ATLANTA, Ga (CW69 News at 10) – US Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh joined Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and community leaders in Atlanta for roundtable discussions on the gender wage gap, low wages and other labor issues. He also drew attention to the Biden administration’s Build Back Better program as a solution.
Walsh and Bottoms heard from several organizations about the challenges women face in the workforce. “Even before the pandemic, low salaries and lack of other supports drove daycare teachers out of the profession,” said Mindy Binderman, executive director of the Georgia Early Education Alliance for Ready Students. “Several of the women we worked with actively had to choose between paying for their medication or putting food on the table,” said Shante Wolfe, campaign manager for Caring Across Generations. “I just want to encourage you to make sure the paid time off is there because we are working hard,” said Reverend Harriet Bradley, Home Care Advocate and Caring Across Generations Fellow.
READ MORE: Child tax credit: when is your October payment due?
They described how COVID-19 has exacerbated low wages and the gender pay gap. “Georgia is on the minds of the White House, and your voices are so important,” Bottoms said. She shared some statistics showing that women are paid 82% percent of what white men are paid in the workforce. For black women, it’s 62 percent. “We have to treat people with respect and we have to create pathways in the middle class,” Walsh said. He urges Congress to adopt the Build Back Better program, saying it would help solve the problems. “Atlanta is one of those important cities in our country that we need to support the Build Back Better program in skills training and workforce development,” he said. “The great part of having the secretary here is that he’s been mayor for seven years, so he understands the needs of our communities,” Bottoms said.
READ MORE: Child tax credit: how to refuse monthly payments
Walsh’s conversations about low wages and labor complaints continued at Local 613 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. received by the Wages and Hours Division of the United States Department of Labor.
NO MORE NEWS: Northbound lanes on Florida Avenue will be closed Wednesday evening
As workforce challenges continue, so do calls for federal legislation as a solution.