clear
Sunday May 29th, 2016 5:29PM

Obama takes aim at gender pay gap

By The Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) -- In a concerted election-year push to draw attention to women's wages, President Barack Obama signed directives Tuesday to make it easier for workers of federal contractors to get information about workplace compensation. He seasoned his move with a sharp rebuke of Republicans whom he accused of "gumming up the works" on workplace fairness.<br /> <br /> Obama made a clear partisan appeal to women as he issued an executive order prohibiting federal contractors from retaliating against workers who discuss their pay. He also directed the Labor Department to write rules requiring federal contractors to provide compensation data by race and gender.<br /> <br /> "This is about Republicans seemingly opposing any efforts to even the playing field for working families," Obama said at a White House signing ceremony, surrounded by women advocates and accompanied by Lilly Ledbetter, a woman whose namesake legislation on pay equity was the first bill Obama signed into law in 2009.<br /> <br /> Obama's actions focused exclusively on federal contractors but they dovetailed with the start of Senate debate on broader legislation to make it easier for workers to sue any company for paying women less because of their gender. That legislation is expected to fail, as it has in the past, due to Republican opposition.<br /> <br /> The Senate legislation, like Obama's narrower executive order, would forbid companies from punishing workers who share salary information and would allow punitive and compensatory damages in lawsuits. It would make it harder for companies to prove disparities in pay are not gender based and would make it easier to file class action lawsuits.<br /> <br /> Republican Sen. Deb Fischer of Nebraska said she would offer an amendment to narrow the measure, mostly by banning employer retaliation against workers who share salary information. She and several other Republican senators said they would likely vote to block debate on the overall bill on Wednesday unless Democrats allow votes on GOP amendments.<br /> <br /> Fischer said the Democratic bill would harm merit pay, allow unlimited damage claims in lawsuits against employers, and hinder people from accepting lower pay in exchange for more flexible work hours.<br /> <br /> Nearly a dozen Democratic women senators took to the chamber's floor Tuesday to support the legislation.<br /> <br /> "We believe that women need a fair shot to get equal pay for equal work," said Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., the measure's sponsor. "And we want it in our law books and we want it in our checkbooks."<br /> <br /> Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York, the Senate's No. 3 Democratic leader, said equalizing pay for men and women was a popular issue and warned Republicans opposing the measure, "We're going to come back to this issue several times this year."<br /> <br /> The National Labor Relations Board and some federal courts already have determined company pay secrecy rules are prohibited under the National Labor Relations Act. But cases against violators can only be brought by the NLRB on the basis of a complaint. The Senate bill would spell out the prohibition and allow for potentially penalizing private lawsuits.<br /> <br /> Obama's directive for compensation data is not the first time the administration considered seeking such statistics. The Labor Department in 2011 sought public comment on how to collect wage information, but so far no rule has been proposed. Obama's action essentially instructs the department to take the next step.<br /> <br /> The debate over pay equality is complicated by varying wage gap measures.<br /> <br /> Obama cited Census Bureau figures show annual earnings for women were 77 percent of what men earned in 2012.<br /> <br /> But when measured by hourly earnings, that difference narrows to 86 percent, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. The larger gap is in part because women tend to work fewer hours than men and because annual figures include items omitted from hourly data, including tips and bonuses. An analysis of 2012 data by the Pew Research Center placed the discrepancy at 84 cents for women for every $1 made by men.<br /> <br /> A recent review of staff salaries at the White House found the president's female aides were paid 88 cents for every dollar paid to men. White House officials say men and women in equivalent roles at the White House earn the same amount, but that there are more women in lower paying positions.
© Copyright 2016 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Judge denies motions to move, delay Tsarnaev trial
Lawyers for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev asked a federal appeals court Wednesday to overturn a judge's decision to not move his upcoming trial out of state.
10:02PM ( 1 year ago )
High court to adopt electronic filing of cases
The Supreme Court is belatedly developing an electronic filing system similar to those used in courts around the country, Chief Justice John Roberts said Wednesday in his annual end-of-year report.
7:57PM ( 1 year ago )
Storm brings snow, cold to West for New Year's
A blustery winter storm dumped snow and ice across the West on Wednesday, making driving treacherous in the mountains from California to the Rockies and forcing residents and party-goers in some usually sun-soaked cities to bundle up for a frosty New Year's.
5:19PM ( 1 year ago )
U.S. News
State DOT awards $48M contract for NE Ga. road project
The state Department of Transportation has awarded a $47.8 million contract for nine miles of work on a northeast Georgia road.
9:37AM ( 1 year ago )
Business News
Grass fire impacts rush hour traffic on 985
Rush hour traffic on I-985 was slowed by a grass fire Wednesay afternoon with one lane closed while firefighters fought the blaze.
10:19PM ( 1 year ago )
Hall County conviction, sentencing to be reviewed by SCOGA
The State Supreme Court has agreed to hear the appeal of a Hall County man when they reconvene in January.
2:37PM ( 1 year ago )
Maysville man dies from Banks County wreck
The Georgia State Patrol reports that alcohol and/or drugs were factors a single-vehicle wreck that claimed the life of a Maysville man in Banks County Tuesday night.
11:07AM ( 1 year ago )
Local/State News
GOP leader regrets talk to white supremacists; party leaders rally around him
House Republican leaders rallied around one of their own, Whip Steve Scalise, on Tuesday after he said he regrets speaking 12 years ago to a white supremacist organization and condemns the views of such groups.
6:08PM ( 1 year ago )
Conviction of Putin foe sets off protest in Moscow
President Vladimir Putin's chief political foe was convicted along with his brother on Tuesday in a fraud case widely seen as a vendetta by the Kremlin, triggering one of Russia's boldest anti-government demonstrations in years.
6:03PM ( 1 year ago )
More Georgians signing up for health insurance
A federal report says more Georgians have selected health insurance plans through a federally facilitated marketplace.
4:16PM ( 1 year ago )
Politics
Amid shouts of 'shame,' House GOP defeats gay rights measure
Democrats shouted "shame," but House Republicans switched their votes and defeated a measure to protect gay rights
8:03PM ( 1 week ago )
CDC director Freiden warns GOP Zika bill is inadequate
The head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned Wednesday that a House GOP measure to combat the Zika virus is inadequate to deal with the swelling threat to public health
7:36PM ( 1 week ago )
Trump unveils list of his top picks for Supreme Court
Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee for president, released Wednesday a list of 11 potential Supreme Court justices he plans to vet to fill the seat of late Justice Antonin Scalia if he's elected to the White House.
3:31PM ( 1 week ago )
1st US penis transplant could bring hope to maimed soldiers
A 64-year-old cancer patient has received the nation's first penis transplant, a groundbreaking operation that may also help U.S. veterans maimed by roadside bombs
8:04PM ( 1 week ago )
States dig in against directive on transgender bathroom use
Politicians in Texas, Arkansas and elsewhere are vowing defiance over the Obama administration's new directive on transgender bathroom use
9:19PM ( 2 weeks ago )