06.10.16

On Equal Pay, Murray, Mikulski, Feinstein Call on McConnell to Turn Words Into Action for Women Across the Country

Two weeks ago, Republican-controlled Senate adopted resolution urging pay equity for U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team and women nationwide

 

Today, on the 53rd anniversary of the Equal Pay Act, Senate Dems urge McConnell to build on this step by working to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act

 

Senators: Now that the Senate has recognized the need for equal pay for equal work, let’s take action

 

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, Senators Patty Murray (D-WA), Barbara A. Mikulski (D-MD), and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) sent a letter calling on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to turn words into action and bring the Paycheck Fairness Act to the Senate floor for a vote, following Senate passage two weeks ago of a resolution affirming the need to end wage discrimination for the U.S. women’s national soccer team and women nationwide. In the letter, the Senators urged Republicans to put partisanship aside and work together with Democrats to close the gender wage gap and end pay discrimination.

  

“We are pleased that the Senate recognized the need to eliminate gender pay inequity for the women’s national team...it is time to build on that step [and] send a strong message to all American women—and to their families—that we value their work and that we will do what it takes to ensure that they are paid equally for it,” the Senators wrote. “As we commemorate the 53rd Anniversary of the Equal Pay Act, we call on you to fix this systemic problem and end the gender wage gap and bring S. 862, the Paycheck Fairness Act to the floor as soon as possible.”

 

Further background:

 

In March, five top female players filed a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) alleging that members of the U.S. women’s national soccer team are paid significantly less than their male counterparts, despite the women’s team’s record of winning three World Cup titles and four Olympic gold medals. Their complaint highlights the pervasive wage gap that women face all across our country. More than 50 years after President Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act into law, American women on average still only make 79 cents on the dollar. The wage gap is even worse for women of color, with African-American women earning, on average, just 60 cents on the dollar, and Latino women earning, on average, only 55 cents on the dollar.

 

Senators Murray, Mikulski, and Feinstein—along with 15 of their colleagues—introduced Senate Resolution 462 to urge the U.S. Soccer Federation to end pay disparities for all athletes. The resolution passed the Senate by voice vote on May 26, and now Senate Democrats are calling on Senate Republicans to bring the Paycheck Fairness Act to the Senate floor for a vote to help strengthen equal pay protections for all American women. The Paycheck Fairness Act would take much-needed steps to close the gender wage gap by prohibiting employers from retaliating against employees who share salary information with their co-workers, strengthening penalties for equal pay violations, and holding employers accountable for proving that wage gaps between men and women are caused by factors aside from gender. The bill would also empower women to negotiate for equal pay through training and outreach.

 

Full text of the letter below:

June 10, 2016

 

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell

317 Russell Building

Washington, DC 20510

 

Dear Majority Leader McConnell,

 

Ahead of the 53rd anniversary of the Equal Pay Act, and on the heels of the U.S. Senate’s passage by voice vote of S. Res. 462, urging the United States Soccer Federation to immediately eliminate gender pay inequity and treat all athletes—regardless of gender—with the same respect and dignity, we believe it is long overdue for the Senate to consider S. 862, the Paycheck Fairness Act. We are pleased that the Senate recognized the need to eliminate gender pay inequity for the women’s national team, and it is time to build on that step by passing this critical legislation and making clear that whether it’s on a soccer field or in a board room, a woman’s work and contributions are just as important as a man’s.  

 

The pay gap between the men’s and women’s national soccer teams is emblematic of gender-based wage discrepancies across our country. Although the wage gap has narrowed since President Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act into law, women, on average, still only make 79 cents for every dollar a man makes. The wage gap is even worse for women of color, with African-American women earning, on average, just 60 cents on the dollar, and Latino women earning, on average, only 55 cents on the dollar. Unequal pay on the basis of gender tells women and girls that, whether on the soccer field or in the office, their hard work is not valued equally to that of their male counterparts.

 

But the wage gap is not just a women’s issue—it also impacts families who depend on working women to make ends meet.  In fact, two-thirds of working women are the source of half or more of their household income.  When women receive smaller paychecks for doing the same work as their male counterparts, it is more difficult for them to provide for their families.  Unequal pay hampers a woman’s ability to buy groceries, to pay the rent, to find affordable quality child care, and to save for her kids’ education. 

 

The Paycheck Fairness Act would take much-needed steps to close the wage gap. It would prohibit employers from retaliating against employees who share salary information with their co-workers, strengthen penalties for equal pay violations, and hold employers accountable for proving that wage gaps between men and women are caused by factors aside from gender.  The bill would also empower women to negotiate for equal pay through training and outreach.

 

In passing S. Res. 462 the Senate sent a strong message that we support equal pay for equal play for the U.S. Women’s National Team. We urge you now to send a strong message to all American women—and to their families—that we value their work and that we will do what it takes to ensure that they are paid equally for it.  As we commemorate the 53rd Anniversary of the Equal Pay Act, we call on you to fix this systemic problem and end the gender wage gap and bring S. 862, the Paycheck Fairness Act to the floor as soon as possible.

 

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