Outten & Golden: Empowering Employees in the Workplace

Posts Tagged ‘Germany’

Ivanka Trump supports her father’s decision to stop monitoring the wage gap

Wednesday, August 30th, 2017

Despite her supposed support for equal pay, Ivanka Trump backed a recent White House decision to end an Obama administration rule that would have required businesses to monitor the salaries of employees of different genders, races, and ethnicities in an effort to prevent employment discrimination.

Ivanka said in a statement that the policy, which would have taken effect this spring, would “not yield the intended results.” She didn’t offer any alternatives to replace the policy or explain why monitoring employees’ salaries would not help close wage gaps.

Ivanka has made a brand out of praising women who work, selling herself as an advocate for women’s rights.In April, Ivanka praised similar legislation passed in Germany requiring companies with 200 or more workers to document pay gaps between employees. She even added that the United States should follow Germany’s example.

“I know that Chancellor Merkel, just this past March, you passed an equal pay legislation to promote transparency and to try to finally narrow that gender pay gap,” she said. “And that’s something we should all be looking at.”

The Obama-era rule would have required companies with 100 or more workers to collect and submit data on employee wages to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Neomi Rao, administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, told The Wall Street Journal that the policy is “enormously burdensome…We don’t believe it would actually help us gather information about wage and employment discrimination.”

The recent move to end the employment discrimination rule is only the latest in a series of failures by Ivanka to stand up for what she claims to be right.

Ivanka — an official White House advisor — has long been regarded as a potential moderating force within the Trump administration. But that image is carefully crafted, through a series of anonymous anecdotes to the media and sound bites that don’t actually fall in line with her father’s policies.

When Trump began the process of rolling back Obama-era clean water regulations just one month into his presidency, Ivanka remained silent. Ivanka also reportedly opposed the United States withdrawing from the Paris Climate Agreement, but she failed to stop her father from backing out of the deal. In June, in honor of Pride Month, she tweeted that she was “proud to support my LGBTQ friends and the LGBTQ Americans who have made immense contributions to our society and economy.” She then stayed silent when her father announced he would ban transgender Americans from serving in the military. (She also hasn’t said anything about the administration’s rollback of protections for transgender students.)

In her recent book, Women Who Work, Ivanka repeatedly touts her lifelong mission as, “Inspiring and empowering women who work — at all aspects of their lives.” But she remained silent on the shortcomings of her father’s paid family leave plan, which would offer six weeks of paid maternity leave to mothers, leaving out fathers and adoptive parents and potentially creating career obstacles for the working women she claims to support.

Wage discrimination in the United States is a serious problem. While the national gender pay gap has decreased since 1980, it still stands at a whopping 17 percent, with women making 83 percent of what men earn. The racial pay gap lags closely behind. In 2015, black workers earned 75 percent as much as white workers, according to Pew Research. The racial disparity is worse for women, who also fall behind men within their own racial or ethnic group.

Inside the White House, there is a surging pay gap, the highest of any White House since 2003, according to the Washington Post. At 37 percent, the White House pay gap is more than double the national gender gap.

This blog was originally published at ThinkProgress on August 30, 2017. Reprinted with permission. 

About the Author: Elham Khatami is an associate editor at ThinkProgress. Previously, she worked as a grassroots organizer within the Iranian-American community. She also served as research manager, editor, and reporter during her five-year career at CQ Roll Call. Elham earned her Master of Arts in Global Communication at George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs and her bachelor’s degree in writing and political science at the University of Pittsburgh.

Companies In This Country Now Have To Have At Least 30 Percent Women On Their Boards

Monday, March 9th, 2015

Bryce CovertOn Friday, Germany passed a law that will require companies to give 30 percent of supervisory board positions to women.

The quota will apply to the country’s 100 biggest companies by next year, where women currently hold just 18.6 percent of board director seats. Another 3,500 have until September 30 to submit their plans for increasing the share of women on their boards.

The fact that German companies have less than 20 percent women on their boards means that the country is surpassed by many European peers. Norway tops the list with 35.5 percent female boards, followed by Finland, France, and Sweden, which all have just under 30 percent female representation, and Belgium, the United Kingdom, Denmark, and the Netherlands, which all have above 20 percent.

