2014 Annual Conference

Re:Gender, formerly National Council for Research on Women, and the Center for the Education of Women at the University of Michigan hosted "Women and Economic Security: Changing Policy and Practice" in Ann Arbor from May 14-16, 2014.

This 3-day interdisciplinary, multi-sector conference focused on identifying and combating barriers that women living in poverty face as they seek economic security and mobility, and drilled down on the precarity of low-wage workers. It covered everything from tipped workers as they struggle to get employers to treat them fairly and with respect to worker centers' efforts to help low-wage workers understand relevant laws and their rights. In addition, a range of policy recommendations were generated during the conference's breakout sessions and were then provided to Michigan elected officials.

Highlights included:

  • A presentation by Saru Jayaraman, Co-Founder and Co-Director of the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United (ROC-United) and Director of the Food Labor Research Center at University of California, Berkeley, on the challenges faced by tipped minimum wage workers and information about the 2014 ROC National Diners' Guide to Ethical Eating, which includes ways for consumers to encourage improved wages and working conditions for the nation’s restaurant workforce
  • A presentation by Cindy Estrada,Vice President, United Auto Workers, on the state of unions and how their decline is reflected in the decline of the middle class
  • There were several thought-provoking breakout sessions, including one on pay issues, moderated by Re:Gender President Aine Duggan and facilitated by Re:Gender Vice President for Programs Gail Cooper and Policy & Research Analyst Rosa Cho, that featured panelists Kim Bobo, Executive Director, Interfaith Worker Justice, and Sarah Jane Glynn, Associate Director for Women’s Economic Policy, Center for American Progress, discussing how issues such as wage theft and gender pay inequity, affect both men and women, yet women disproportionately experience these issues in the workplace. Kim highighted the good work of worker centers, while Sarah Jane presented research on the issues.