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Paycheck Fairness Act key to fixing a ‘profound economic injustice’

(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
By Pete Levine ·

Today, the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would help eradicate pay discrimination based on gender, was introduced in the House of Representatives by Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) and in the Senate by Patty Murray (D-Wash.).

In a statement applauding the legislation, AFSCME President Lee Saunders said, “The gender pay gap remains one of the nation’s most profound economic injustices. It’s unconscionable that women who work full time, year-round, still earn just 80 cents for every dollar a man makes for doing the same work. The fact that the gap is even larger for women of color makes the case for action even more pressing.”

The introduction of the bill comes 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.

“The Paycheck Fairness Act would take bold steps toward eradicating pay discrimination, creating greater economic security for millions of families,” Saunders added. “Among other things, the proposed legislation prohibits employers from retaliating against workers for discussing their wages and limits the use of applicants’ salary history in the hiring process.”

As AFSCME Secretary-Treasurer Elissa McBride previously described here, this legislation, along with the power of belonging to a union, are vital tools in the fight for pay equity. That fight is more urgent than ever, as women are bearing the brunt of the economic downturn triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It is long past time that we change the law to ensure that women receive the pay they deserve for the important work they do” Saunders said.

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