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What makes these countries stand out is the policies they already put in place for board diversity. Noway was the first to pass a gender quota in 2008, while France, Finland, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Denmark have all since followed suit. Sweden and the United Kingdom don’t have binding laws, but the former has threatened to institute one if companies don’t increase diversity, while the UK set a goal of 25 percent women on boards that spurred rapid diversification. Spain, Iceland, and Italy also have quotas.

Women’s global progress toward equality in board representation has been slow. Their share of seats had only increased by 1.7 percent since 2009 as of 2013. Most of that progress has taken place in Europe, where these quotas are common.

In the United States, by contrast, growth has been slower. Women make upless than 20 percent of board positions at S&P 500 companies. A different measure, of companies in the Fortune 500, found in 2013 that women made up less than 17 percent of seats and hadn’t made inroads in eight straight years. There are more men named John, Robert, James and William on American boards than all women combined.

The one rule the U.S. has for gender diversity on boards lies with the Securities and Exchange Commission, which requires them to disclose how they consider diversity when choosing board members. But it’s so vaguely written that few companies take it to mean gender or racial diversity, instead focusing on experience or background. Some also comply with the rule by simply saying they don’t take diversity into account.

Quotas, on the other hand, appear to work, at least when it comes to increasing women’s representation on boards. Norway’s quota hasn’t just significantly increased the number of women on boards, but has also increased the quality of female candidates. Other research has found that since it’s been in place, corporate directors now value women’s contributions and have come to support it.

Companies also stand to benefit from better board diversity. One study found that companies with more than one woman on their boards have seen a 3.3 percent better stock market return since 2005 than those that are all male, while at least two other studies have come to the same conclusion. Gender diversity also leads companies to make decisions that protect company value and performance and away from those that lead to fraud, corruption, or other scandals.

This article originally appeared in thinkprogress.org on March 10, 2015. Reprinted with permission.

About the Author: Bryce Covert is the Economic Policy Editor for ThinkProgress. She was previously editor of the Roosevelt Institute’s Next New Deal blog and a senior communications officer. She is also a contributor for The Nation and was previously a contributor for ForbesWoman. Her writing has appeared on The New York Times, The New York Daily News, The Nation, The Atlantic, The American Prospect, and others. She is also a board member of WAM!NYC, the New York Chapter of Women, Action & the Media.

T-Mobile US Workers Unite for Respect

Wednesday, August 21st, 2013

Image: Mike HallWith a new website—TMobileWorkersUnited.org—workers at T-Mobile US are connecting with each other to build strength in their drive for workplace justice and respect.

Working with the Communications Workers of America (CWA), T-Mobile Workers United (TU) is an alliance of hundreds of call center representatives, retail associates and technicians who are standing up to discuss the issues and challenges they face at the new T-Mobile US, a merger of T-Mobile USA and MetroPCS.

For the past several years, T-Mobile workers say they have faced an extensive anti-union campaign by the company that last year closed seven call centers in the United States and shipped more than 3,300 jobs overseas.

Before the merger, MetroPCS shared T-Mobile’s U.S. job-killing record. The company “outsourced all of its customer contact center services to maintain low operating expenses” through a partnership with Telvista, a call center outsourcer. Good American jobs are now going to Mexico, Antigua, Panama and the Philippines, according to MetroPCS’s 10-K filing.

Ronald Ellis, a T-Mobile US call center worker in Nashville, Tenn., writes on the new website:

With the recent acquisition of MetroPCS (9 million no-contract customers, and no customer service based in the USA), the winds of change are blowing. T-Mobile USA stopped employees’ raises and stopped the phone incentive for employees. We feel if we don’t unite soon, more call centers may soon be on the chopping blocks for downsizing.

The workers say they want this new company to succeed, and they believe that justice and respect in the workplace are essential for that success.

In 2011, CWA, ver.di, the German union that represents workers at T-Mobile’s parent company Deutsche Telekom, and a coalition of community and labor groups around the world, partnered on an international campaign to win workers a voice and respect at T-Mobile. Read more about the global campaign here and here.

This article originally appeared on AFL-CIO NOW blog on August 19th, 2013.  Reposted with permission. 

About the Author:  Mike Hall is a former West Virginia newspaper reporter, staff writer for the United Mine Workers Journaland managing editor of the Seafarers Log.  He came to the AFL- CIO in 1989 and has written for several federation publications, focusing on legislation and politics, especially grassroots mobilization and workplace safety

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