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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

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

(408) 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

(15) 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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Paid Leave: The Best Gift for Father's Day

(0) Comments | Posted June 14, 2014 | 2:45 PM

"Do I abandon my family or abandon the job that feeds my family?" That's how one man described the dilemma many fathers face in America today.

For a long time in our culture, being a good dad meant providing for your kids. But it also means --...

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Paid Sick Leave for North Carolina's Women -- and Men

(0) Comments | Posted April 11, 2014 | 1:52 PM

This post was co-Authored by NC State Rep. Alma Adams.

When women succeed, America succeeds. This is not just an aspirational vision for our boardrooms and classrooms across the country. For many families, it speaks to a reality they face every day, especially given that two-thirds of working women are...

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Another Boost for the Paid Sick Days Movement

(5) Comments | Posted February 28, 2014 | 1:03 PM

More than a quarter million New Yorkers got a big boost this week when the City Council voted 45 to 6 to expand its paid sick days law. In a city where "a lot of people are one paycheck away from disaster," as Mayor de Blasio put it...

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States Power the Movement for New Family-friendly Standards

(0) Comments | Posted February 4, 2014 | 3:59 PM

Why are opponents so concerned about local communities deciding what's best for the health and welfare of their residents?

Because these naysayers, fueled by lobbyists and financing from mega corporations, know such reforms lead to change statewide and nationally. Local wins provide living proof that minimum standards...

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Shriver Report and Paid Leave: How Women Are Pushing Back From the Brink

(0) Comments | Posted January 17, 2014 | 7:55 AM

Of all of the things working women need to get onto more secure economic footing, paid leave tops the list, according to a newly released report titled "The Shriver Report: A Woman's Nation Pushes Back from the Brink." The women surveyed believe no other single policy would do...

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Clinton, de Blasio Speak Out for Paid Sick Days

(0) Comments | Posted January 6, 2014 | 11:00 PM

2014 promises another string of wins for policies like paid sick days that boost the economic security of families and of the economy overall. Recently two political leaders reminded us of the urgency of our task.

On New Year's Day, Bill de Blasio spoke to a large audience...

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DOMA Ruling Expands FMLA Protections

(2) Comments | Posted July 18, 2013 | 4:38 PM

When the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act June 26, the justices opened a number of doors -- including extending the protection of the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to many same-sex married couples, so they are no longer forced to choose between caring for...

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Young Immigration Activist Celebrates a Win

(9) Comments | Posted July 18, 2013 | 11:48 AM

I met Katherine Figueroa on Mother's Day in 2010, when I went to Phoenix with We Belong Together, a delegation of feminist activists to talk with women and children on the front lines of Sheriff Arpaio's attacks on immigrants.

I heard her speak twice that weekend, once to our group...

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