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Archive for Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Advocate Lilly Ledbetter discusses fight to get equal pay, pass bill

November 13, 2012

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A room full of men and women, young and old, gave a standing ovation to advocate Lilly Ledbetter when she finished her lecture Monday night at Kansas University. Ledbetter spoke about how she fought to receive equal pay as a woman and her work to pass the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration Act.

“I was an ordinary person living the American dream ... not knowing I was being shortchanged,” she said.

After 19 years of working for Goodyear Tires, Ledbetter received an anonymous note showing she made 40 percent less pay than her white male counterparts. The next day she filed a case for employment discrimination, which was the start of a nine-year battle with the company.

“I had no idea I was so underpaid,” Ledbetter said. “(My pay) wasn’t even in the gate, much less the ballpark (of the men’s pay).”

When the case reached a federal court in 2003, Ledbetter was awarded $3.8 million, but Goodyear was quick to appeal.

“I knew going in I’d never get any money,” Ledbetter said.

Despite the fact that she wouldn’t get the funds to make up the 40 percent difference, Ledbetter kept fighting the case because the law was on her side.

Eventually, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Goodyear, which caused Ledbetter and her lawyer to go to Washington, D.C., to try to get the Fair Pay Restoration Act passed. It was supported by both Republicans and Democrats, and Ledbetter believes that is because the bill has nothing to do with either party but instead is a fundamental American right.

The signing of the bill was President Barack Obama’s first official act as president.

KU law student Elizabeth Lobaugh said she thought it was important for young people to hear the lecture so they could better understand the discrimination taking place that they may not be aware of.

“You can’t solve a problem that people don’t realize exists,” Lobaugh said.

Ledbetter’s speech, and the signing for her book “Grace and Grit” that followed the lecture, were part of the Jana Mackey Distinguished Lecture Series, which was established to raise awareness of women’s rights.

“The most important thing is to see so many young people here,” said Christie Brungard, Mackey’s mother and co-founder of the Jana’s Campaign group. “Both young men and women need to know: We’re not there yet.”

Comments

Cait McKnelly 1 year, 9 months ago

No, we aren't there yet. The only reason the Lily Ledbetter act passed Congress was because it was introduced and the ground work laid in the Bush Administration. It only goes so far, stating that the 180 day statute of limitations now resets with each new paycheck, meaning that women can sue for back wages for the entire length of their employment, if necessary..
The Fair Paycheck Bill of 2012, which would have required employers to demonstrate that any salary differences between men and women doing the same work are not gender-related, was shot down by Senate Republicans earlier this year.
On April 17th of this year, women celebrated (if you can call it a "celebration") Equal Pay Day. This date symbolized how far into 2012 women had to work to earn what men earned in 2011. The defeat of the Fair Paycheck Bill was one of the watershed occurrences that caused women to claim that there was a Republican War on Women and that Republican philosophical sexism was more than just reproductive rights.

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Topple 1 year, 9 months ago

Part of the reason men sometimes make more money than women is because men are statistically more likely to negotiate starting salaries than women are. And since every future pay raise will be based on that initial pay, it is a compounding issue by the time a person has worked for a company for several decades. Though, I'm surprised at gap this big... Unless the males at Goodyear are negotiating 40% higher starting salaries then there is some fishy stuff going on at Goodyear...

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Michael LoBurgio 1 year, 9 months ago

Persistent pay gap confronts women, KC research confirms - KansasCity.com

The Kansas City region has a gender wage gap problem.

And that’s not just a problem for working women who earn less than men. It’s a problem for all women, for men, for children and for the metropolitan area as a whole.

Households that aren’t economically self-sufficient create a cycle of poverty, drain social service resources, hinder the pursuit of higher education and don’t contribute to public coffers through taxes.

“We must have some amount of anger about this,” said Karen Dace, a deputy chancellor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. “We need the kind of anger that says, ‘I won’t stop until change comes.’ ”

Dace said she wasn’t trying to sound militant, but an emotional response was required after she read reports released last week by the Women’s Foundation of Greater Kansas City. The reports published troubling economic data about the 15-county metropolitan statistical area:

• Two-thirds of the poverty-level households are headed by women.

• One-fourth of the adult female population has no education beyond high school.

• Average median earnings for men at all education levels are nearly 1.4 times those for women — and the gap is greatest at the highest education levels.

• Full-time working women as a whole earn 73 cents for every dollar a man earns, a worse rate than the national 77 cents.

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/2012/11/12/3914190/persistent-pay-gap-confronts-women.html#storylink=cpy

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blogme 1 year, 9 months ago

This is a serious issue, but isn't it funny how the lamestream media didn't mention this fact at all while Obama was stoking the fires of the GOP's supposed war on women? The simple fact is he signed the bill and not obeying it, so he's a hypocrite. Talk about the press being in someone's pocket. Not to mention Benghazi or any other thing our bungler in chief has bungled.

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