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Ellen Bravo
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Ellen Bravo directs Family Values @ Work, a network of state coalitions organizing to win paid sick days and paid family leave. The former director of 9to5, National Association of Working Women, Ellen also teaches Women’s Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Her most recent book is Taking on the Big Boys, or Why Feminism is Good for Families, Business and the Nation (Feminist Press, 2007). A leading spokeswoman on working women’s issues, Ellen has been described as “moving, witty and sometimes bawdy.” She lives in Milwaukee with her husband; they raised two sons.

Entries by Ellen Bravo

Local Celebrations Call for Federal Paid Sick Days Law

(0) Comments | Posted May 20, 2016 | 12:43 PM

The sign said it all: "Vermont won paid sick days. My uncle in Pennsylvania didn't. We all need paid sick days."

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The momentum for paid sick days is inspiring. As of today, thirty-two locations in the U.S. have won such policies,...

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Celebrate Moms With Paid Leave Playlist

(0) Comments | Posted May 6, 2016 | 4:59 PM

Just in time for Mother's Day, Family Values @ Work has released a new playlist on Spotify called "Lead on Love" with songs about family, love, and caring. To make it a more perfect gift, the music isn't just for moms. It's meant for dads as well, and for anyone...

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The Case for 12 Weeks Minimum Leave

(5) Comments | Posted April 12, 2016 | 5:28 PM

As a result of legislation passed last week, New York is poised to become the best state in our country to bond with a new child, nurse a seriously ill relative, or ease the passing of a beloved family member. It's not the first state to guarantee paid family leave,...

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We Need Laws That Support Our Families

(0) Comments | Posted February 16, 2016 | 12:39 PM

The hearing room at the DC City Council was packed on February 11, the witness list longer than council members could remember having seen before. All but a handful of people had come to testify in support of the Universal Paid Leave Bill. They ran the gamut in age, gender,...

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It's Time to Ask, Why Wouldn't You Support Paid Leave?

(17) Comments | Posted February 4, 2016 | 7:55 AM

In his recent State of the State address, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo spoke not just as a political leader but as a son still grieving the loss of his father.

"I have kicked myself every day that I didn't spend more time with my father at that end...

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The Intended Consequences of Paid Leave

(18) Comments | Posted January 13, 2016 | 7:45 PM

It's as predictable as the terrible twos: Any time groups try to pass a progressive workplace policy, opponents warn of the unintended consequences to jobs and businesses. That has certainly been the case with proposals to establish a family and medical leave insurance fund.

The...

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Paid Family Leave: From Political Talking Point to Serious Election Issue

(1) Comments | Posted October 12, 2015 | 8:32 AM

The online headline said it best: "DC could become best place to have a baby, be sick, or have parents."

We may not all bear or raise children, but we all have parents or partners or other loved ones who occasionally need care from us, and we are...

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What It Will Take to End Sexual Assault

(0) Comments | Posted September 29, 2015 | 5:22 PM

What do Lady Gaga, President Obama, and the head of Harvard University have in common?

They're all speaking out to stop sexual assault -- and not a moment too soon.

The headlines call attention to the problem on college campuses: "Survey: More than 1 in 5 female undergrads...

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Paid Sick Days Would Move Women Closer to Equality

(0) Comments | Posted August 27, 2015 | 1:00 PM

August 26 marked the 95th anniversary of women's suffrage, enshrined in the 19th amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Many describe this as the date women were "granted the right to vote." Others prefer to say it's when women "won the right to vote," recognizing the decades of struggle it took...

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New Report Signals National Emergency for Families

(0) Comments | Posted August 21, 2015 | 2:54 PM

The United States is facing an epidemic with devastating consequences for mothers and infants. According to a new report, nearly one in four mothers, most of them low-wage, may be returning to work within two weeks after giving birth. Many others who take more time to heal and...

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Scott Walker: A Threat to Democracy

(380) Comments | Posted July 22, 2015 | 4:19 PM

Four years ago, I was among tens of thousands of Wisconsinites who made their way to Madison every weekend to march against Scott Walker and his attacks on public education and on unions. We were all ages, ethnicities, political persuasions, chanting: "This is what democracy looks like!" Homemade signs sprouted...

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Mission Possible -- and Necessary, and Long Overdue

(1) Comments | Posted May 13, 2015 | 1:56 PM

If we listened to corporate lobbyists and conservative politicians, we'd spend our time dodging imaginary chunks of falling sky. Make sure all workers can earn paid sick days? Higher wages and equal pay? Protections for pregnant workers and an insurance fund so they and their partners have income when they...

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A Mother's Day Wish: 21st Century Workplace Policies

(0) Comments | Posted May 9, 2015 | 2:03 PM

My husband normally doesn't participate in the media interviews I do. But three decades ago, when our kids were two and five, a conservative woman wrote an op-ed in the local paper declaring all problems in the family, from alcoholism to teenage suicide, were due to mothers working outside the...

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Senator Patty Murray: A Champion for Paid Sick Days

(0) Comments | Posted April 29, 2015 | 1:01 PM

The Healthy Families Act has a new Senate sponsor, Senator Patty Murray, and she's proving to be not just a backer but a champion for paid sick days. A few weeks ago, Sen. Murray surprised many observers by introducing a non-binding budget amendment calling for workers to earn...

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Philadelphia Paid Sick Days: Anatomy of a Win

(0) Comments | Posted February 18, 2015 | 5:19 PM

Last week, Philadelphia became the 20th location in the U.S. to enact a law guaranteeing that workers can earn paid sick days. It's the third time City Council has passed such a measure, but the first time the mayor will sign it. This third time has...

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Preserving Democracy in Pennsylvania

(0) Comments | Posted October 21, 2014 | 9:55 AM

It had all the trappings of an ALEC-backed attack on democracy: Push out a bill prohibiting local governments from passing workplace protections in their own communities. If all else failed, tack the measure onto some popular bill as an amendment and hope the supporters of that bill would want it...

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Respect the Bump Gets Results as Well as Respect

(2) Comments | Posted September 29, 2014 | 12:16 PM

Girshriela Green got involved the day someone called saying he wanted to make a change at Walmart - the corporation that had left her seriously injured from overwork and seriously underpaid. "I was sitting at home in a neck brace," she said, "going, how did I land here - I...

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Yes On 4 in Massachusetts!

(0) Comments | Posted September 23, 2014 | 4:49 AM

People who will benefit from earned sick time in Massachusetts -- ballot initiative 4 -- are greeting activists enthusiastically at the door. They're folks like Timothy Chouinard, a factory worker in Falls River who told them, "I knew you guys were going to stop. I'm the typical person...

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Big Win in California, But More to Do

(14) Comments | Posted September 10, 2014 | 5:42 PM

Six and a half million Californians will have reason to celebrate today after Governor Jerry Brown signs the Healthy Families, Healthy Workplaces Act (AB 1522). For 44 percent of the state's population who don't earn a single paid sick day, this simple act will move them a step...

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FMLA Turns 21: Dare to Imagine the World We Deserve

(0) Comments | Posted August 5, 2014 | 12:42 PM

Twenty-one. This number has come to symbolize adulthood. It means good luck in cards. But when it comes to the Family and Medical Leave Act, twenty-one stands for "too damn long" -- too little progress over too many years.

On August 5, 1993, Congress implemented the Family and Medical Leave...

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