Growing up in a union household on the north side of La Crosse, I know the importance of America's labor movement.
Labor unions have made great contributions to the lives of American workers. The ability for both public and private unions to collectively bargain has played an integral part in improving working conditions, securing higher wages for employees, and winning health and retirement benefits for employees. Collective bargaining is a time-tested process that works for Wisconsin and I will continue to support it at both the state and federal level.
Public employees have been an easy scape goat as states battle budget deficits, despite the fact that they are not the ones to blame for shortfalls. Still, workers have shown a willingness to compromise and make wage sacrifices. Despite these offers of concessions, Governor Walker in Wisconsin and other governors around the country took the extreme approach of revoking collective bargaining rights. This is the wrong time to punish employees that are working hard to provide for their families and have made great sacrifices to teach our children, keep us safe, and care for those who need it the most.
Ron visits Eau Claire Fire and Rescue to discuss funding as well as the right for public employees to organize.
Comprehensive Health Care Reform:
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, signed into law in March 2010, puts working families - not insurance companies - in control of their health care and provides affordable health care choices for everyone. Workers can keep their doctor and plan if they like it and won't have to give up their coverage in the unfortunate occurrence of job loss. For information on how health care reform affects you, click here.
Although the wage gap between men and women has narrowed since the passage of the Equal Pay Act in 1963, according to the US Census Bureau in 2008, women still make only 77 -80 cents for every dollar earned by a man. This wage disparity will cost women anywhere from $400,000 to $2 million in lost wages over a lifetime.
That is why I have consistently supported legislation that attempts to close this wage gap, including the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, H.R. 11. The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, signed into law by President Obama in January 2009, puts gender-based discrimination sanctions on equal footing with other forms of wage discrimination- such as race, disability, or age -- by allowing women to sue employers for compensatory and punitive damages. It also reverses a 2007 Supreme Court decision that put time restraints on when individuals can sue for discrimination.
In addition, I am once again a strong supporter of the Paycheck Fairness Act, H.R. 1519. This legislation will close loopholes that have allowed employers to continue paying female employees less than men and will require that employers prove that pay disparities are not gender based.