More than 12 million women and men in the United States experience domestic violence, sexual violence or stalking by intimate partners every year - that's an estimated 24 people per minute. And while the physical and emotional harm survivors suffer is severe and grievous, the damage does not stop there.
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 all susceptible to an illness or injury that can turn our lives and finances topsy-turvy. We all need affordable time for caregiving - and most don't have it.
This October, it is time we recognize the intersection of domestic violence and work-life issues. An effective national policy on domestic violence must understand the impact this epidemic has on the workplace, including the problems for both employees and employers, some of which result from the structure of the workplace itself.
There are plenty of things wrong with the labor movement. It can be overly bureaucratic. There are corrupt officials in many unions. But there should be no doubt that the country is much better off as a result of the labor movement and prospects for progressive change would be brighter if it were stronger.
This widely reported "official" number overlooks the millions of people unemployed for more than a year, nor does it count those who are working part-time and looking for full-time work. The Department of Labor monthly report which includes people working part-time and looking for full-time work shows the real rate of unemployment.
Our opponents refer to paid sick days as "fringe benefits," an "extra" handed out by employers when they can afford it. But the reality is, sick time should be a basic part of compensation, a minimum standard that keeps employers from docking workers' pay or kicking them out of a job for being a good parent or following doctor's orders.
Many Los Angeles workers with no paid sick days are front-line service workers, often low-paid, who are in close contact with the public. Because they cannot afford to lose pay or risk being fired for taking time off when they or a family member is sick, many go to work when they should be home resting.
My opponent described her volunteer work at a local school and how angry she was at the mothers who didn't come to pick up their kids when the school called to say they were sick. "I'm angry, too," I said. "But why are you angry at the moms and not at the boss who would fire them or dock their pay if they answered that call?"