Lori Pelletier is the executive secretary-treasurer of the AFL-CIO in Connecticut.
This year, as elections loom and a national debate rages over the minimum wage and policies to make work more family-friendly, Connecticut is leading the charge in pursuing policies to strengthen protections for workers and their families.
We were the first state in the nation to pass paid sick days legislation, allowing women and men to take time away from work to care for their families without fear of reprisal. This spring, we raised our minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, the highest in the nation. Yet working women still face an uphill battle in the workplace. We are seeing more and more jobs moving offshore and being replaced with lower-paid jobs without benefits. Making our economy work for workers and their families must remain the focus if we want to preserve the gains women have made in the workplace this year and continue to lead.
Recently, I testified in Congress about the importance of closing the wage gap, ensuring better access to critical benefits and expanding opportunities for all women. As a woman in the labor movement, I know organized labor represents the largest working women’s organization in the country. While our members are not the main beneficiaries of many of these proposals, we understand everybody does better when everybody does better.
The Connecticut labor movement has strongly supported and fought for these changes because we understand these measures are two critical steps towards ensuring women’s economic security. Women are over-represented in low-wage occupations. Almost a quarter of Connecticut workers will benefit from an increase in the minimum wage, and more than half of the workers who benefit are women.
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