Tag Archives: equal pay

Keeping the Ladies in Waiting: The Paycheck Fairness Act

Woman's List 2On January 23, 2013 — yes, that’s 2013 — Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT3) introduced H.R. 377, the Paycheck Fairness Act.  The House Subcommittee on Workforce Protections has jurisdiction over bills of this nature, and by April 2013 the bill hadn’t moved.  Supporters of the bill filed a discharge petition. As of Tuesday, April 1, 2014 the petition to get a vote on the bill got its 197th signature. (113-1) It is 21 signatures shy of the 218 required.

Discharge petitions are a strategy of questionable value, since depending upon how such maneuvers are analyzed the success rate ranges from about 2% to 9% of all such attempts. [WaPo]

Nor has the idea met with enough support in the U.S. Senate.  As the last signature was being appended to the House Discharge Petition 113-1 in April 2014, Republicans in the Senate were blocking consideration of a companion bill.  [Nation] S. 2199, Senator Barbara Mikulski’s (D-MD) Paycheck Fairness Act was blocked when Senate Republicans refused to lift their filibuster on a 53-44 vote. [rc 103] Senator Dean Heller (R-NV) was among those voting to sustain the filibuster.

Republican opposition to the Paycheck Fairness legislation appears to be a masterpiece of ideological spin.  We, announce the members of the GOP, are really supportive of women’s issues — but government isn’t the answer.

There was this example: “The fact is the Republicans don’t have a war on women, they have a war for women, to empower them to be something other than victims of their gender,” Mike Huckabee said at the Republican National Committee winter meeting in January.” [Nation] Huckabee offers a talking point in which any attempt to assist women (or any other group for that matter) merely serves to create a sense of ‘victimhood’ thus disparaging attempts by individuals to grab their own bootstraps at improve their own economic circumstances. It’s little more than the hoary Moral Hazard Issue, modified and transformed into an excuse to do nothing to help anyone, ever.

And this one:  “All Republicans support equal pay for equal work,” wrote Republican National Committee press secretary Kirsten Kukowski, communications director Andrea Bozek and NRSC press secretary Brook Hougesen in a memo. “And while we all know workplace discrimination still exists, we need real solutions that focus on job creation and opportunity for women.” [Nation]  This might be characterized as the Double Side Step Dance.  Oh, we’re all in favor of equal pay for equal work, but — we need more tax breaks for multi-national corporations, etc. offering more support for those elusive Job Creators.

And these: “Republicans have said that, although they support equal pay for equal work, the bill would increase civil lawsuits. They also say that the bill is unnecessary because discrimination based on gender is already illegal.” [WaPo] Ah, the recurring Republican nightmare, on display with nearly every bill which ever sought to regulate corporate behavior — It will spawn litigation.

The Lily Ledbetter Act was supposed to have done that [TNR]… except it didn’t.  Redundancy is another GOP argument for doing nothing.  The line can be summarized as, “There is no need to improve any employee protections because current statutes already provide enough protection.” This is an argument which neatly avoids the rationale set forth in the legislation which explains the necessity of the proposed improvements.  Witness, the prohibition of penalties for employees who discuss their wages, and the authority of the EEOC to collect data from employers about wages.

And finally: It’s just election year politicking. [NYT] Translation: You’re just trying to make us look bad. If so, it was successful.

So, what might disgorge the Paycheck Fairness Act (equal pay for equal work) from the Congressional bill grinder?

Get Specific:  At town hall sessions, and public Q&A events — Instead of asking “Do you, Congressman Bilgewater or Senator Sludgepump, support equal pay for equal work?” Ask them: What is wrong with prohibiting employers from penalizing employees who discuss their wages or salaries?  What is wrong with allowing the EEOC to collect data on wages and salaries from employers?

If they stammer out that those sound like good ideas, then ask “Why didn’t you support the Paycheck Fairness Act which included those two items?”  Or, if the individual is not an incumbent, ask “Will you support legislation which includes those provisions?”

Get rational: At bottom the Paycheck Fairness Act is of a piece with family finances. [Additional here]  From a previous post:

“The pay gap has some very real economic consequences.   One analysis projects that if the pay gap could be mitigated, and more women could participate in the workforce, we could add about 3 to 4% to our national economy.”

