Equal pay top issue for working women, survey finds

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The AFL-CIO is highlighting the results of a new survey to push for equal pay for women across the country.

In a national survey of 25,000 working women, the labor group found that 46 percent of women named pay equity as a barrier they plan to take action on.

“Women are delivering a message loud and clear: We want equal pay and equal say,” said Elizabeth Shuler, the labor group’s secretary-treasurer, said at a pres conference to unveil the survey results on Thursday. “We’re going to make sure it reverberates in Congress and throughout the presidential campaign and beyond.”

Of the women who responded, a third said they work more than 40 hours a week, 11 percent said they work more than 50 hours a week and 19 percent said they have multiple jobs.

“It’s been 53 years since the Equal Pay Act was signed into law, and we still make less than men for doing the same job,” Shuler said. “It’s ridiculous. And a typical woman who works full-time loses half a million dollars over her lifetime.”

The survey, which included responses from both union and non-union members, also found that 59 percent of women reported being the primary breadwinner, earning between 51 and 100 percent of the household income.

The AFL-CIO hopes the survey results will push the presidential candidates to put forth agendas focused on working women that include strategies to close the pay gap.

“If you’re not talking about equal pay, you’re just not relevant to working women,” Shuler said.

Though she did not name specifically name Democratic front-runner, Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn) said Republicans would be forced to support equal pay when Hillary Clinton wins the White House.

“With a new person as president, I’m sure what she will do is support all of these efforts, and I’ve got a feeling that our Republican colleagues are going to join the effort because they have to,” she said.

DeLauro joined the AFL-CIO on Thursday for its announcement on Capitol Hill, along with Reps. Bobby Scott (D-Va.) and Doris Matsui (D-Calif.).

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