Mark Udall joined Sen. Barbara Milkulski (D-Md.) in introducing the Paycheck Fairness Act, continuing his fight to ensure that Colorado's mothers, wives, sisters and daughters receive equal pay for equal work. The bill would require the U.S. Department of Labor to increase its efforts with employers to eliminate pay disparities between men and women as well as strengthen the punitive and compensatory damages to be equal to that of pay discrimination based on race or national origin.
"Although we have made great strides and significantly narrowed the paycheck gap between men and women, women from around Colorado have told me we need to do more. Many women today are still paid less than their male colleagues even when they do the same work. In fact, Colorado women currently make about 79 cents for every dollar earned by men," Udall said. "As our economy continues to recover and more and more women go back to work, it is important that they and women in the workforce today are treated fairly. That is why I plan to work with Sen. Mikulski to ensure that we pass the Paycheck Fairness Act and don't settle for anything less than full equality."'
Udall, a strong advocate of civil liberty and women's rights, fought to pass the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, which ensured a fair day in court for victims of gender-based pay discrimination. The Paycheck Fairness Act would represent the next step in the effort to close the wage disparity gap by enhancing enforcement of equal pay laws. Udall is an original cosponsor.
Udall also has been a strong proponent of renewing the Violence Against Women Act and has vocally pushed the U.S. House of Representatives to reauthorize it. The law provides resources to state and local law enforcement to investigate and prosecute crimes, including domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking. The law also helps nonprofit organizations that supply services for victims and survivors.