Speak Out for Equal Pay
June 3, 2012
Judy Quaglia Belanger, 9to5 Action Network
The Attleboro (Massachusettts) Sun Chronicle
Next week, a vote is scheduled on the Paycheck Fairness Act when the Senate returns from its week-long recess. Two years ago, a Republican filibuster prevented the Senate from passing the bill. If the GOP strikes down this bill again, it will be on record — along with a series of other “female-focussed measures” blocked by Republicans, including issues on abortion, health care access, and domestic violence.
On average, women still earn less than men–77 cents to every dollar. A law is needed to help equalize those rates. The Paycheck Fairness Act would deter wage discimination by closing loopholes in the Equal Pay Act, and barring retaliation against workers who disclose their own wages to co-workers.
Without this bill, employers can penalize and even fire employees for talking about their salaries. This practice leaves workers in the dark, preventing them from even finding out about pay discrimination. The rejection of this bill means employers can pay unfair wages and even penalize workers who try to learn what their co-workers make.
Pay equity stimulates the economy and reduces poverty. It also reduces stress-related problems and health care costs. The World Economic Forum estimates that closing the employment gender gap could increase US GDP by up to 9 percent. 9 to 5, National Association of Working Women encourages those supporting equal pay to take two minutes to tell your Senator to support equal pay by co-sponsoring the Paycheck Fairness Act.
Judy Quaglia Belanger, 9to5 Activist Network