Labor Rights for Labor Day
By Natasha Mayer
For all of human history, women have worked. Whether they worked on the family farm, in a factory during World War II, or in an office today, women have always been contributing to the economy and the workforce. Women have also been on the front lines of fighting for workplace rights. After the women working at textile mills in Lowell, Massachusetts, discovered they were being underpaid, they formed the first working women’s union, the Lowell Female Labor Reform Association in 1844. After the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire of 1911 claimed 145 lives, women fought for safer conditions and unlocked doors to allow factory workers to exit in case of fire. In 1963, women activists helped pass the Equal Pay Act, to work toward abolishing pay disparity based on gender.
Women today are still fighting for workplace rights, JWFNY included. Ta’amod, a project of JWFNY and The Good People Fund, works toward ending harassment and abuse based on gender in Jewish communal spaces while Time’s Up and other organizations founded in the wake of #MeToo work to end gender harassment in secular workplaces. We are active partners working toward equal pay with the PowHer Network, and we require organizations we support to provide equitable family leave to their staff. We are proud to count ourselves among the women working to create safe and respectful workplaces for all.