"Seattle and other cities don't really have any progressive tools," said Matthew Caruchet, "so that whenever they have to raise revenue, they're increasing regressive taxes, which are increasing the tax obligations of the middle class and working class at higher rates."
Legislators from both sides of the aisle, community members, business leaders, students and representatives from supporting organizations including MomsRising, Washington Technology Industry Association, Economic Opportunity Institute, Legal Voice, UFCW, and the Washington State Labor Council attended the bill signing ceremony.
The #MeToo movement has emboldened women to speak out about sexual harassment and other roadblocks to economic opportunity. After a full year of resisting actions and protesting comments from a racist, sexist President, many people are newly engaged in advocacy and committed to fighting for every bit of progress possible.
“Many women are kept in the dark about imbalances where they work, as private sector companies often prohibit employees from discussing pay. This can make it impossible for women to advocate for themselves," says Marilyn Watkins, Policy Director for the Economic Opportunity Institute.
The economy both locally and nationally has been experiencing an uptick, but much of that wealth has not made its way into the pockets of low-wage workers, said Marilyn Watkins of the Economic Opportunity Institute. “A lot of the benefits of the economic growth have continued to go to the very top, to CEOs, to corporate shareholders,” she said.
"Women in Washington who worked full-time in 2016 made 76.5 percent of men's earnings. Even after accounting for occupation, education, and other such factors, scholars have consistently found that this gap cannot be explained without the influence of discrimination. Clearly, the Equal Pay laws on the books have proven insufficient," says Marilyn Watkins, Policy Director for the Economic Opportunity Institute.
Across Washington state, the workers serving our salad, stocking our groceries, or checking our blood pressure have a little paid sick leave in their bank. Hopefully, if they’re sick, they’re at home, and not spreading their germs to us. Our new paid sick leave law protects us all.
"The only way to make these programs universal, the only way to be sure that the waitress or the retail clerk has access to these programs, that every child gets the benefit of having a parent at home, that every elder has loving family surrounding them in their last days — the only way to do that is through social insurance," EOI Policy Director Marilyn Watkins says.
A push by state lawmakers to close the wage gap between men and women is gaining momentum, but it's also raising concerns from some in the business community. Will this be the year the Senate passes a gender pay equity bill and approves a law to bring more transparency to salary negotiations? Guests include Marilyn Watkins, policy director, Economic Opportunity Institute
77.4 cents: The amount a woman currently earns in Seattle for every dollar made by a man doing equivalent work, according to a presentation the Economic Opportunity Institute gave to the city council’s Housing, Health, Energy, and Workers’ Rights committee last week. Non-white women make significantly less than white women across the board, with black women, on average, earning the least; the wage gap is largest, at 29.3 percent, between Asian-American men and women.