GFWC Advocates See Success in the House of Representatives
The General Federation of Women's Clubs is celebrating its first major legislative victory of the new year with the U.S. House of Representative's passage of H.R. 11, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act on Friday, January 9. You may recall that advocating for this bill was the centerpiece of the GFWC Day on the Hill in September. The bill passed 247-171 and, thanks to the support of advocates like GFWC members, is one step closer to the President's signature.
The bill's namesake, Lilly Ledbetter, is a GFWC member and former Alabama District II Director. This legislation addresses the issue of fair pay for women by seeking to overturn a 2007 Supreme Court ruling stating that employees have only 180 days from their very first inequitable paycheck to file a claim of employment discrimination. The practical problem with the Supreme Court ruling is that employees often are not aware that they are the victim of pay discrimination until months or years later. Lilly Ledbetter suspected that she was being paid unfairly as the only female supervisor at the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company in Gadsden, Ala., but had no proof during more than a decade of employment. It was an anonymous note left in her mailbox at work that confirmed what she suspected—she was being paid significantly less than her male counterparts. Lilly then immediately went to her local Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to file a complaint.
If passed by the Senate, the Lilly's bill would return federal law to its status prior to the Supreme Court ruling. You can read more about Lilly, her bill, and GFWC's Day on the Hill in the December 2008 + January 2009 issue of GFWC Clubwoman Magazine (www.GFWC.org/Magazine).
The battle now moves into the U.S. Senate. In the 110th Congress, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act never received a fair floor vote despite having majority support in the Senate. Please contact your U.S. Senators today and ask that they support the Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. A vote may come anytime in the next week. If you are a GFWC clubwoman in Pennsylvania or Maine, it is especially imperative that you make the call to your Senators, as these particular states hold the key to the bill's passage.
Find your Senators' contact information only at www.Senate.gov. For more information, please contact GFWC Public Policy Director Ardie Hollifield at AHollifield@GFWC.org or 202/347-3168 ext. 140.