Today, Congresswoman Judy Chu (CA-32) joined Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (CA-08), Democratic Caucus Chair John Larson (CT-01) amongst other Democratic Congressional leaders in supporting Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro's (CT-03) Paycheck Fairness Act. Members listened to witnesses discuss their personal experiences with wage discrimination and urged for passage of this vital legislation that will end such practices, once and for all. Following today's events, Congresswoman Chu released the following statement:
"The founders of this nation declared that each and every one of us is equal. That means the sweat off one man's brow is worth no more than that of another, and the labor of one woman is not more valuable than another's. It also means no man's work is worth more than a woman's for the same job -- yet for some reason, we still struggle with this, some 236 years after the Declaration of Independence, and 50 years after Congress passed the Equal Pay Act. Since that law passed, the wage gap has been closing by half a penny every year. This is atrocious, which is why we must pass the Paycheck Fairness Act. Especially in these difficult economic times, it is indefensible for Congress not to act."
Background -- Congress passed the Equal Pay Act in 1963, requiring employers to give men and women employees "equal pay for equal work." But 49 years later, pay discrimination still exists in the workplace. More specifically, the gender wage gap has been closing at a rate of less than half a cent per year since 1963, and women today earn only 77 cents for every dollar earned by men based on full-time, median earnings. The Equal Pay Act has not been updated since 1963, and Congress has called for changes to address the law's "loopholes and ineffective sanctions."
Enactment of the Paycheck Fairness Act (H.R. 1519) would be a critical step forward in the fight for fair pay for women. Among the bill's provisions are protections for employees to discuss their salaries, requirements for legitimate reasons for pay disparities and the creation of training programs to provide women and girls with competitive salary negotiation skills.