Again, specifics matter.  In Nevada, a woman earns approximately 88 cents for every dollar earned by a man.  Additionally:

“125,402 households in Nevada are headed by women. About 26 percent of those households, or 32,479 households, have incomes that fall below the poverty level. Eliminating the wage gap would provide much needed income to women whose salaries are of critical importance to them and their families.” [NatPart pdf]

Allowing a politician to pontificate about the highly generalized moral hazard of hypothetical victimhood, or rattle on about redundancy and projected litigation only serves to skirt real economic issues faced by real families.  Ask, “What would be the overall economic benefit to Nevada if the $6,319 yearly wage gap between the earnings of men and women were narrowed?”

Playing with the calculator — if only 1,000 of those households in Nevada, headed by women, were to get the same wages as their male counterparts for doing the same job, and that $6,139 gap were closed, the result would be $6,139,000 added to the aggregate demand for goods and services in this state.

Get Out and Vote.

Comments Off on Keeping the Ladies in Waiting: The Paycheck Fairness Act

Filed under Economy, equal pay, Heller, Ledbetter Decision, Nevada economy, Politics, Republicans, Women's Issues, Womens' Rights

Roundup

Cattle RoundupNevada’s mental health care “system” which seems to garner more really bad press than actually provide services to alleviate suffering, has now earned us a law suit from San Francisco for “patient dumping.” Nevada Progressive has a summary piece that updates the issue, and reviews the background.

Remember when Representative Joe Heck (R-NV3) was all a-flutter about Democratic members of Congress using franking privileges to send mail to their constituents?  (2010) Who has spent the most sending mail? Now we discover, in the Nevada Viewwho is the King of Mail? Surprise, surprise… it’s Representative Joe Heck! Who’da thunk it.

Well, here’s a victory for the NRA — Blind and want to carry a firearm in public in Iowa — there’s a permit for that. “I’m not an expert in vision,” Delaware Sheriff John LeClere said. “At what point do vision problems have a detrimental effect to fire a firearm? If you see nothing but a blurry mass in front of you, then I would say you probably shouldn’t be shooting something.” at Crooks and Liars.  What could possibly go wrong?   Interesting posts and pieces on the Colorado recall elections at the Washington Post, and the Huffington Post.   Perhaps a lesson to be drawn is: Numbers are nice, but passionate ‘numbers’ are better in off year elections.   Before drawing conclusions, please take a look at “What the Colorado Recall Doesn’t Prove,” MMFA.

The Nevada Rural Democratic Caucus notes that there is now less than 40 days  left in this pathetic Congressional session.  Guess what isn’t on the agenda?  Hint: Immigration policy reform.

Speaking of things not directly addressed, The Gavel reports a poll with the following results:

81 percent of men and 93 percent of women said public policy should address workplace challenges such as equal pay, paid sick leave, and paid maternity leave; 87 percent of women and 80 percent of men – including 83 percent of Republicans and 89 percent of Democrats – believe paid maternity leave should be required; 31 percent of women think they would be paid more if they were female;  and 20 percent of men agree they would be paid less if they were female.

However, we all know that the real business of the 113th Congress is obstructing the Affordable Care Act.  Now the GOP obstruction is taking the form of “If we can’t defund it…let’s delay it.” Talking Points Memo.   Right! … because the American people might just want things like coverage for mental health care services (see above), coverage for children under their parents’ plans, insurance coverage for people with pre-existing medical conditions, insurance coverage for women’s health issues, insurance coverage for elderly people for preventative screenings, and the happy notion that at least 80% of insurance premiums collected from policy holders  should be spent on … wait for it… covered medical services.  Oh, and then there’s the marketplace things wherein people who don’t have insurance can select from a variety of private company plans on offer…

And, oops … it turns out that more companies are planning to hire more full time employees as Obamacare rolls out. Think Progress

There is some good news for families on the economic front — the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is showing how a little external pressure can spur banks toward more self regulation.   More at the Demos Blog.

Comments Off on Roundup

Filed under Gun Issues, Nevada politics, Women's Issues

Questions and Answers

>Overnight Express News Round UpAggregation: Where’s the Gun Safety/Background Check bill in the Nevada Assembly? Answer here.  Who’s the big winner in the Nevada Legislative biennial lottery?  Answer here.  From which states is an undocumented worker most likely to be deported? Answer here.  Is a grazing permit a “revocable privilege” or a “property interest?” The answer so far, but there’s probably more litigation to come.

