NFDW Action Alert on USWNST and Equal Pay

NFDW members are joining the celebration of the phenomenal fourth World Cup win by the United States Women’s National Soccer Team (USWNST) and their fight for equal pay.

Previously, five players filed a wage-discrimination action against the U.S. Soccer Federation with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission because women soccer players are paid 89% of what the men receive. In April 2017, it was reported,  “a new collective bargaining agreement, or CBA, with the U.S. Soccer Federation had been made. The agreement stated that the players would have increased base pay and improved match bonuses. These changes could increase their previous pay from $200,000 to $300,000. This 2017 CBA, however, does not guarantee the women’s team equal pay with the men’s national team. The CBA’s five-year term, through 2021, ensured that the next negotiation would not become an issue for the team in its next major competitions.  Also, the U.S. Soccer Federation had agreed to pay the players for two years’ worth of unequal per-diem payments.

On March 8, 2019, all 28 members of the U.S. team filed a gender discrimination lawsuit against the United States Soccer Federation. The lawsuit, filed in the United States District Court in Los Angeles, accused the Federation of ‘institutional gender discrimination.’  The lawsuit claims that the discrimination affects not only the amount the players are paid, but also their playing, training, and travel conditions.”

This discrimination is reflective of unequal pay in the U.S. that continues to hold women, outside of soccer, who currently receive 80 cents on each dollar of what men are paid.  Women of color receive even less.  According to the U.S. Labor Department, at this rate, it will be 2059 before women reach pay parity.    

NFDW is calling on all members to join the fight of the USWNST and all women to receive equal pay for equal work.  When President Donald Trump signed an executive order to end President Barack Obama’s Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, all women were negatively impacted.  The women’s soccer team has re-ignited a challenge to this systemic problem of women not receiving equal pay.  NFDW is calling on Congress to end the arcane practice of women not being paid equally for the work that they perform.   

NFDW Action Alert on Border Crisis

National Federation of Democratic Women President Cindy Jenks has issued the following statement about the border crisis:

            “It is time for all citizens to hold Donald Trump and his administration accountable for the deplorable, inhumane, and dangerous conditions that have been inflicted on the children that are being held at the border.  President Trump has also contributed to the perilous situation of asylum seekers who left their countries crossing the U.S. Border that divides our country from Mexico.

            The press, child advocates, and members of Congress have reported seeing the children in squalid conditions, including wearing dirty clothes and without access to soap, toothbrushes, or toothpaste.  Young children were being given the responsibility of providing care for toddlers that have been brought into the complex.  The reports also say that the children look malnourished, and act depressed and traumatized. 

            Within this last year, seven children have died while in the custody of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection.  No child deaths were reported during the previous decade.  Nurses have reported that border agents are ignoring when a child is sick.  

            The buck stops on President Trump’s desk and he should be held accountable for this unacceptable situation.  NFDW members should call their congressional representatives and their local media outlets to voice opposition to this situation.”

Our Time in Albany

Last week we joined other progressive women from across the country for the National Federation of Democratic Women’s (NFDW) annual convention in Albany, New York. The NFDW represents state federation’s interests at the DNC and supports women’s voices throughout the party.

A big surprise was when President Gini Ballou was asked to run for 5th VP on the national executive board. She didn’t win–lost by 28 votes out of 554 cast–so very respectable showing. Especially, since it was only her second time attending the national convention. We were told there were considerations of the board makeup, not just geographical but demographics, that played into the decision. It truly was a big honor for Gini to be encouraged and supported by so many powerful leaders around the country. 

There was a Resolution from the floor, to censure the Idaho Democratic Party until they fully recognize our caucus with voting rights, and asked that the board be comprised of at least 40% women! The amount of attention that the By-Law amendment has and is getting around the country is nothing short of amazing! Remember that women are not a special interest group and deserve a seat at the table and a vote!

We were proud to represent you and the women and voters of Idaho at the convention. We definitely showed them that Democratic women in Idaho do exist.

NFDW Statement on Abortion Bans

On May 14, 2019, the Alabama Republican-majority Senate approved a bill that would practically outlaw abortion in the state of Alabama. It was signed into law one day later by Republican Governor Kay Ivey. This law bans all abortions except, if necessary, to save a mother’s life.  Victims of rape and incest will be forced to give birth to an unwanted child.

Last week, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp signed a law making abortion illegal after an embryonic “heartbeat” is found or roughly six weeks after conception. Ohio, Mississippi, and Kentucky have all passed similar bills this year. Missouri GOP-led Senate, immediately after Alabama’s law was signed by the Governor, rushed to pass a bill banning all abortions, except for health of the mother, after 8 weeks of conception. There are more states considering passing restrictive abortion laws.

It is clear that there is a conservative State-by-State war on women and our human right to have control over our own bodies. No woman wants to have an abortion. However, every woman wants to have control over her own body and her healthcare decisions. Women need affordable and safe access to birth control so that they do not have an unwanted pregnancy. Many of these states now banning abortions have also made it harder for women to obtain affordable birth control. They are defunding Planned Parenthood Health Clinics. They have undermined the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive-coverage policy that ensured birth control would be covered with no copay by enacting laws allowing individuals and companies to refuse to provide or cover contraception. They are stopping women from having control over their reproductive healthcare.

The Republican State legislatures making these restrictive abortion laws state that their main purpose is to force the laws before the Supreme Court of the United States so that Roe v Wade can be overturned. They may just get their way. In this year of 2019, 45 years after Roe v Wade, we as women must join together to stand our ground that every person has a right to make reproduction and health decisions about their own body. We cannot lose this basic human right.   Recent polls have indicated the support for Roe v Wade is at an all-time high and that more than 69% of Americans oppose overturning the decision.

The National Federation of Democratic Women NFDW have been fighting long and hard for our reproductive healthcare rights and we call on our leaders and legislators to stand up against this assault on women. This is not a political issue, it is an issue of human rights.

Susanna L. French, President

National Federation of Democratic Women