Category: Labor

Thoughts on nail salons

Thinking about the 1909 Shirtwaist Strike got me thinking about immigrant women workers today. You may have read these NYT articles about the exploitation and abuse of undocumented immigrant women working in nail salons in New York City. What these…

Mother’s Day is Over – But Pregnancy Discrimination Isn’t

Stories of discrimination against pregnant women in the workplace are all too common, and that’s why we need the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA), which was introduced in Congress today.

Despite the passage of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act over 30 years ago, which prohibits discrimination based on pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions, some employers continue to deny pregnant women the minor job modifications that could protect not only a woman’s pregnancy but also a family’s economic security, forcing pregnant women out of their jobs.

The PWFA would make it crystal clear to employers that they can’t treat pregnant women worse than other workers who have certain job limitations and instead must make reasonable accommodations if doing so doesn’t pose an undue hardship on the business.

Arrested for carrying condoms

Go read this piece about how the NYPD can arrest you for carrying condoms and someone please explain to me in what universe any of this makes sense. Trans and carrying condoms? You must be a prostitute, and condoms are the proof! Wearing a tight t-shirt and carrying condoms? You must be a prostitute, and condoms are the proof! A sex worker who is trying to keep herself safe in her work? You are actually a prostitute, so go to jail, or at the very least get your condoms taken away so your work is more dangerous. The condoms-as-evidence policy serves absolutely no one.

Surrogacy, paying for pregnancy and whose rights end where

This entire story about a surrogate mother, Chrystal Kelley, pregnant with a fetus with severe abnormalities, is disturbing and heartbreaking. A low-income woman, desperate for money, agreed to be a surrogate for a wealthier family, something she had done before. Everyone was excited. Then, an ultrasound showed the fetus had several abnormalities — heart problems, organ problems. The parents, who had given birth to two premature babies before and knew the difficulties of raising children with health issues, wanted to terminate the pregnancy. Kelley did not.

Centering Sex Worker Voices

Unsurprisingly, the two recent threads on sex work are… active. There’s a lot of push-back (especially to mine) in the comments, so I want to address a few things. First, I stand by what I wrote in the post. But second, I did an inadequate job of focusing on the more important issue: Making life safer, here and now, for sex workers.

Supporting Sex Workers’ Rights, Opposing the Buying of Sex

There are a few topics that still never fail to divide feminist activists, and sex work is one of them — which is why this post is so contentious right now. I love our regular guest bloggers Laurie and Debbie, and I posted that piece myself — but I don’t agree with all of it. I am an anti-sex-trafficking feminist. I think sex work is incredibly problematic. And I also support the rights of sex workers. I think you can do all those things at once.

Paid sick days

Many women have to choose between earning money to provide basic necessities for themselves and their family, or staying home sick or with a sick family member. It’s not really much of a choice, is it?