Dept. of No Surprises:  Now, who would have guessed that the beneficiaries of various and sundry tax breaks (hereinafter called Tax Expenditures) are those in the top brackets of U.S. income earners?  Answer: Everyone, including the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office.    What are the most “Cringeworthy” Quotes from Wall Street?  Let’s start with “That’s why I’m richer than you…

Contrary to the steady drum beat of radical assertions that the Social Security Administration won’t be around to help young workers when it’s time for them to retire, there’s “Social Security’s challenges continue to be modest and manageable.”  There’s more here from the CBPP.

Women Where Daily?  Members of the Armed Services Committee are seeking answers from top military brass on issues related to acts of sexual assault (predominantly against women) in the U.S. military. More here.   The ladies of the Senate confronted military leadership concerning the problem, more here.  An ex-Army prosecutor reached out to Senator Gillibrand, more from the Buffalo News.  And, Senator Boxer has teamed up with a former Marine to push the issue to the foreground.

Women can say silly things — there’s this nugget:

“I think that more important than that is making certain that women are recognized by those companies. You know, I’ve always said that I didn’t want to be given a job because I was a female, I wanted it because I was the most well-qualified person for the job. And making certain that companies are going to move forward in that vein, that is what women want. They don’t want the decisions made in Washington. They want to be able to have the power and the control and the ability to make those decisions for themselves.” Rep. Marsha Blackburn [ HuffPo]

What’s “THAT?” The reference goes back to equal pay for equal work legislation.   And, what sort of “recognition” would the ladies like from corporate America?  Money would be nice?  No one is talking about women being employed — the pay question refers to those who are already in the workplace and already getting paid an overall average of 75 cents on every dollar a man can earn.   “They” don’t want the decisions made in Washington?  Let’s go to the next line “They want to be able to have power and control and the ability to make those decisions for themselves.”   The question was about what women will be paid for their work.  Exactly what “power, control, and ability” do they have when facing an employer who discriminates based on gender?  Dear me, is Rep. Blackburn suggesting the ladies unionize?   The entire point is that in discriminatory situations the women do NOT have the power, or the control, or the ability to obtain equal remuneration for equal work.  However, we have to remember that Rep. Blackburn voted against the Lily Ledbetter Act… and the Paycheck Fairness Act of 2009.

1 Comment

Filed under financial regulation, Nevada legislature, Social Security, Taxation, Women's Issues

Alice Paul Wants You To Vote Today

Alice Paul would remind women all over the country to VOTE today.  The suffragette and several cohorts were arrested in July, 1917 and imprisoned for their campaign activities:

“The arrested suffragists were sent to Occoquan Workhouse, a prison in Virginia. Paul and her compatriots followed the English suffragette model and demanded to be treated as political prisoners and staged hunger strikes. Their demands were met with brutality as suffragists, including frail, older women, were beaten, pushed and thrown into cold,  unsanitary, and rat-infested cells.  Arrests continued and conditions at the prison deteriorated.  For staging hunger strikes, Paul and several other suffragists were forcibly fed in a tortuous method.  Prison officials removed Paul to a sanitarium in hopes of getting her declared insane.  When news of the prison conditions and hunger strikes became known, the press, some politicians, and the public began demanding the women’s release; sympathy for the prisoners brought many to support the cause of women’s suffrage.” [AlicePaul.Org]

If Paul and here cohorts could withstand the treatment in the prison, and endure incarceration to promote the vote for women in this country, surely standing in line — even for several hours — isn’t too much to ask to protect:

1. A woman’s right to have a say in her own reproductive health treatment.

2. A woman’s right to apply to the educational institution of her choice.

3. A woman’s right to get equal pay for equal work.

4. A woman’s right to be free of legal discrimination in cases of rape and domestic violence.

5. A woman’s right to be an equal participant in our political processes.

6. A woman’s right to be free from discrimination by health care providers and health care insurance corporations.

 

Comments Off on Alice Paul Wants You To Vote Today

Filed under 2012 election, women, Women's Issues, Womens' Rights