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Thread: President Obama signs Equal Pay for Equal Work bill

  1. #1
    Elite Member bychance's Avatar
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    Thumbs up President Obama signs Equal Pay for Equal Work bill

    ABC News: Obama Signs Equal Pay for Equal Work Bill

    You can watch the video ABC News


    Calling pay equity not a women's issue but a family issue, President Obama today signed a new bill seeking to end decades-long pay disparities between men and women.

    President Obama signs the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration Act.

    Joined in the East Room of the White House by Nancy Pelosi, the first female speaker of the House, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, first lady Michelle Obama and Lilly Ledbetter, the 70-year-old tire plant supervisor for whom the bill is named, Obama said it was "fitting that the very first bill I signed -- the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration Act -- is upholding one of this nation's founding principles: That we are all created equal and each deserve a chance to pursue our own version of happiness."

    The equal-pay bill ends a 2007 U.S. Supreme Court decision saying that employees had only 180 days to file pay-discrimination lawsuits and is expected to make it easier for workers to sue for decades-long discrimination.

    Ledbetter filed a 1998 suit against a Goodyear Tire Rubber Co. plant in Gadsen, Ala., after learning that men working in the same position were making more money. In 2007, the Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 vote that Ledbetter had waited too long to sue, since she brought the suit near the end of her 19-year career with the company.

    "I was initially humiliated. I felt degraded," Ledbetter has said of her feelings about the pay disparity.
    The new legislation allows lawsuits to be brought years later, as long as the alleged pay disparity is continuing.
    The new legislation isn't limited to gender-based discrimination. It amends the 1964 Civil Rights Act and also applies to discrimination based on race, religion, national origin, disability or age.

    "In signing this bill today, I intend to send a clear message that making our economy work means making sure it works for everyone," Obama told the approximately 150 people assembled, including members of Congress and women's and labor groups that have long been advocates of the bill.

    The gaggle of senators and congressman, almost all Democrats, stood on the dais of the East Room: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.; and House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. Sens. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., Dick Durbin, D-Ill., Patty Murray, D-Wash., Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., and Pat Leahy, D-Vt. Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., and Reps. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., and Rob Andrews, D-N.J.

    "This is what change looks like" quipped Mikulski, the chief Senate sponsor of the bill, to the crowd of advocates.

    Two Republicans were in attendance at the event as well -- Maine's GOP Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins.

  2. #2
    Elite Member Fluffy's Avatar
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    I'm glad this one got through but there's still another equal pay bill stalled in the Senate.
    As One Pay Equity Bill Becomes Law, Another Languishes

    By Elana Schor - January 29, 2009, 10:44AM

    At this very moment, President Obama is preparing to sign the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act into law. It's an admirable bill that remedies a regrettable 2007 Supreme Court ruling which had constrained the time limit for women to file pay-discrimination claims against their employers. Media coverage of today's White House ceremony depicts the Ledbetter signing as a major victory for gender pay equity. But a much broader bill addressing pay discrimination -- the Paycheck Fairness Act -- faces a mysteriously uncertain future in the Senate, where it has yet to receive a floor vote despite approval in the House last year and again this year.

    What's the holdup? And will the (well-deserved) hoopla over the Ledbetter victory obscure the facts behind the inaction on Paycheck Fairness?

    When the House passed the Ledbetter measure, which deals narrowly with the Supreme Court ruling in Ledbetter v. Goodyear, it combined that bill with the Paycheck Fairness Act (PFA), which would refine the 1963 Equal Pay Act in several major ways.

    In addition to making it easier for women to file class action suits alleging pay discrimination, the PFA would require employers to meet a burden of proof when alleging that unequal pay for female workers is justified by a "factor other than sex." Women would also become eligible under the bill for compensatory damages when they prevail in wage discrimination suits. Before his election last year, Obama was a co-sponsor of the PFA, which was championed by now-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

    So now that Obama's in the White House, and Democrats have greater majorities in the House and Senate, one would think that the PFA had a better chance of making it into law today. The Hartford Courant reported last week that Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), the bill's House-side champion, expects it to be passed by springtime.

    But in Washington, issues often get starved of attention after one victory is achieved and a resting-on-laurels mentality sets in. And we know who's rooting for the PFA to fall by the wayside: K Street.

    In 2007 testimony "strongly oppos[ing]" the PFA, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce suggested that pay inequity exists because of women's "personal choice" and their propensity to take on parenting duties:
    The proponents of the Act have not cited any evidence establishing that the existing wage gap is caused by employer discrimination. ... As labor economists and feminist scholars alike have proven and observed, the existing wage gap between men and women is attributable to a number of factors ... includ[ing]: personal choice; women's disproportionate responsibilities as caregivers and other family obligations; education; self-selection for promotions and the attendant status and monetary awards; and other "human capital" factors.
    Late Update: In its statement on the Ledbetter signing, the ACLU made sure not to forget Paycheck Fairness. From counsel Deborah J. Vagins:
    The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act rights the wrong done by the Supreme Court in Ledbetter v. Goodyear. With this law, people who have suffered pay discrimination can once again seek vindication without facing unduly and unfairly restrictive deadlines. Now that Congress and the President have restored access to the courthouse, it is time to close the loopholes that make wage discrimination possible by passing the Paycheck Fairness Act.
    Later Timeframe Update: Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), the Ledbetter bill's champion and a potential new leader on the Paycheck Fairness Act, has said the Senate could take action on the PFA as soon as the spring.

    Jocelyn Samuels, vice president for education and employment at the National Women's Law Center, agreed. "There are any number of champions for fair pay in the Senate who, I think, recognize that while the Ledbetter bill is a fabulous down payment on ensuring pay equity for women, we need to do more than restore prior law [as the Ledbetter bill does] -- we need to move it forward," she told me.

    Asked about the opposition from the Chamber and other employer groups, Samuels stressed the importance of educating senators and the public about the realistic possibility for punitive damages awarded under the PFA.

    "Some of the concerns that have been expressed about the bill have been really misinformed," she said. Under the PFA, women who can meet the burden of proof for wage discrimination based on gender are allowed the same opportunity to collect court damages as those subjected to racial or ethnic discrimination.

    Kim Gandy, president of the National Organization for Women, said the House packaged the Ledbetter bill with the PFA "for a reason"; namely, the desire to use the momentum of the better-known former to help propel the lesser-known latter measure to passage. "It's a little harder without that moving train," she added, "but there's no reason they can't or won't pursue it [in the Senate]."

    TPMDC | Talking Points Memo | As One Pay Equity Bill Becomes Law, Another Languishes



  3. #3
    Silver Member betagrl's Avatar
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    It's so freaking awesome to have a President who actually gets shit done.

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    ^^

    Word.

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    Elite Member cmmdee's Avatar
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    You get 'em, O!


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    Elite Member Quazar's Avatar
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    It's amazing that you actually have to have legislation for this in the first place.

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