Even though women are the largest demographic in the workplace, life in the office can still be an isolating experience for them. And as unions are looking for fresh ways to reach out to the evolving workforce, researchers are working to understand women’s role in the modern labor movement and how it can be amplified in the future.
Following last week’s survey on women, organizing and social networking (hyperlink to blog), two more studies on women and unions have recently been published.
The first one, “Stepping Up, Stepping Back: Women Activists ‘Talk Union’ Across Generations” is based on two days of conversations with 30 female activists from unions and other labor organizations (including our own Executive Director, Kimberly Freeman Brown). Moderated by the Berger-Marks Foundation in New Orleans, the discussions focused on how unions can attract young workers, especially women, and support them in key leadership roles.
As the report said,
What happened at this 2010 New Orleans summit was a true connection, a sense of genuine community (especially among the under-age-35 participants), and an awareness of shared values across generations despite differences and tensions. A network of young women committed to social justice as they define it has come out of this conference.
The second study was tailored to a more specific group of women in the labor movement, in particular Asian Pacific American women. Conducted by the Center for Economic and Policy Research, the report discovered that, for the period 2003-2009, 12.8 percent of Asian Pacific American (APA) women were in a union or represented by a union at their workplace. This is a slightly higher share than for APA men (12.2 percent).
The study highlights just how important unions are for women attaining equality in the workplace. Researchers found a substantial boost in wages for unionized APA women, sometimes by as much as $2.00 an hour! Talk about a union advantage!