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Fair Pay and Paycheck Fairness - Not Welcome in Alabama

by: mooncat

Mon Jan 12, 2009 at 14:46:00 PM CST


Bobby Bright and Parker Griffith both voted against the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and the Paycheck Fairness Act on Friday.  If you haven't called and/or emailed their offices to question their votes, please do so today.  These freshman Congressmen are feeling their way and need prompt constituent feedback to "be all that they can be."

Parker Griffith's Huntsville office phone number is 256-551-0190;  his Morgan County office phone number is 256-355-9400;  his Muscle Shoals office phone number is 256-381-3450; and his Capitol Hill office phone number is 202-225-4801.  Or e-mail Parker Griffith.

Bobby Bright's Montgomery office phone number is 334-277-9113 and his Washington, DC office phone number is 202-225-2901.  Or e-mail Bobby Bright.

As a previous commentor said, "If equal pay for equal work isn't a real issue, I don't know what is."  No kidding.  The bills Bright and Griffith voted NO on are about basic fairness in the workplace.  And mind you, they weren't voting with the Blue Dog caucus or anything like that -- they were freelancing on this one.  Only 5 Democrats voted NO on the Lilly Ledbetter Act and only  3 Democrats voted NO on the Paycheck Fairness act.  More information on the bills our new Congressmen opposed below the fold.

 

mooncat :: Fair Pay and Paycheck Fairness - Not Welcome in Alabama

In case you aren't familiar with these bills, Corey Boles of Dow Jones has this synopsis:

Ledbetter would put in place a six-month statute of limitations for women to sue their employer over pay discrimination. The six months would expire from the time the employees received their last pay check.

It would overturn a separate statute of limitations imposed by a Supreme Court ruling in 2007 that stated the six-month period dated from when the employer first decided to pay the female employee less than her male counterparts.

It is named after Lilly Ledbetter, an employee with Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. (GT) in Alabama, who after nearly 20 years discovered her employer was giving better compensation to her male colleagues.

She sued, and the case made it to the Supreme Court, which ruled against Ledbetter in 2007.

The second bill would stiffen penalties for employers engaging in gender-based pay discrimination, and provide protection to employees who share salary information with colleagues.

And who is this Lilly Ledbetter the first bill is named for?

                  

Lilly Ledbetter is an Alabama grandmother who became a crusader for equal rights relatively late in life.

She spent nearly 20 years working in a tire plant before an anonymous note informed her that her male colleagues were being paid far more money for the same work.

Eventually, Ledbetter sued her employer, Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., for pay discrimination. She won $3.8 million from a jury. A judge reduced the award to $360,000 and a federal appeals court overturned the verdict altogether.

But what really elevated Ledbetter's cause to the national stage was a 5-4 Supreme Court ruling in 2007 that sided with Goodyear.

...

For years, Ledbetter had no idea she earned less than her male counterparts, [Ruth Bader] Ginsburg said. "In our view, this court does not comprehend, or is indifferent to, the insidious way in which women can be victims of pay discrimination," Ginsburg said, urging Congress to amend civil rights law to allow for lawsuits like Ledbetter's.

Lilly Ledbetter was in a Catch-22 situation -- the Supreme Court said she waited too long to file the complaint, that she only had 6 months from the time the pay discrimination first occurred.  Unfortunately, she didn't even find out she was being paid thousands less than her male counterparts until the discrimination had been going on for many years.  The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act is a clarification of the law to reflect the original intent -- giving women redress when they have been the victim of unequal pay, no matter how long it takes them to find out about it. 

The right wing spin on these laws is that they are "gold for trial lawyers."  Seems to me that employers who are treating their employees in a fair and even-handed way have nothing to worry about.  The way to avoid EEOC complaints from employees is to make sure your business is doing the right thing to start with. 
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i'm extremely disappointed in Griffith (4.00 / 2)

I think he's got the markings of awful written all over him. Bright we pretty much new what we were going to get based on that district.

 



I sent the following to both of them (4.00 / 1)

Lesson number one: You were elected by Democrats and are expected to act like one. That includes equality for women and minorities in the workplace. Lesson number two:

That even applies in Alabama, so get straight with your conscience, Congressman, or plan on a short stay in Washington. I may not live in your district, but my opinions are heard all over the State.



Only after the last tree has been cut down. Only after the last fish has been caught. Only after the last river has been poisoned. Only then will you realize that money cannot be eaten. Cree Nation Tribal Prophecy

Your opinions are heard and respected all over the state (0.00 / 0)

My message was slightly wordier than yours:

...to express my extreme disappointment and anger with your decision to vote against both the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and the Paycheck Fairness Act. As a professional woman, I feel personally betrayed that you were unwilling to stand up to assure a legal remedy for women who have suffered from pay discrimination.

