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One Year After Ledbetter: Work Still Needed on Pay Equity

Posted on January 29, 2010 | in Labor News | by
 
   

One year ago today, working people celebrated a milestone in the battle for pay equity when the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act was signed into law.

The law corrected the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision that Ledbetter, a 20-year employee of the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co., had sued too late when she discovered her pay was far below that of men doing similar work. President Obama signed the bill into law Jan. 29, 2009.

In observance of the anniversary, Ledbetter, writing on Alternet, said there is still work to do:

We need to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act. This bill gives teeth to the protections against pay discrimination. And women, who are still shortchanged in the workplace, deserve just that. The bill would empower women to negotiate for equal pay, create stronger incentives for employers to follow the law, and strengthen federal outreach and enforcement efforts. It would also strengthen penalties for equal pay violations.

In his State of the Union address this week, Obama promised to gain pay equity for working women.

In a video (above) with Ledbetter, House Education and Labor Chairman George Miller (D-Calif.) said that by passing the Ledbetter Act,

Congress was willing to make this affirmation of a fundamental and basic statement [that] you don’t get to discriminate against people in their pay, in their work based on these arbitrary standards of gender, race, ethnicity.  

In a statement, AFT President Randi Weingarten praised Ledbetter:

The AFT has always fought for fair pay, especially for many members who work in education and healthcare—jobs traditionally held by women and, therefore, historically underpaid. We commend Lilly Ledbetter for her unfaltering commitment to fairness and equality for all workers.

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