Rep. Baca Endorses Strengthening the Equal Pay Act
Today, on Equal Pay Day, Congressman Joe Baca (D-Rialto) stated his continued support of an equal pay for equal work policy towards our nation's women by calling for strengthening the Equal Pay Act of 1963.
"Forty-four years have passed since President John F. Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act into law in 1963," said Rep. Baca. "Sadly, in many cases, there is still not equal pay for equal work in this country."
The wage gap between men and women has narrowed over time, but at a very slow rate, and it remains significant. In 1963, women who worked full time made 59 cents on average for every dollar earned by men. In 2005, women earned 77 cents to the dollar. This represents a closing of the gap of less than half a cent per year and leaves women's wages far behind men's pay.
Rep. Baca said, "Equal pay is not only a women's issue; it's a family issue because it lowers the entire family's income. That means husbands, wives, children and parents suffer and have less to spend on essentials: groceries, child care, doctors' visits, and housing."
The Congressman noted that pay inequality is especially bad among America's minority populations, including Hispanics and African Americans who comprise a majority of residents in the 43rd District. Compared to the highest earners (white men), African American women made only 66 cents on the dollar and Hispanic women only 55 cents. Rep. Baca said, "Fixing the wage gap is the right thing to do as a matter of fairness and as an economic boost for families."
To fix this inequality and to ensure fairness for all American workers, the Democratic Congress has introduced the Paycheck Fairness Act (H.R. 1338). This bill strengthens the Equal Pay Act of 1963 to provide more effective remedies to women who are not being paid equal wages for doing equal work. It would also give the Department of Labor the opportunity to enhance outreach and training programs to work with employers to eliminate pay disparities and would provide awards for employers that make strides in eliminating pay disparities.
"I am proud to co-sponsor the Paycheck Fairness Act," said Rep. Baca. "Ensuring that women receive equal pay for equal work is a commonsense issue that affects all working women and their families. Congress must work to help all American families gain the resources they need to ensure their children have access to a better future."
Rep. Baca currently serves as the Chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, and also serves as Co-Chair of the Congressional Out of Poverty Caucus, along with Reps. Barbara Lee, John Conyers, and Mike Honda.
Equal Pay Day is observed in April to indicate how far into each year a woman must work to earn as much as a man earned in the previous year. More information and statistics on pay discrepancies can be found on the National Committee on Pay Equity's website at http://www.pay-equity.org.