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Thursday, January 8, 2009

House to Vote on Paycheck Fairness

The House of Representatives is scheduled to vote tomorrow on two bills that would help mitigate the damage done by the disgraceful Supreme Court decision in Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire. As many of you will remember, Lilly Ledbetter worked for 19 years in a Goodyear plant in Gadsden, Alabama. After years of loyal service to the company, she discovered that she had consistently earned less than men doing the same work. Naturally, she sued. But the Supreme Court, with its newly conservative majority, threw out her case, arguing that Title VII -- the portion of the Civil Rights Act that prohibits employment discrimination -- said she only had 180 days from the time she got her first discriminatory paycheck to file suit.

Outrage over this decision, which all but gutted the ability to enforce Title VII, was widespread, and regularly came up during the campaign. Slogans calling for “equal pay for equal work” could be heard at rallies throughout the country. Congress attempted to offer a legislative fix in the form of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act last year, but the bill was stalled by Senate Republicans who were looking out for big business's bottom line, rather than the interests of working Americans. Now, with a new Democratic majority, Congress is once again attempting to resolve this issue. And not at all too soon.

In the less than two years since the Court’s decision in Ledbetter, the case has been cited 326 times in other federal cases. Workers across the country are finding it increasingly difficult to establish discrimination, which was already extremely tough to prove. Alliance for Justice has been urging Congress to take action for over a year, and we are hopeful that this next round of votes will lead to success. But, we could use your help. Please write your representative today, and tell them to vote yes on the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and the Paycheck Fairness Act by clicking here.

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