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Equal Rights Advocates honors and remembers our friend Madeline Mixer, a gender-equality pioneer who spent decades advocating and organizing for working women. Madeline, a passionate supporter of ERA throughout her life, passed away earlier this month.

Since the 1960s, Madeline advocated for non-traditional job training and placement for women. As the director of the Women’s Bureau District IX (San Francisco) of the U.S. Department of Labor, and long after her retirement, Madeline supported women who sought jobs in nontraditional blue-collar work, in fields typically dominated by men. She was an avowed feminist, and for a time during the Reagan administration, she lost her job because of it. (Feminism was a family trait; her mother, who lived to be 101, had been a suffragist.)

Madeline co-founded the nonprofit organization Tradeswomen Inc. in 1979. The organization is still active today. She also understood the importance of communication as a way for women to support each other and organize, founding Tradeswoman Magazine, which was published for nearly two decades, and a newsletter called “Pride and a Paycheck,” which is still published.

Long-time ERA supporter and tradeswomen advocate Molly Martin said this of Madeline in tribute:

“I think Madeline’s life goal was to make it possible for women to have access to jobs that could make them independent of men. Her own life experience as a divorced mother of a young child was the driving force behind her feminism. At the time women didn’t have so many options.”

Noreen Farrell, ERA Executive Director, agrees, and adds: “Madeline was a pioneer and also a wondrous historian of the movement. She energized a new movement of feminists with stories of the strides she made possible.”

Madeline Mixer’s legacy of advocacy to serve the cause of gender justice highlights the importance of collaboration and resilience. She will be missed by everyone in the ERA family.

 


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Join Equal Rights Advocates for our 44th annual Gala Luncheon June 6 in San Francisco.


On Wednesday, June 6, check-in starts at 11 am. The Gala Luncheon will begin promptly at 12 noon.

 

Hundreds of gender justice champions will gather in San Francisco to celebrate our collective power and everything we’ve accomplished together over the past year.


At work, at school, out on the streets, and in the halls of capitol buildings across the country, everyday women have shown extraordinary courage that has benefited us all. That deserves celebration!


You won’t want to miss this. Our 44th annual Gala Luncheon features keynote speaker Mónica Ramírez, and introducing Irma Herrera as emcee!

 

Reserve your spot now.

 


About Mónica Ramírez: ERA is thrilled to announce Mónica Ramírez as a Champion of Justice Honoree and this year's keynote speaker. As co-founder and President of the Alianza Nacional de Campesinas (National Farmworker Women's Alliance), Mónica has dedicated her entire career to ending gender-based violence in the workplace and achieving gender equity. She has served farmworker, Latina, and immigrant women as an organizer and advocate for more than two decades. She has also represented individuals as a civil rights and gender justice attorney since 2004. With a November 2017 letter published by TIME magazine, she helped spark the TIME'S UP movement.

 

About Irma Herrera: Irma Herrera is a social justice activista, writer, performer, and former Executive Director of Equal Rights Advocates for 15 years. During her 30-plus years as a public interest lawyer, Irma fought for the rights of Spanish-speaking migrant farm workers and poor minority children, among others. Her 2016 play “Why Would I Mispronounce My Own Name?” explores the cultural significance of names, and the parts of our identities we’re asked to give up for the sake of fitting in and getting along. A renowned writer, former investigative journalist, and professor of social justice law and education law, Irma’s distinctions include the Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of Achievement Award from the American Bar Association's Commission on Women in the Profession; National Person of Distinction by Santa Clara University School of Law; and California NOW's Safety, Health and Equal Opportunity (S.H.E.) Award for promoting educational opportunity.

 

Sponsor a Student Activist. Honor the courage of a local student activist or ERA client by sponsoring their seat at the event. These gender justice champions are on the frontlines of the fight against injustice in our schools and workplaces. Your donation will ensure they get the recognition they deserve!


