Worker’s Justice Project Protects Hispanic Women from Unfair Salaries, Reported by Refinery29

Posted on November 8, 2017

What It’s Like To Fight For Equal Pay When You’re A Latina Construction Worker

Originally Posted by Refinery29 on November 3, 2017
Written by Judith Ohikuare

“My mission as part of Worker’s Justice Project is to share my knowledge. We are here to make a change, and I share that message with my colleagues. We are family, and we can make a difference. We are the change we want to see in the world,” said Guadalupe Aguirre Gomez in her interview with Refinery29. Based on a projection from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, Hispanic women may not achieve equal pay with white men until the year 2233. Gomez, 25, works in construction and is fighting for better opportunities for herself and her fellow female construction workers. She recounts her work and pay experience in the interview: “I started three years ago. When I accepted my first job offer in this industry, I was told that I would be doing demolition, but I ended up being put in charge of all the cleaning. After I started, I clarified what my role was supposed to be, and they said, ‘Well, sweeping and mopping — women’s work.’ I wasn’t okay with that. I had imagined that my work would be taking down walls, throwing away trash, shoveling, and that kind of thing. I talked to the boss and told him that I didn’t want to do cleaning work anymore. I didn’t want to do the same chores I do at home. He said, ‘Okay. I’ll put you to work with the boys,’ but then there was a new problem: He wanted to pay me the same salary for doing demolition work as I was making for the cleaning jobs.” Gomez is a part of the Worker’s Justice Project. The membership costs $25 and lasts for one year. It also provides access to OSHA training, a free immigration clinic, a workshop about labor rights, and information about the proper salary that corresponds to jobs, as well as how many hours should be worked. Gomez continued, “I work with more than 20 women, and I want to show them that women have a voice and that we can make a change. I invite them to attend the workshops and learn how to ask for a fair salary because women do the same work as men here. I have even heard that women are more detailed-oriented and often do a better-quality job — but we are paid much less. I make holes with hammers like a man. I climb just like a man. I take the same risks as the men. Why shouldn’t I be paid the same salary as a man?”

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