Change is already comin’

::cue up Sam Cooke in the background, “A Change Is Gonna Come”::

Remember Lilly Ledbetter’s story?

A chastened 111th Congress might give President Obama a chance to make things right, very soon; the House of Representatives already approved the bill:

Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 – Vote Passed (247-171, 15 Not Voting)

I apologize — I do not have a citation for this next chunk of material (I’m looking):

First Victory for Women and Working Families in the 111th Congress!
“It’s a one-two punch for women, that could knock out many pay inequities,” said NOW President Kim Gandy as the U.S. House of Representatives passed two bills today that would advance fair pay for women. In a vote of 247-171 the House passed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act (HR 11) to address the setback delivered by the U.S. Supreme Court last year for women victims of pay discrimination, and in a 256-163 vote they passed the Paycheck Fairness Act (HR 12).Thanks to the leadership of Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) and George Miller (D-Calif.), these bills were on the schedule for the opening days of the 111th Congress and serve as an encouraging sign for things to come. Women voted overwhelmingly to elect President-elect Barack Obama, who said during his presidential campaign that he would make pay equity a priority in his administration. Women voters also helped to elect a Congress that is more women-friendly than it has been in over a decade. We have worked for and have been waiting for this day in the House.

The Ledbetter legislation, which was blocked in the Republican-led Senate last year, will essentially reverse the Supreme Court decision that requires workers to file charges on a pay discrimination claim within the first six months of receiving their first discriminatory paycheck. The Court’s decision in Ledbetter v. Goodyear gave employers the go-ahead to discriminate as long as they weren’t caught in the first six months after the onset of their illegal actions.

The companion bill, the Paycheck Fairness Act, which did not even make it to the Senate floor last year, closes loopholes that allow employers to pay men and women discriminatorily and provides consequences.

“NOW has been working since our founding over 40 years ago to end wage discrimination against women. We celebrate this day and look forward to the Senate’s upcoming vote on both bills,” said Gandy. The bills will go as a package to the Senate and Majority Leader Harry Reid has promised that “pay equity” legislation is at the top of his to-do list.

Background on Lilly’s case:

Your votes for a new Congress and a new party in the White House appear to have had some effect “business as usual.”

See an Obama campaign video on Ledbetter, below.

(See more, here.)

Tip of the old scrub brush to Kathryn and Judith.

One Response to Change is already comin’

  1. kindlingman says:

    The law was written 40+ years ago to prevent what Congress just approved: the ability to sue an employer long after the discrimination, if any, had occurred. In this particular case, I think there wasn’t any evidence that the workplace was discriminatory. This was one woman.
    Should a company have to justify each employee’s wage 18 years after the employee took the job and after the employee retires? I don’t think so.
    Yes, she earned less money but what she earned she was satisfied with or she would have left. Exactly how was this discriminatory? How many supervisors did she have in that period of time? How many of them were misogynists? Are we to believe that this was a conspiracy of owner, manager, and supervisor for 18 years?
    Is the argument “oh,I did not know I was a victim for 18 years but now I do after I retired so somebody owes me something” a valid one? Balderdash. I wish her name had been ‘Roxy Mulligan’ (strong and vibrant) then people would have expected more from her than ‘Lily Ledbetter’.


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