Getting on the right side of history: supporting the Paycheck Fairness Act

Vice President Joe Biden Women in the United States make 77 cents for every dollar that men earn for the same work.

And even though women won the right to make as much as their male counterparts decades ago, weak federal enforcement has prevented equal pay from actually occurring in many workplaces. And for many women, the consequences of earning less than their male counterparts can be life-altering, like not having enough money to retire without becoming an economic burden to their families.

The American Rights at Work staff made a field trip across D.C. yesterday to listen to some impassioned speeches about the Paycheck Fairness Act at a White House Middle Class Task Force event.  Awaiting a vote by the Senate, the Paycheck Fairness Act requires employers to provide a legitimate reason for paying women and men performing the same job different salaries.

Who gave those impassioned speeches, you ask? Vice President Joe Biden, Attorney General Eric Holder, Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis, Senior Advisor to the President Valerie Jarrett, White House Domestic Policy Council Director Melody Barnes, Chair of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Jacqueline Berrien, and equal pay activist Lilly Ledbetter.  With that list, it’s clear that the White House is on the frontlines of the fight for gender equality in the workplace.

Yeah, we were a little star struck by all the famous faces.  But their message came through loud and clear: The Paycheck Fairness Act isn’t just important for women, but for all working families.

“Women make up nearly half of all workers on U.S. payrolls, and two-thirds of families with children are headed either by two working parents or by a single parent who works,” Biden said. “Yet, the workplace has, for the most part, not changed to reflect these realities – and it must.  Closing the gender pay gap, helping parents keep their jobs while balancing family responsibilities, and increasing workplace flexibility – these are not only women’s issues, they are issues of middle class economic security.”

There is no reason women should be making less than their male counterparts, even though the Chamber of Commerce insists that the passing of the Paycheck Fairness Act would “burden America’s businesses with frivolous litigation during already trying economic times.”

Frivolous?  Really? Is the desire of a single mother to pay for her child’s college tuition really frivolous?

Want to watch a portion of Biden’s speech?  Check it out at CNN.

Check out the full list of recommendations to enforce the Paycheck Fairness Act.

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, July 21st, 2010 at 11:48 am and is filed under General, Labor Law Reform. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

6 Responses to “Getting on the right side of history: supporting the Paycheck Fairness Act”

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