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Rick Perry to Women Workers: 82 Cents on the Dollar Is Good Enough

Evidently Texas's business leaders council doesn't think women's work is worth the same as that of a man, or that women should be able to sue if they're discriminated against on the basis of sex. And not so surprisingly, Governor Perry agreed and vetoed the Lilly Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act earlier this week.

From the Houston Chronicle:

In a letter to Perry seeking the veto, TAB president Bill Hammond wrote that the 180-day limit on lawsuits "protects employers from the burden of defending claims arising from employment decisions that are long past."  Although wage decisions may have been made many years earlier, Hammond wrote, the Lilly Ledbetter Act would "[allow] a shift of allege discriminatory intent from a long ago decision . . to a later act — the issuance of a paycheck — that comes without any discriminatory intent."

Got that, ladies? Bill Hammond doesn't think you should be able to sue your employers for years and years of wage discrimination if it's "long past," despite the continuing negative economic impact on you and your family.

Also, women, you are probably making it up, you're not being paid less because you're a woman, but because you can't possibly be as capable given all of those paired X chromosomes floating around on your genome. Calm down! You're acting all craaaaazy.

From Governor Perry's website, as he tries to explain why he vetoed Texas' version of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act:

Texas' commitment to smart regulations and fair courts is a large part of why we continue to lead the nation in job creation. House Bill 950 duplicates federal law, which already allows employees who feel they have been discriminated against through compensation to file a claim with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

This is, unsurprisingly, wrong.

As Progress Texas has made clear, the law is needed because Texas courts currently do not agree that federal law applies here in the Wingnuts' Republic of Texas.

Allow Progress Texas to explain:

The following bullet points are summarized from the bill analysis for HB 950:

  • The "Fort Worth Court of Appeals ruled recently . . . that Lilly Ledbetter protections do not apply to state cases absent action by the legislature"
  • The state law is needed to "provide uniformity between state and federal anti-discrimination laws so that employees and employers have consistent laws governing employment relations"
  • Further, the law will "allow parties to proceed in a nearby state court, while at the same time avoid the increased expense of having to proceed in a federal court which may be far away"
  • Finally, the Texas Supreme Court issued a decision on August 31, 2012, in Prairie View A&M v. Chatha, and made it clear that Texas law does not provide the protections of the Lilly Ledbetter Act

The women of Texas and their families need this law. Instead, Rick Perry has made clear that women are second-class citizens and that the state should NOT champion the right for women to be paid the same as men for the same day's work.

Women in Texas make 82 cents on the dollar compared to men, which gives Texas the twelfth-lowest wage gap in the country, even with women's work equal to four-fifths of that of men. Nationwide, women still make only 77 cents on the dollar compared to men. Over the course of a woman's career, that amounts to $430,000 in lost wages. The pay gap is even worse for women of color and in female-dominated industries.

Becky Moeller, President of the Texas AFL-CIO, who unlike Bill Hammond, does value the work of women as equal to that of men, issued the following statement on Perry's veto:

The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act is a matter of simple justice. Women or other victims of illegal pay discrimination should not be barred from their day in court simply because the information that they were being discriminated against was unavailable to them.

"In Texas under Gov. Perry, the barons of 'tort reform' are now so powerful that women who can't find out about pay discrimination as soon as it happens no longer have a chance in a rigged legal system. I am confident Texas women will not give up the long-haul fight for equal pay for equal work."

Below, find the response of Texas State Rep. Senfronia Thompson to Governor Perry's veto of HB-950, which she authored:

Go to TX State Page
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