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Gender pay equity bill clears first big hurdle

Photo credit: Getty
By AFSCME Staff ·

Women have long endured an unjust reality – they get paid less than men for doing the same jobs.

Congress took a big step Thursday in rectifying that injustice. The House of Representatives approved an AFSCME-backed bill that would eradicate the gender-based pay gap. The Paycheck Fairness Act will ensure equal pay for equal work and would greatly benefit women, who earn just 80 cents for every dollar a man makes. The disparity is even more for most women of color.

This persistent “wage and workplace discrimination” hurts families, weakens communities and drags the economy down, AFSCME President Lee Saunders said in a statement applauding the House for passing the bill, introduced by Connecticut Rep. Rosa DeLauro.

“Women, particularly women of color, have borne the brunt of the economic anguish caused by the pandemic. The passage of The Paycheck Fairness Act is a big step toward ensuring that working people do not fall further behind and that women finally receive economic justice that is long overdue. We urge the Senate to pass this important piece of legislation in short order,” Saunders said.

Sen. Patty Murray of Washington state is the sponsor of the Senate version of the bill.

DeLauro and Murray introduced their twin versions of the bill on the 12th anniversary of the signing of the landmark Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which made it easier for workers to fight against unequal pay. AFSCME Secretary-Treasurer Elissa McBride has said that the Paycheck Fairness Act, along with the power of belonging to a union, are vital tools in the fight for pay equity.

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