Equal pay for equal work is a family issue. Women earning an average of 78 cents for every dollar a man earns can only provide 78% as much for their families. That is the difference between sending your kids to college or not and the difference between living in a safe neighborhood or not. In some cases it's the difference between providing enough food or not.

I can't fathom why you decided to vote against fairness for women in this fashion but I hope you will see fit to offer either a good explanation or an apology before you ask me for support again.

I don't expect a satisfactory explanation is even possible, unless they want to plead "I accidentally pushed the wrong button," but I will consider an apology, if future behavior is better. 



Work harder and work smarter!

[ Parent ]
Very nicely done, mooncat (4.00 / 1)
I expect you might get a response.  I most likely will not, since my interests are already being adequately protected by Jo Bonner. (snarkle)

Only after the last tree has been cut down. Only after the last fish has been caught. Only after the last river has been poisoned. Only then will you realize that money cannot be eaten. Cree Nation Tribal Prophecy

[ Parent ]
I urged Bobby not to forget where he came from. (4.00 / 2)
I made mine a personal note on my shock over his vote. I urged him not to make more mistakes like this one. I also reiterated that half of his constituents were females. He must think all women belong in the kitchen, barefoot and pregnant. I expect a response since my email was personal and informal. He will tell me how right he was. He is a stubborn man. I shut up during the election, but the gloves are off if a good democrat can be found to run against him.

Chances are, more than half his constituents are women (0.00 / 0)
Per the 2000 census, 51.5% of Alabamians are female.  And based on exit polling, I would expect considerably more than half of the voters who put Bright in office are women.

Work harder and work smarter!

[ Parent ]
Democrats and women (4.00 / 1)

And based on exit polling, I would expect considerably more than half of the voters who put Bright in office are women.

Wmen are statistically one of the Democratic party's core constituencies. More women vote Democratic than republican. This holds true across the racial spectrum. However, white men are a core constituency of the gop. It seems Bright and Griffith were satisfying the gop constituency on this one.



"Life is divided into three terms - that which was, which is, and which will be. Let us learn from the past to profit by the present, and from the present to live better in the future." - William Wordsworth

[ Parent ]
I hope not (4.00 / 1)

I surely hope they didn't think that voting no on these bills was trying to bow to their gop bretheren. If that's the case then they are sorely mistaken and they are just completely out of touch. Its not like anyone is asking for special treatment, just the SAME treatment across the board.

And any man against that, gop or otherwise, is a bigoted fool.



"Speak when you are angry--and you will make the best speech you'll ever regret." - Laurence J. Peter

[ Parent ]
The gop position (4.00 / 1)

I surely hope they didn't think that voting no on these bills was trying to bow to their gop bretheren. If that's the case then they are sorely mistaken and they are just completely out of touch.

The gop position on this legislation has been that it's a burden on business and that it gives women too much of a time frame to make their case. They want it to be discrimination that falls within a 180-day window, instead of discrimination that has been ongoing for a long time.

 Lilly Ledbetter had just recently learned that she had been being paid tens of thousands of dollars less than the male supervisors at her workplace for years. She won her lawsuit but it was overturned by the republican-controlled US supreme court, citing that if she was being discriminated against, she should have brought the suit within 180 days of the start of their discrimination, not years later. She did not know she was being discriminated against in the first 180 days, and thus could not have been expected to file a lawsuit.

 The republicans want to keep that ruling as law. That ruling is what the Democrats in congress are trying to change. The stance that Bobby Bright and Parker Griffith took was a gop stance.



"Life is divided into three terms - that which was, which is, and which will be. Let us learn from the past to profit by the present, and from the present to live better in the future." - William Wordsworth

[ Parent ]
Addendum (4.00 / 1)

Lilly Ledbetter had just recently learned that she had been being paid tens of thousands of dollars less than the male supervisors at her workplace for years...

 

should read: Lilly Ledbetter, a female supervisor, had just recently learned that she had been being paid tens of thousands of dollars less than the male supervisors at her workplace for years.



"Life is divided into three terms - that which was, which is, and which will be. Let us learn from the past to profit by the present, and from the present to live better in the future." - William Wordsworth

[ Parent ]
Understand what this is about. (4.00 / 1)
.
The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act is about being able to enforce the law.  

It's amazing (or, perhaps, not) that many or most of those who harp on the need for "personal responsibility" and "accountability" being a good thing are the same ones who would do all they can to allow those who violate Federal Law (i.e., employers who practice wage discrimination against women) get off scott-free through loopholes and nefarious practices.

We should launch a war against double standards.

bg
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