Washington, D.C. – U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, both D-Ore., joined Sen. Patty Murray D-Wash., and Representative Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., today in commemorating Equal Pay Day by reintroducing the Paycheck Fairness Act, legislation aimed at reinforcing the Equal Pay Act of 1963 by guaranteeing that women can challenge pay discrimination and hold their employers accountable.
“It should go without saying that women should be treated equally and fairly within the workplace,” Wyden said. “That includes equal pay, and the ability to hold their employers accountable for not paying a fair wage. When women succeed within the workplace, everyone benefits, and I am proud to join my colleagues today in calling for equal pay for women in Oregon and across the country.”
“It’s outrageous that a giant pay gap still exists. Equal pay for equal work is an issue of fundamental fairness,” Merkley said. “We must do more to demand equal pay, starting with the passage of the Paycheck Fairness Act.”
Equal Pay Day symbolizes the date when women’s wages finally catch up to what men were paid in the previous year. Despite making up half the workforce, more than five decades after the passage of the Equal Pay Act of 1963, American women still make only 80 cents, on average, for every dollar earned by a man. The gap is even wider for women of color, with African-American women making 63 cents on the dollar, and Hispanic women making only 54 cents, on average, compared with white men.
The Paycheck Fairness Act would strengthen and close loopholes in the Equal Pay Act of 1963 by holding employers accountable for discriminatory practices, ending the practice of pay secrecy, easing workers’ ability to individually or jointly challenge pay discrimination, and strengthening the available remedies for wronged employees.
Original Senate cosponsors include Senators Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., Dick Durbin, D-Ill, Bob Menendez, D-N.J., Chris Coons, D-Del., Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, Tom Udall, D-N.M., Robert P. Casey, D-Pa., Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., Edward J. Markey, D-Mass., Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., Cory Booker, D-N.J., Jack Reed, D-R.I., Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., Tom Carper, D-Del., Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., Al Franken, D-Minn., Mark Warner, D-Va., Kamala Harris, D-Calif., Chris Murphy, D-Conn., Bill Nelson, D-Fla., Tim Kaine, D-Va., Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., Jon Tester, D-Mont., Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., and Michael Bennet, D-Colo.
The House legislation was introduced by DeLauro and has 195 cosponsors.