Latinas are brilliant. Latinas continue to lead consumer trends in the United States. Latinas and their community are one of the most educated demographics. Latinas are talented and beyond skilled, collectively.
Yet, it takes Latinas almost two years to earn what white, non-Hispanic men make. How could they not? After all, their compensation is equivalent to making 54 cents for every dollar earned.
Latina Equal Pay Day is an estimate of the day Latinas must work into the new year to earn what white, non-Hispanic men made during the previous year. This year it’s on December 8th. It is also a day to take action and remind employers and the government about this outrageous pay discrepancy.
This year, Justice for Migrant Women and the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum went a step further. They worked to include, for the first time, data calculations about part-time and part-year workers such as farmworkers and migrant and seasonal workers. Due to this, now 33 million women across demographic groups are a part of the pay gap calculations. Accurate and inclusive representation of data will help better identify the issues that come with the wage gap as well as drive measures for necessary change to occur, federally and locally.
What is being done this Latina Equal Pay Day
Several organizations and Latine groups spearhead the conversation around the Latina Equal Pay Day, while empowering Latinas to understand the value of their labor.
Monica Ramirez, founder of Justice for Migrant Women, for instance, is hosting the National Latina Equal Pay Day Summit in Washington, D.C. alongside LCLAA, MANA, ALPFA, and Equal Pay Today! BELatina News will live-stream the event via Facebook.
Partners and elected and appointed officials will be present at the summit. There’s even going to be a point where migrant workers will be given some time to speak to Members of Congress about laws that can benefit them and their labor.
In order to continue to fight toward closing the Latina pay gap – and all pay gaps in general – it is important to understand why this issue matters and what is being done to combat it. Thus, we spoke to the Latina activist, Monica Ramirez, to learn more about this year’s Latina Equal Pay Day, including the summit, and ways people can also help in spearheading change.
Find our conversation below.
How can people urge their representatives to help them close the Latina Pay Gap?
One way is to ask them to support legislation directly related to fair pay on the local, state, and federal level. A few pieces of legislation they can ask their members of congress and senators to support is the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, Paycheck Fairness Act and the Be HEARD in the Workplace Act. Please call and email your representatives, and urge them to sign on to these vital pieces of legislation and urge leadership to bring these pieces of legislation to the floor.
What’s something you hope everyone learns from the wage gap for seasonal and migratory women who serve and feed the nation?
Extraordinary harm has been possible because in many ways our society, political leaders and others have tried to erase and isolate farmworker community members. For far too long, the way that we talked about the pay gap is another example of how certain people in our country and their experiences have been erased. It is absolutely necessary that we understand both the experiences of full time workers, as well as part time and seasonal workers because this will help us better understand what needs to change.
Migrant women are directly affected by the Latina pay gap. Yet, for years their experiences were not accounted for in the pay gap analysis because their work does not often qualify as full time, year round due to the seasonal nature of the job.
I hope people remember that there are real people at the center of this discussion. I think of Rosa and her family who pick cucumbers, peppers, and pumpkins in Ohio then migrate to Florida to pick strawberries. Without these migrant workers we would not have food on our tables, they are what keep us fed and alive and deserve to be paid a fair and equal wage. It is our responsibility to look for solutions that account for people, like Rosa, who are often out of sight and out of mind from others. Ensuring that we are centering those who are most marginalized will help us have a fighting chance of correcting things for all working women impacted by this issue.
What are some laws that aid in closing the wage gap that Latinas should watch out for?
The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, Paycheck Fairness Act and the Be HEARD in the Workplace Act are all pieces of legislation that everyone should have their eyes on and encourage their representatives to support and pass. It’s also important to know about other laws, like those that require predictable scheduling, raising the tipped minimum wage, and requiring pay transparency laws that require employers to disclose pay and salary ranges, among others.
Are there laws that are potentially detrimental to closing the Latina wage gap?
The fact that whole groups of workers, like farmworkers, domestic workers and tipped workers, do not have the same basic rights under our federal employment laws certainly poses an obstacle toward closing the pay gap for Latinas and other working people. The reality that there are thresholds written into some laws, which require a certain number of workers before an employer is covered by some employment laws, like Title VII the federal anti-discrimination law which requires 15 workers or more in order for the law to apply, is also problematic. If one person is employed in a workplace, they should have rights and protections. Some workers do not have the ability to form a union, like farmworkers who were specifically excluded under the National Labor Relations Act. Latinas who are members of a union are paid an average of $242 more per week. So, the fact that some workers are not able to unionize per our federal law is also detrimental.
Can you tell us more about the National Latina Pay Day Summit?
We are so fortunate because people who are leading across our government, NGO’s and in the community are showing up in full force to send a message that we are fully committed to doing the work to close this pay gap once and for all. We have key leaders from the Biden Administration who will be participating, like EEOC CHAIR, Charlotte Burrows, and the U.S. Small Business Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman. There will also be Members of Congress, like Senator Brown, who will be joining us to observe the day and commit to action for change.
The summit will be an amazing event, we have farmworkers and other essential workers traveling from Texas, Ohio and other places to listen to leaders talk about what they are doing to achieve gender equity and close the pay gap. Following the Summit, they will visit with Members of Congress to encourage them to pass vital pieces of legislation that will help address this problem. In addition to this special delegation, women’s rights advocates, Latinx leaders, representatives of the labor community and other community members will be coming together with us as we discuss the scope of the problem, as well as the solutions.
Anything else you’d like to share with the BELatina News audience?
We are all working toward the day when we no longer have to observe this day of action. Achieving pay equity and gender equity across the board is our mission and everyone has a role to play. Business leaders need to take the steps to be just employers and to really take a hard look at their practices — from hiring to evaluations and promotions. They need to do their own internal audit of their practices to be sure that they are paying equitably and providing similar opportunities for growth and advancement to their employees. Political leaders need to make decisive moves to close the loopholes, create news, and amend others that pose as barriers to closing these gaps. Community members need to continue to organize, to build power, and to take collective action. The more than 12 million Latinas who are in our labor force need us to use our power to push for change. Our families, our communities and our country need us all to roll up our sleeves to demand change. It just makes sense and it is urgently needed.
BELatina readers: We must fight for fair wages even after Latina Equal Pay Day. This is a year-long fight.