Briceño: I March for Working Women

As we march toward the 2020 Presidential elections, now is the time to speak up loudly for the values that matter to us. It is up to all of us, no matter where we are in life, to show that our rights matter. That is why I will march in the Orange County Women’s March on January 18, and I call on you to march with me.

I march for all women, and especially for women’s rights in the workplace. In my decades of labor organizing, I’ve found that when we stand up for women workers, we stand up to protect and build our entire middle class. Workers must demand fair pay and safe workplaces. It’s up to all of us to reject runaway corporate greed.

Worker’s rights are women’s rights. For women and especially women of color, unions have a dramatic impact.

According to a Bureau of Labor Statistics data analysis by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, women in union jobs earn 30% more per week than women in non-union jobs. For Latinas, the rate is higher. Hispanic women in unions earn 40% more than their counterparts in non-union jobs.

A union contract is a firm protection to report and stop sexual harassment in the workplace. Without union contracts, workers find it more difficult to report harassment.

I march for immigrant women who face barriers far greater than many realize. I march for immigrant women who start each day working long hours while navigating language and cultural barriers.

I march for immigrant women who end each night confronted by patriarchal standards which require women, and women alone, to serve their homes and families. The contributions of immigrant women deserve recognition. They uplift communities and build America.

Earlier this month, 150 brave women and men in UNITE HERE Local 11 — cooks, dishwashers, and cashiers hired by Sodexo to work at Loyola Marymount University, site of DNC Democratic Debates — refused to back down from a labor dispute.

All seven leading Democratic Presidential candidates scheduled for the debates refused to cross a picket line, even if it meant missing the debates. Democrats stood firm for workers’ rights, and that is why I choose to organize in the Democratic Party.

I march for working women like Angela Fisher, a line cook at LMU. Angela told us she was thrilled with the new agreement, which increased pay and lowered health care costs. “I am homeless, and knowing that I will be making a better wage because of this new contract gives me the hope to put a roof over my head and take my mother out of her nursing home,” she told us.

Women like Angela fight on the front lines of our nation’s future. On Saturday, January 18, let’s take another step for women’s pay, equal rights, and human rights. Join me at the Orange County Women’s March.

Ada Briceño is Co-President of UNITE HERE Local 11, Chair of the Democratic Party of Orange County, Co-founder and Board Chair of OCCORD (Orange County Communities Organized for Responsible Development). (562) 276-8514

Opinions expressed in editorials belong to the authors and not Voice of OC.

Voice of OC is interested in hearing different perspectives and voices. If you want to weigh in on this issue or others please contact Voice of OC Involvement Editor Theresa Sears at TSears@voiceofoc.org