.7 percent (after seeing a drop from 1985 to 2000). And although union membership declined sharply among men in 2002 (from 22.1 to 14.7 percent) there was a steady increase among women, thanks in a large part to the jump in union membership of black women in 2002. It is clear from these statistics alone that the only way the labor movement will survive and thrive for the next eight to ten years is if labor takes a proactive stance in investing in Black women's leadership.

As Black women lead the charge for equal rights and a better way of living for working class and poor people, they face intense marginalization and oppression. A 2015 study by the U.S. Department of Labor found that Black mothers have had the highest labor force participation rates historically. That year, Black mothers with children under 18 participated in the labor force at a rate of 76.3 percent. This is higher in comparison to their white (69.6 percent), Asian (at 60.2 percent), and Hispanic (61.6 percent) counterparts.

Despite Black women's willingness to work, this demographic still faces a significant wage gap and are more likely to work in lower paid occupations such as fast food, retail, and the service industry. As the BLS reports, among the major occupational groups, those in service occupations are earning at or below the federal minimum wage at about 10 percent. Black women food service workers also earn only 60 percent of the salaries that their male counterparts earn.

<snip>



7 replies, 1324 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 7 replies Author Time Post
Reply The labor movement won't survive if it doesn't help Black women to thrive (Original post)
Starry Messenger Jun 2016 OP
niyad Jun 2016 #1
obamanut2012 Jun 2016 #2
tonyt53 Jun 2016 #3
Starry Messenger Jun 2016 #4
1StrongBlackMan Jun 2016 #5
Starry Messenger Jun 2016 #6
Name removed Jun 2016 #7

Response to Starry Messenger (Original post)

Tue Jun 21, 2016, 10:30 PM

1. k and r

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Starry Messenger (Original post)

Tue Jun 21, 2016, 10:44 PM

2. This is very significant

Black women have also had a steady increase in union membership since 2002 at 15.7 percent (after seeing a drop from 1985 to 2000). And although union membership declined sharply among men in 2002 (from 22.1 to 14.7 percent) there was a steady increase among women, thanks in a large part to the jump in union membership of black women in 2002.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Starry Messenger (Original post)

Tue Jun 21, 2016, 11:15 PM

3. So, exactly why is this situation the responsibility of the labor movement?

 

Nobody can make people unionize. That is a voluntary effort. Each and every one of their job locations can petition the NLRB for a vote on union representation with at least a 50% majority of the workers signing the petition (cards). No union can do that on its own. It is illegal. I'm very confused as to what the labor movement is supposed to be doing. I think it would be nice to know exactly why they are being blamed for the plight of the referenced women.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to tonyt53 (Reply #3)

Tue Jun 21, 2016, 11:24 PM

4. I didn't see the article as blaming the labor movement.

More of an acknowledgement that union density is holding at the rate that it is because of a high number of Black women unionizing.

The article made the case that the labor movement can with mentoring and creating a pipeline for more Black women in union leadership. This would be a positive step, as Black union women in leadership have helped shape union participation in a progressive political agenda.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Starry Messenger (Reply #4)

Tue Jun 21, 2016, 11:54 PM

5. +1 ...

 

But you know ... if it's not about men, particularly, white men ... it's not relevant.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to 1StrongBlackMan (Reply #5)

Wed Jun 22, 2016, 12:07 AM

6. Sadly union leadership still isn't very diverse.

The AFL-CIO conventions keep passing resolutions on this at the conventions, so the willingness is there. We have to stop kicking it down the road for later.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Starry Messenger (Original post)

Reply to this thread