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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, May 22, 2018
 
CONTACT
Delia Coleman, 415.575.2396, dcoleman@equalrights.org

 

SCOTUS Blow to Workers’ Rights Demands Legislative Fix

 

SAN FRANCISCO, CO – In a 5-4 decision issued yesterday written by Justice Neil Gorsuch, the Supreme Court ruled in ​Epic Systems Corporation v. Lewis​ that employers can use mandatory arbitration agreements to bar workers from banding together to challenge workplace violations.

 

Noreen Farrell, Executive Director of Equal Rights Advocates,​ released the following statement:

For over four decades, Equal Rights Advocates has represented the most vulnerable of women workers. Make no mistake: the Epic Systems decision is a direct attack on their rights. As the #MeToo movement has made clear, women must often work collectively to force change in their workplace. Many cannot afford to pursue their claims individually and risk retaliation when they do so. And because individual arbitration proceedings are not public, they prevent the exposure of widespread abuses and protect repeat predators in the workplace.

By upholding forced arbitration agreements that bar class or collective actions, the Supreme Court has made it harder for workers to challenge and change discriminatory work conditions. The decision flies in the face of the National Labor Relations Act and its interpretation by the National Labor Relations Board. The NLRA entitles employees to “engage in concerted activities for the purpose of mutual aid or protection.” We wholeheartedly stand with Justice Ginsburg, who said in her dissent: “The court today holds enforceable these arm-twisted, take-it-or-leave-it-contracts - including provisions requiring employees to litigate wage and hours claims only one-by-one. Federal labor law does not countenance such isolation of employees.”

The Court’s decision in Epic Systems panders to corporate interests at the expense of workers. It will, no doubt, lead to the dramatic under-enforcement of civil rights laws designed to protect workers’ rights. Our eyes now turn to Congress. We call upon elected leaders to demonstrate their commitment to the workers who put them in office. We demand a legislative fix clarifying the right of workers to take collective legal action.

###

Equal Rights Advocates is a national civil rights organization dedicated to protecting and expanding economic and educational access and opportunities for women and girls.

 

 

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ERA Staff Attorney Maha Ibrahim shares first-hand insights on the importance workplace of workplace lactation accommodations this Mother's Day.

 


Pumping is an annoying and laborious task. As a new mom of 5 month-old baby Raymond, I am well acquainted with this fact. After three lactation consultants, countless specialists’ and doctors’ visits, a bleary-eyed lifetime of internet searches, book research, chortling tears and just plain asking other moms, my baby Ray is no latcher. He hasn’t once successfully fed at my breast, yet I have been able to feed him breastmilk, because I pump.

 


Because my baby doesn't latch, I have to pump 5-7 times a day. My case is extreme, but all breastfeeding moms must pump when they return to work, usually at least two or three times a day. It is the only way for other caretakers to feed babies breastmilk while moms work, and it is the only way for moms to retain their milk supply. (Breastmilk is a supply and demand arrangement. If you don’t pump or feed a baby at regular intervals throughout the day every day, your milk goes away. Poof.)

 

"At ERA, we don’t just relish in our own women-friendly workplace; We fight like hell every day in the courts and in the halls of legislatures because we want all women and families to have common sense rights that are humane and, frankly, good for business."

 


While I was on maternity leave, it was incredibly hard to pump as many times as I needed to during the day to build and keep my supply and feed my baby. I always had a baby in my arms, and pumping and baby holding are incompatible. Because I am a women’s rights lawyer, I knew how privileged I was when I told fellow new moms that I would be relieved to return to work because I knew it would be so much easier for me to pump at the office than it was for me to pump at home.

 


I have that privilege, because my employer understands the math of breastfeeding, values women and families, and gives me time and privacy to pump. But we live in a country where most laws were made by many people over hundreds of years who neither knew nor cared to learn about motherhood. The tedious labor of love and necessity that is pumping has been treated like a selfish or irrational employee request.

 


Currently, Equal Rights Advocates represents a worker who completely lost her milk supply and could no longer breastfeed her baby because her employer would not allow her to pump during a several-days-long mandatory training. Even in the very white collar field of legal work, I have many lawyer colleagues who have spent hours in parking lots pumping in their cars during long days of representing their clients in court, because California courts do not have lactation accommodations. Pumping in their parked cars means pumping in broad daylight while judges, opposing counsel, court staff, and others walk by. It also means a lot of time spent coming and going from the courthouse – when given a 15 minute recess, it usually takes five to ten minutes for the lawyer to get out to her car, and getting back in through security might take longer. So, the attorneys also have to worry about rushing to not miss court, which would not happen if there was a conveniently located lactation room.

