Tennant urges Congress to pass equal pay

April 8, 2014 by Whitney Burdette

As the U.S. Senate debates the Paycheck Fairness Act, one Senate hopeful is calling on Congress to pass the bill.
Natalie Tennant issued a statement Tuesday, recognized nationally as Equal Pay Day, urging the Senate to pass the measure. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, women who work full-time earn 77 cents for every $1 a man earns on average. In West Virginia, women earn 70 cents, according to a report from the National Partnership for Women and Families.
“I want my daughter and all our West Virginia daughters to grow up in a world where they know their hard work has value,” Tennant said. “Make no mistake, paycheck fairness isn’t just a women’s issue, it’s a West Virginia issue because when hard-working families have less take-home pay to buy groceries and support their families, it drags down our whole economy.”
But Republicans argue the version of the Paycheck Fairness Act up for passage now is misleading. They contend Democrats use skewed statistics to support their argument for equal pay. In a memorandum posted Saturday to the Republican National Committee’s website, communications staff points out sex discrimination has been illegal for decades.
“The ‘fix’ that Democrats propose, then, won’t change that,” according to the memo. “It would, however, tightly regulate how employers can pay their employees. This law will not create ‘equal’ pay, but it will make it nearly impossible for employers to tie compensation to work quality, productivity and experience, reduce flexibility in the workplace, and make it far easier to file frivolous lawsuits that line the pockets of trial lawyers.
“Ultimately, this bill will hurt all workers, especially women.”
Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., is also running for U.S. Senate. She said although the focus is on equal pay, work needs to be done in the areas of education and job creation.
“Women absolutely deserve equal pay for equal work – and equal pay is the law,” she said. “However, there is still a ways to go to ensure women are being paid equally for the work they do. More needs to be done to ensure greater educational and employment opportunities for women, and I will continue to work to improve the lives of all West Virginians.”
National Equal Pay Day is observed yearly on the 97th day of the year to symbolize the 97 extra days, on average, women would have to work to earn the same as their male colleagues.

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