Opponents to President Obama's efforts to put millions of dollars in the pockets of people who've been working overtime for no pay want you to worry about business again. Conservative business groups have responded with all-too-familiar claims of the harm Obama's plan will bring to their members. House Speaker John Boehner had this to say: "The president's policies are making it difficult for employers to expand employment. And until the president's policies get out of the way, employers are going to continue to sit on their hands." It's time to stop listening to endless repetition of the narrow-minded view that rules and laws should not be changed if they pose even a whiff of difficulty for business. More often than not, it's a bogus argument and a selfish one at that.
Racial minority women ‒- and particularly recent immigrant women ‒- have often been employed in informal labor arrangements that included extraordinarily long days, working on holidays, wages well below the minimum wage and absolutely no access to recourse if they were treated unfairly. Evelyn Coke's victory moves us one step away from that history.
For the women who do this work, this has meant decades of physical and emotional labor that has been undervalued and underpaid. The work itself is considered "unskilled" despite the fact that most of us would have no clue how to safely move a 90-year-old from bed to chair or help a person with Alzheimer's avoid fear and frustration.