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The White House Summit for Working Families: Time for Equality & Fairness

June 23rd, 2014 @ The White House Summit for Working Families
June 23rd, 2014 @ The White House Summit for Working Families

In the summer of 2014, The White House, in partnership with the Department of Labor and the Center for American Progress, hosted a progressive summit. It was held with the purpose of starting a national conversation about women in the workplace, equality and fairness in the workplace, equal pay, and raising the minimum wage.

The summit was attended by Americans from all walks of life. Business women, entrepreneurs, advocates, labor leaders, economists, CEOs, bloggers, legislators, and activists; even the President and his staff.

The summit focused on creating a 21st century workplace that works for all Americans.

President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, First Lady Michelle Obama, Dr. Jill Biden, CEOs, Legislators, economist, and everyday Americans spoke about their experiences and suggestions to help working families.

It is time for Americans to have equal pay and equal rights and the President agrees. "As President, my top priority is rebuilding an economy where everybody who works hard has the chance to get ahead." he said. He also explain in detail why Americans are desperate for a change.

See below quotes from The President speech:

"For many hourly workers, taking just a few days off can mean losing their job. And even though unpaid family leave is available, if you can’t pay the bills already the idea of taking a couple days off unpaid may mean you can’t make the mortgage payment or the rent payment at the end of the month.

Or look at childcare. In most countries, it costs -- in most parts of the country, it costs thousands of dollars a year. In fact, in 31 states, decent childcare costs more than in-state college tuition -- in 31 states, in more than half the states. I recently got a letter from a woman in Minnesota whose kids’ preschool is so expensive, it costs more than her monthly mortgage payment. Now, she’s made a determination to make that sacrifice for her kids, but a lot of working families can’t make that sacrifice. And, by the way, there are other countries that know how to do childcare well. I mean, this isn’t rocket science.

Or look at the minimum wage. Low-wage occupations disproportionately represented by women. Nearly 28 million Americans would benefit if we raised the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour. (Applause.) And we’re not just talking about young people on their first job. The average worker who would benefit from an increase in the minimum wage is 35 years old. Many have kids, a majority are women. And right now, many full-time minimum wage workers are not making enough to keep their children out of poverty.

So these are just a few of the challenges that working parents face. And every day, I hear from parents all across the country. They are doing everything right -- they are working hard, they are living responsibly, they are taking care of their children, they’re participating in their community -- and these letters can be heartbreaking, because at the end of the day it doesn’t feel like they’re getting ahead. And all too often, it feels like they’re slipping behind. And a lot of the time, they end up blaming themselves thinking, if I just work a little harder -- if I plan a little better, if I sleep a little bit less, if I stretch every dollar a little bit farther -- maybe I can do it. And that thought may have crossed the minds of some of the folks here from time to time.

Part of the purpose of this summit is to make clear you’re not alone. Because here’s the thing: These problems are not typically the result of poor planning or too little diligence on the parts of moms or dads, and they cannot just be fixed by working harder or being an even better parent. (Applause.) All too often, they are the results of outdated policies and old ways of thinking. Family leave, childcare, workplace flexibility, a decent wage -- these are not frills, they are basic needs. They shouldn’t be bonuses. They should be part of our bottom line as a society. That’s what we’re striving for. (Applause.)

Parents who work full-time should earn enough to pay the bills, and they should be able to head off to work every day knowing that their children are in good hands. Workers who give their all should know that if they need a little flexibility, they can have it -- because their employers understand that it’s hard to be productive if you’ve got a sick kid at home or a childcare crisis.

Talented, hard-working people should be able to say yes to a promotion or a great new opportunity without worrying about the price that their family will pay. There was a new poll by Nielsen’s that found that nearly half of all working parents say they have turned down a job not because they didn’t want it, but because it would put too much of a burden on their families. When that many members of our workforce are forced to choose between a job and their family, something’s wrong.

And here is a critical point: All too often, these issues are thought of as women’s issues, which I guess means you can kind of scoot them aside a little bit. At a time when women are nearly half of our workforce, among our most skilled workers, are the primary breadwinners in more families than ever before, anything that makes life harder for women makes life harder for families and makes life harder for children. (Applause.) When women succeed, America succeeds, so there’s no such thing as a women’s issue. (Applause.) There’s no such thing as a women’s issue. This is a family issue and an American issue -- these are commonsense issues."

His speech moved the audience and fired up all progressives...

Working families are faced with many challenges and it is time for a real change...

Together we can make it happen :)

Brava :)

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