June 21, 2022: EME Changes the Game in the Fight for E.R.A.

June 21, 2022: EME Changes the Game in the Fight for E.R.A.
June 21, 2022 Robert Wood

Today marks a real turning point in the battle for full equality for all Americans, regardless of sex, as EQUAL MEANS EQUAL is thrilled to welcome Jeff Farmer, veteran union organizer, onto the team fighting for publication, certification and adoption of the E.R.A. as the 28th Amendment to the United States Constitution.

Until now, women fighting for the E.R.A. have been forced repeatedly to go back and ask for help from those who have, at worst, betrayed us and, at best, horribly neglected us.

Biden/Harris are unwilling, from what we’ve heard directly from inside the White House, “to expend the political capital necessary” to direct the U.S. Archivist to publish the amendment [as required by law].

Therefore, at this moment, American women are poised to lose half a century of political gains simply because the issue of E.R.A. is not widely enough known or understood to win the political calculus necessary from the Biden Administration to certify it. That’s a tragic/ridiculous situation that must be immediately addressed by whatever means necessary.

The cold hard political “reality” in play is that women are more valuable to the Democratic Party once they’ve lost the right to control their own bodies; their calculation is that women, angered by this disrespectful and dangerous loss, will be mobilized to throw in behind the party come November. We need to change this calculus for them.

Not only is this stone-cold strategy despicable, it is also a loser. Women are deeply demoralized by a country, a society, that is constantly feeding them misinformation and lies about their supposed “empowerment” while repeatedly beating them down institutionally when they make any attempts at collective progress. Women are exhausted, abused and underpaid. On top of it, they were cravenly used to put Biden/Harris in office, then thrown under the bus and abandoned once the election was won.

The winning strategy, and the TRUTH is that women have won Constitutional equality under E.R.A. and the Democrats should immediately certify it and go about adopting it in the states. Not only will this protect a woman’s right to control her own body and destiny, and improve their lives in countless ways (not the least of which is equal pay) but it will give the Democrats an actual win to run on, and something to be proud of.

But since no one here is wearing rose-colored glasses or waiting for the cavalry to arrive at the eleventh hour, we have to skin this kitty ourselves, and do it de manera diferente. Forget the politicians, who have sold us out. They have less spine than squid. They’ll circle back when they smell the fireworks of our victory.

EME is taking our fight directly to the people — let’s see if we can get some help from PEOPLE POWER! And on that note, I would like to introduce EME’s newest team member, longtime friend, and Teamsters’ National organizer, Jeff Farmer:

“Greetings, Friends and Fighters!

My name is Jeff Farmer and I’m thrilled to be joining the Equal Means Equal team.

For the past 40 years I have worked in the labor movement – the last twenty years as director of organizing for the Teamsters Union. It’s been an incredibly rewarding experience to assist workers in harnessing their collective power to win respect and dignity. I truly believe that organizing changes lives.

Now I’m moving on. Not to a rocking chair on the front porch, but to continue the fight for justice and dignity in new arenas. The great thing about “retirement”, I’ve learned, is that you can choose to work with people you love and respect on issues and projects you believe in.

Equal Means Equal captures that exactly – a righteous (and winnable!) fight led by two tenacious women warriors, Kamala Lopez and Natalie White.

Organizing for workers’ rights and campaigning for women’s rights are both, fundamentally, about confronting inequality.”

“In my own family, I have a couple of role models who struggled for change at the intersection of these two movements. My sister-in-law worked as a food service worker at the University of Minnesota – and then rose through the ranks and was elected to become the head of a 10,000-member Teamster local union. My sister has fought long and hard to win respect on the job, breaking through in traditional male-dominated industries, working as a firefighter, a construction laborer and now as a building inspector for the city of Minneapolis.

A union contract is a tool to gain equality, fairness and a decent standard of living.

  • For example, women union members earn approximately one-third more than non-union women workers. And hugely significantly,
  • Among union members, that gap shrinks dramatically: women working full time typically earn 91 percent of what their male counterparts make weekly—a wage gap of 9 cents.
  • Among non-union workers, women working full time typically make 80 percent of what their male counterparts make weekly—a gender wage gap of 20 cents.
  • [note from Kamala: this stat varies wildly by race, with Latinas in L.A. County earning a sickening 44 cents on the white male dollar for the same work.]

And yet, today in America, very few women workers benefit from this “union advantage.” Why? Because only a paltry 6% of the private sector workforce is, in fact, unionized!

So, if we want to win equality across the board, the fight must be bigger, broader and bolder! We need to insure full equality for all women as a matter of rights. Equality must be the law of the land, enshrined in the U.S. Constitution!

But haven’t we already won? The requirement that three-fourths of the states ratify the Equal Rights Amendment has been met. In 2020, Virginia became the 38th state to ratify the amendment, putting the ERA over the top. What’s the holdup? Why isn’t it The Law?!

It’s comparable to a group of workers, organizing for union representation at their workplace, playing by the rules, withstanding the boss’ anti-union campaign of intimidation and winning the union election – only to have their employer refuse to recognize the union, delay certification and stonewall bargaining for a first contract. Justice is denied as justice is delayed.

The ERA victory must immediately be certified. It is inexcusable that it has been delayed. Somehow, we need to break the logjam and demand that the impediment of one public employee – the national archivist – refusing to certify, be overcome.

I believe the labor movement is the force that can and must weigh in to win! Union members and leaders need to fight full-blast with real urgency to organize, mobilize and, then, pressure the Biden administration to get this job done. Now.

I am excited and grateful to be part of a team that’s on the path to victory!” – Jeff Farmer

“The ERA victory must immediately be certified.
It is inexcusable that it has been delayed. I believe the labor movement is the force that can and must weigh in to win!”
– Jeff Farmer (former Director of Organizing for the Teamsters Union)

It has been a difficult period for many of us; the E.R.A. seemed to be slipping from our grasp after a century of struggle. But fear not, brave warrior, we have brought in the people. And as you well know from all histories from all times: the people, united, can NEVER BE DEFEATED.

EME’s is full of heart and renewed courage to face the road ahead. We will be working to bring on the leaders of the American labor movement in this epic battle and WE WILL WIN.

Please share this email and consider chipping in to help us as we organize and implement our new strategy.

with love and gratitude,

Kamala, Natalie, Joel, Jeff and the EME team