TorteDeForm

Kia Franklin

Fair Pay? Not Today…

Update to TODAY: Senate Considers Fair Pay Act: Today, Republican Senators blocked a cloture vote on the Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. The cloture vote (56-42) was just 4 votes shy. You can go here to see who voted how.

This would have closed the debate and moved the bill forward for a vote on its passage. That means the debate on this bill continues and we've lost the opportunity to commemorate Equal Pay Day (yesterday, April 22) with passage of a law that restores our rights against discrimination and economic inequality. Why did this cloture motion fail? Why would anyone oppose equal pay for equal work?

One answer: this is tortdeform at work, in action, right now. It reflects both misinformation about what the law would do, and a general disregard for the rights at stake here.

McCain who was on the campaign trail rather than on the Hill for this vote,had this to say:

''I am all in favor of pay equity for women, but this kind of legislation, as is typical of what's being proposed by my friends on the other side of the aisle, opens us up to lawsuits for all kinds of problems,'' the expected GOP presidential nominee told reporters. ''This is government playing a much, much greater role in the business of a private enterprise system.''

This appeal to the marketplace over human beings' rights not to be discriminated against or otherwise harmed by corporate wrongdoing, is a present-day example of tortdeform rhetoric at work. These are the types of arguments used on a regular basis, to justify taking away our rights to hold corporations accountable when they do terrible things to people, like discriminate against employees on the basis of gender, race, disability, age, sexual orientation, etc. To make matters worse, this bill is not a radical new law. McCain is essentially saying that a modest bill that simply restores the state of the law prior to July 2007, when the Supreme Court had it's Supreme Corp hat on, steps on the toes of big business. Therefore, Republican Senators in opposition to the bill have voted to drag the process on out and do all they can to stall or quash its passage.

But contrary to McCain's claim, opponents to this bill are NOT in favor of pay equity for women. They are in favor of profit increases and legal immunity for big corporations. This callous disregard for human injustice is only further butressed by McCain's assumptions--rife with both sexist undertones and extreme misinformation--about what the "real" problem is with unequal pay: women are just not as qualified as men. He says:

''They need the education and training, particularly since more and more women are heads of their households, as much or more than anybody else,'' McCain said. ''And it's hard for them to leave their families when they don't have somebody to take care of them."

The conspiracy against our rights is at work right now. We see it today with the failure of a cloture vote that would have moved us toward restoring our laws and strengthening our civil justice system so that people can actually enforce their rights under the law. We see it with an at best misinformed Senate, that has bought into the lies of the tort "reform" lobby.

Also, as Harry Reid--who co-sponsored the bill with Republican Arlen Specter-- points out, this should be an issue of justice and not party line:

“There is no reason for the Fair Pay Act to be a partisan issue. I strongly urge my Republican colleagues to join Democrats in sending a strong and powerful message – that in America, discrimination will never be tolerated and justice will always be blind. But no matter the result today, that message – and our commitment to those enduring values – will continue.”

Now is the time for informed and engaged citizens to start standing up for our legal rights and demanding more from our representatives, regardless of our party affiliation. This requires recognizing tort "reform" lies and calling attention to the truth--truths like the fact that people should be paid equally for equal work, and when they're not, they shouldn't be out of a remedy because of some loophole that benefits big corporations and leaves ordinary people shafted.

Kia Franklin: Author Bio | Other Posts
Posted at 6:34 PM, Apr 23, 2008 in Employment Discrimination
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Comments

Kia absolutely refuses to find out if her pay is the same as that of her male predecessor, controlling for inflation. I think Kia is an outstanding advocate. She deserves $160,000 a year, as a recent law grad, just like all the other male recent law grads in NYC with her excellent qualifications.

If anyone agrees, please, let her know how much she is appreciated, right here, in this comment section.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | April 23, 2008 9:16 PM

SC:

I think she does a great job. One thing that I would point out is that a pediatrician who has a 4 year college degree, 4 years of medical school and 3 years of residency training starts out at $80K if they are lucky.

Posted by: throckmorton | April 24, 2008 8:46 AM

WTF? A right to economic equality? Did you really just say that?

Posted by: Joe Bingham | April 24, 2008 1:54 PM

Kia, is there a reason you think companies won't be punished by the market for pay discrimination? I.e., how can a company profit by voluntarily reducing its labor supply? I understand that discrimination occurs, it's just not clear to me how you think companies can "profit" from it. It seems like the opposite would be the case.

Posted by: Joe Bingham | April 24, 2008 2:01 PM

To clarify, my first comment refers to this passage:

"... a law that restores our rights against discrimination and economic inequality."

Posted by: Joe Bingham | April 24, 2008 2:59 PM

Joe: yes there is a reason why i think that. It's called the truth. The very existence of Equal Pay Day (the day in which women's pay catches up with that which their male counterparts were making ) proves that employers have been getting away with paying certain segments of their workforce less than they deserve. And they save the money that should be going into those workers' pockets, thereby increasing their profits. They don't lose most of these workers--only a few figure out they are being discriminated against, and of those who figure this out, even fewer actually then successfully pursue legal claims against them. Some people even keep working or may only stop working when they've been fired for retaliation. Many of these workers only want the back pay they deserve and don't necessarily want to create a mass exodus out of these companies so much as they want to right a wrong.

Posted by: Kia | April 24, 2008 4:55 PM

Hey, nobody's making them work there. Vote with your feet and go to a company that doesn't discriminate.

So would you employ replacing them employment market (a price-based system) with a centrally planned program (a "merit"-based system? That would be a better alternative if you think some people "deserve" certain salaries, I think.

Posted by: Joe Bingham | April 25, 2008 10:07 AM

Kias is so criminal cult indoctrinated, she will not apply her own policy preferences of equal pay for women to the horrible people in her hierarchy.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | April 26, 2008 6:54 AM

Dr. T brings up another point. I find it offensive that a pediatrician at the level of a new partner makes half the lawyer's salary at the level of an intern or resident. A med student has examined hundreds of patient, written orders, assisted in operations, done emergency work for 2 years prior to graduation from school. The law student has never written a demand letter in anger, has zero experience in the real world. Yet, they make $24,000 for summer jobs, and $160,000 upon graduation. There is something shady going on. For example, the fee to the client for any work done by an associate, the equivalent of a medical intern should be $80 plus overhead cost. If the work gets charged under a partner's name or at the same rate as that of a partner, consumer fraud has taken place.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | April 27, 2008 7:26 AM