 

At ERA, we don’t just relish in our own women-friendly workplace; We fight like hell every day in the courts and in the halls of legislatures because we want all women and families to have common sense rights that are humane and, frankly, good for business. That is why we are proud to support CA SB 937 (Wiener & Levya). If passed, this bill would be the most comprehensive lactation accommodation law in the United States. It would create minimum standards for lactation accommodation spaces, require employers to have written lactation policies, require the creation of lactation accommodation best practices in our state, and ensure that employees receive information about their rights to a safe and comfortable lactation space at work.

 


This Mother’s Day, we salute all mothers: the new and terrified, and the seasoned (and maybe still terrified). You are all badasses in our book, and we will continue to fight to get laws on the books to get you the rights you deserve at work.

 

For more information on SB 937, see our Stronger California Campaign website.


Maha Ibrahim is a Staff Attorney at Equal Rights Advocates

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Equal Rights Advocates honors and remembers our friend Madeline Mixer, a gender-equality pioneer who spent decades advocating and organizing for working women. Madeline, a passionate supporter of ERA throughout her life, passed away earlier this month.

Since the 1960s, Madeline advocated for non-traditional job training and placement for women. As the director of the Women’s Bureau District IX (San Francisco) of the U.S. Department of Labor, and long after her retirement, Madeline supported women who sought jobs in nontraditional blue-collar work, in fields typically dominated by men. She was an avowed feminist, and for a time during the Reagan administration, she lost her job because of it. (Feminism was a family trait; her mother, who lived to be 101, had been a suffragist.)

Madeline co-founded the nonprofit organization Tradeswomen Inc. in 1979. The organization is still active today. She also understood the importance of communication as a way for women to support each other and organize, founding Tradeswoman Magazine, which was published for nearly two decades, and a newsletter called “Pride and a Paycheck,” which is still published.

Long-time ERA supporter and tradeswomen advocate Molly Martin said this of Madeline in tribute:

“I think Madeline’s life goal was to make it possible for women to have access to jobs that could make them independent of men. Her own life experience as a divorced mother of a young child was the driving force behind her feminism. At the time women didn’t have so many options.”

Noreen Farrell, ERA Executive Director, agrees, and adds: “Madeline was a pioneer and also a wondrous historian of the movement. She energized a new movement of feminists with stories of the strides she made possible.”

Madeline Mixer’s legacy of advocacy to serve the cause of gender justice highlights the importance of collaboration and resilience. She will be missed by everyone in the ERA family.

 


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Remembering and Honoring Madeline Mixer

June 22, 2018 | by

  Equal Rights Advocates honors and remembers our friend Madeline Mixer, a gender-equality pioneer who spent decades advocating and organizing for working women. Madeline, a passionate supporter of...
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Don’t Miss Our Gala Luncheon with Mónica Ramírez and Irma Herrera

June 1, 2018 | by

Join Equal Rights Advocates for our 44th annual Gala Luncheon June 6 in San Francisco. On Wednesday, June 6, check-in starts at 11 am. The Gala Luncheon will begin promptly at 12 noon.   Hundreds of...
read more

SCOTUS Blow to Workers’ Rights Demands Legislative Fix

May 22, 2018 | by

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Friday, May 22, 2018   CONTACT Delia Coleman, 415.575.2396, dcoleman@equalrights.org   SCOTUS Blow to Workers’ Rights Demands Legislative Fix   SAN FRANCISCO, CO – In a 5-4...
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Lactation Accommodations: A Right, Not a Privilege

May 13, 2018 | by

ERA Staff Attorney Maha Ibrahim shares first-hand insights on the importance workplace of workplace lactation accommodations this Mother’s Day.   Pumping is an annoying and laborious task. As a new...
read more