If you didn’t watch the State of the Union last night (or at least read a transcript of it like I did), then you need to right now. I mean it. Now.
President Barack Obama said some incredibly compelling things last night that made my eyes tear and my heart swell. Yes! I thought, Yes, this is the America that I long for. Let’s do this.
Say what you want about him- and sure, we can all wait with bated breath to see if what he says holds true… but for now, America, just for one moment, can we live in hope of a brighter tomorrow?
On fair wages: “And as a chief executive, I intend to lead by example. Profitable corporations like Costco see higher wages as the smart way to boost productivity and reduce turnover. We should too. In the coming weeks, I will issue an Executive Order requiring federal contractors to pay their federally-funded employees a fair wage of at least $10.10 an hour – because if you cook our troops’ meals or wash their dishes, you shouldn’t have to live in poverty.”
We say: Yes! Yes a thousand times over. As we discussed in our article about Naquasia LeGrand, people can’t live on the minimum wage, it’s just not possible. We believe that, as the President said, a higher wage will help the employees, the economy, and eventually the employer. A boosted morale and higher paycheck will give employees a sense of community- a desire to work harder for their employer. And in turn, people will have more money to spend which will even out the costs for the employer.
On women’s pay and quality of work life: “Today, women make up about half our workforce. But they still make 77 cents for every dollar a man earns. That is wrong, and in 2014, it’s an embarrassment. A woman deserves equal pay for equal work. She deserves to have a baby without sacrificing her job. A mother deserves a day off to care for a sick child or sick parent without running into hardship – and you know what, a father does, too. It’s time to do away with workplace policies that belong in a “Mad Men” episode. This year, let’s all come together – Congress, the White House, and businesses from Wall Street to Main Street – to give every woman the opportunity she deserves. Because I firmly believe when women succeed, America succeeds. “
We say: Well, duh! We especially love the part about a woman being able to have a baby without sacrificing her job.It is so dire that women not be punished for their ability to pro-create. And, as we previously discussed sick pay (which is becoming a reality in NYC and Newark, NJ) is incredibly important. How would an employee work at their fullest potential knowing that their child is home with a fever?
We’re rooting for you, Mr. President. We hope that when your term ends we can all remember this speech and know that we did it- that we restored what was broken and improved what wasn’t good enough for the greatest country on Earth.
(By Nicole Nadler)