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Senate GOPs Make Tactical Move in Allowing Fair Pay Language

Some form of the Paycheck Fairness Act has been around for 15 years, and it will likely linger on the Hill for much longer.

by
Bill Straub

Bio

March 27, 2013 - 12:01 am
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Proponents see the Paycheck Fairness Act as the logical follow-up to the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, which holds the distinction of being the first bill Obama signed into law. Ledbetter allows an individual to file a pay discrimination lawsuit beyond the 180-day statute of limitations established in a U.S. Supreme Court decision, essentially providing those who felt cheated with greater access to the courts.

The Paycheck Fairness Act seeks to strengthen and extend the provisions contained in the Equal Pay Act of 1963, the first law that declared it illegal for women to be paid less than men for performing the same job.

Regardless, proponents of the Mikulski bill insist that inequities persist. A research paper released in October 2012 by the American Association of University Women, “Graduating to a Pay Gap,” determined that women receive 82 cents for every dollar paid to their male counterparts in their first year after college. The report also maintains women are paid 7 percent less than men even when they work in the same job, major in the same field, and work the same number of hours per week.

Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) reported that as a result of unequal pay practices a woman loses an average of $400,000 over a lifetime of work.

Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) said Congress “must commit to passing the Paycheck Fairness Act now to take another major step in ensuring equal pay for equal work.”

“Today, women are paid only 77 cents to every dollar made by men,” Schakowsky said. “And for women of color, that number falls even lower. African-American women receive 68 cents and Hispanic women 59 cents to every dollar earned by men. This pay disparity not only affects women during their careers, but follows them into retirement as they receive lower pensions and Social Security benefits based on receiving lower wages than they deserved.”

The American Civil Liberties Union is among a host of progressive groups pressing for the measure.

“Fifty years after the signing of the Equal Pay Act, unacceptable disparities in what men and women earn for the same work persists,” said Deborah J. Vagins, co-chair of the National Paycheck Fairness Coalition. “In addition, many workers can still be fired for asking about their wages at work.”

The act, Vagins said, “would give workers the help they need to be treated fairly, including strengthening remedies for discrimination against women and protecting employees’ jobs when they seek information about their wages. If you don’t know about discrimination, you can’t do anything about it. This ongoing injustice is particularly troubling when you consider that nearly 40 percent of women are primary breadwinners in their households.”

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Washington freelancer Bill Straub is former White House correspondent for Scripps Howard News Service.

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All Comments   (11)
All Comments   (11)
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The left continues the delusion that gender or race are the only
factors in employment and pay. The paycheck fairness act that
allowed salaries to be public would actually hurt employment prospects for women. Why risk being sued for pay disparity when
it's easier to hire men instead? Besides there are valid reasons
for differences in pay that cannot be determined from job title
or description alone. In general women can be less desirable to hire because they get pregnant; have primary care for children and home; work fewer hours a week; have shorter careers; and are less likely to be available for travel or put their careers ahead of their
families. The government needs to stop feeding the trial lawyers
at the expense of those it means to help. Would a woman's pay
be constrained by what a man is paid?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Tell me, does this legislation also require that men be paid the same as women for equal work, as well? Or is it OK for women to make more than men for the same work? Let me guess -- it doesn't work both ways. That would be too rational, coming from our elected lawmakers.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
How about "fair pay" for the private sector?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
“Today, women are paid only 77 cents to every dollar made by men,”

if this was, in fact, true - and there is plenty of evidence to say it is not - please explain why I would ever hire a man. In this day and age, my wife says any woman being paid less has only herself to blame. Negotiate for what you are worth, just like men do.

This is nothing but feel-good legislation with no greater aim than political brownie points, mostly the continuation of the ridiculous 'war on wimminz' that Repubs are allegedly waging. It pretends that men and women are no different, with exactly the same goals and workplace aspirations.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The Senate GOP capitulated to supremacist radical feminists when they reauthorized VAWA, despite VAWA's notorious documented problems, anti-constitutional processes, and discrimination against male victims of violence.

What gives you any indication they won't capitulate again?

If the GOP wants to keep pandering the "woman vote" they'd better hope Emily's List and NOW start donating money to them because men are leaving the plantation.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Can we please stop talking about the Republicans' stance on "availability of contraceptives"? As far as I know, no Republican is blocking the doorway of a CVS or Rite Aid to keep women from purchasing birth control pills with their own money.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
This is just a boondoggle for lawyers, who will make employers "prove" that any differential in pay between one worker and another is "justified." Employers should be free to pay whatever they and their employees agree to, and employees should be free to find new jobs if they believe, for whatever reason, their contributions are not being properly rewarded. Letting the courts decide these matters is going to be unfair to all and extremely costly.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
This proposal is based on the idea that we can litigate our way to a perfect society -- or bankrupt business in the effort.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
What is not discussed is that women also want to be able to come and go to have kids, take off when they're kids are sick and miss far more work than their male counter parts. Why should a woman make an equal salary for an unequal effort. Who are they? Obama?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"A research paper released in October 2012 by the American Association of University Women, “Graduating to a Pay Gap,” determined that women receive 82 cents for every dollar paid to their male counterparts in their first year after college."

The fact that people are still touting this nonsense is enough to make me think that the only cure is SMOD.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
just you all wait until businesses find out they can hire women and minorities to do the exact same work for less $$$. won't need affirmative action laws forcing descrimination then, huh? haven't we learned yet that gov. handouts never stop, once started?

equality of outcomes is not the same thing as true equality. capitalism has a way, over time, of leveling the playing field. do sane people really believe folks hire people in their business, where they desperately need to make $$, bottom line, because they are male and males just stick together like that? yeah, right. that's it. (picture me laughing)



1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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