Ellen Bravo

Ellen Bravo, former director of 9to5, coordinates the Family Values @ Work and is the author of Taking on the Big Boys.

Recent Articles

Arizona Labor Activists Preserve Local Control

Conservative state lawmakers lose gambit to scrap decade-old law allowing municipal governments to offer better employment benefits than the ones mandated by the state

AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin
Labor activists in Arizona fought to uphold the law, and this time, the law won. In some areas of the country, conservative state legislators are trying to pre-empt municipal labor regulations on issues like paid sick days. Arizona legislators passed a measure last year , HB 2579, that bans towns, cities, and counties from requiring employers to provide “additional employee benefits.” Conservative Republicans, who constitute a majority in both chambers of the Arizona legislature, trampled on their own state constitution and a 2006 law passed by voter initiative that allows local governments to pass higher minimum wage rates and other types of employment benefits than the state guarantees. Fortunately, 32 state legislators and city council members from three cities joined the United Food and Commercial Workers to stand up for working families. They asked a Superior Court judge to strike down the preemption law—and on September 8, the judge did just that. A home-rule...

The Architecture of Work and Family

We hear a lot of talk in the united states today about "family values" and "personal responsibility." And yet being a good family member here can cost you your job or a career opportunity, or imperil your health and security. Conversely, being a conscientious employee can jeopardize a loved one, destroy a relationship (or prevent you from forming one), add to the health or learning problems of a dependent child, force an aging parent into a nursing home, or create a public-health hazard. Choices Nobody Should Have to Make Consider these examples: Robbie, a member of the organization 9to5 in Milwaukee, lost her fast-food job when her son called to say that his younger brother had been hit by a car. "Leave and you're fired," the boss told her. Robbie pleaded with her manager to see the urgency of the situation, but he refused. She left anyway, and took the boy to the emergency room, where the hospital staff determined that he had a broken arm. Julie was in a much higher-paying job than...