Contact Your Senators - Paycheck Fairness Vote Coming Up

Paycheck Fairness Bill Before Senate - We have just learned that the Senate will vote on critical pay equity legislation this coming week. NOW activists should call AND email their senators, urging them to pass S.3772, the Paycheck Fairness Act (PFA) -- which the House adopted in early 2009. S.3772 is sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, with 27 co-sponsors. Use NOW's editable email message to urge your senators to do the right thing by voting for this very important bill. 

To really drive home your message, follow up your email with a phone call to both senators with the simple message: "Vote for the Paycheck Fairness Act!" Beginning Saturday, Sep. 18, you can dial 1-877-667-6650 free of charge.

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BACKGROUND:

Gender Wage Gap Stagnant - Newly analyzed data from the U.S. Bureau of Census for 2009 show the wage gap remaining at 23 percent, with a female-to-male earnings ratio of 77 percent, down from 77.8 in 2007 -- the highest recorded. Median annual earnings for full-time, year-round employed women were $36,278, compared with $47,127 for men. Additionally, white women were paid only 75 cents for each dollar paid to white men; African American women were paid 62 cents for every dollar paid to white men and for Hispanic/Latina women, it was 53 cents, according to the Institute for Women's Policy Research (IWPR).

More Data of Concern - The Bureau of Census also reports that fewer women -- 2.4 million -- had full-time, year round jobs in 2009, compared to 2007, when the recession began. The recession has forced 1.3 million women into part-time or part-year jobs. IWPR also reported that 360,000 new female-headed households were created in 2009.

Pay Equity Crucial During - Since women tend to be hurt "first and worst" during economic downturns, new legislation strengthening pay equity laws is needed now more than ever. The data show that an unprecedented number of women now are family breadwinners due to rising unemployment among men -- making pay equity vital not only to family economic security but to the nation's economic recovery as well.

Bill Would Close Loopholes, Collect Detailed Pay Data - The Paycheck Fairness Act will close loopholes in the Equal Pay Act of 1963 and strengthen it by creating incentives for employers to follow the law. Additionally, the Paycheck Fairness Act would assist women in effectively negotiating for better pay and promotion, expand skill training for girls and women, restart the research on the gender wage gap, and require wage data to be disaggregated by gender, race and ethnicity to ensure that businesses are providing equal pay. Of critical importance is a provision in the act that would prohibit retaliation against employees when salary information is shared, plus strengthen federal outreach and enforcement efforts.

PFA Already Passed by House - President Obama signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration Act at the beginning of the 111th Congress, but the Ledbetter bill was only a down-payment on making real progress in closing the wage gap. The next crucial step is for the Senate to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act (S. 3772); the House already passed the measure by an even stronger bipartisan vote (256-163) than the Ledbetter bill (247-171).

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