WASHINGTON - A minority of senators has blocked the Paycheck Fairness Act (PFA), a bill that would help women workers fight pay discrimination, from coming to the Senate floor for a vote.
The Paycheck Fairness Act updates and strengthens the Equal Pay Act of 1963 (EPA), which made it illegal for employers to pay unequal wages to men and women who perform substantially the same work.
PFA has been a major priority of the civil and human rights community. In a statement following today's vote, Nancy Zirkin, executive vice president of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, said:
"The decision by a minority of senators to block consideration of the Paycheck Fairness Act (PFA) is extremely troubling, especially in these trying economic times. PFA, which passed the House overwhelmingly more than a year ago, would have given women and the families who rely on them effective tools to fight pay discrimination and ensure that they receive equal wages to men who perform substantially the same work.
Pay discrimination is real and it must be addressed. Women make up half of our workforce and their wages make up an increasing share of family incomes, yet women who work full time still earn, on average, only 77 cents for every dollar men earn. In 2008, women were 35 percent more likely to live in poverty than men. The statistics are even worse for women of color. Ensuring equal pay would mean basic fairness for women and their families, more food on family tables, more revenue for our businesses, and more economic stability for the country.
Our coalition, including many faith, labor, civil rights, and women's organizations, worked tirelessly to pass this bill and remain committed to eliminating gender-based pay discrimination. We commend the members of Congress who championed and supported PFA. While we've made some progress during the 111th Congress, today's vote indicates that we are still have far to go in recognizing the contributions that women make to our economy and our society."