Equal pay for equal work is a fundamental American principle!
Lilly Ledbetter just delivered a fiery speech that made the case for access to the courts the way no lawyer ever could, as the roaring DNC crowd confirms. In the interest of timeliness here are my scattered notes, with a more coherent reflection to come. (And here's my prior post on her DNC appearance)
Mrs. Ledbetter started off by noting how appropriate it was that she was speaking about her fight for gender equality on today, the 88th anniversary of the certified ratification of the 19th Amendment. She also noted how unfortunate it was that this fight for equality is so far from over.
Then she shared a bit of her story. Mrs. Ledbetter broke the gender barrier as the first female supervisor in her section at Goodyear, and broke her back to provide for her family despite being paid unequally, because of her gender, for years as a loyal employee there. She said, "I thought about moving on but in the end I couldn’t ignore the discrimination, so I went to court. [And the crowd's roars of applause indicate support of this decision]."
A jury awarded her for the discrimination, something she hoped would make my Goodyear "feel the sting, learn a lesson, and never discriminate against women again…"
But we all know what happened with the Supreme Court's now-infamous decision last summer. So Mrs. Ledbetter spoke about the legislation she helped champion, the Fair Pay Act, which, as she said, would "make sure that what was done to me couldn’t be done again."
Ledbetter says Obama has promised to appoint judges "who will enforce laws that protect every day people, like me." She adds, "This isn’t a Democrat or Republican issue, it’s a FAIRNESS issue."
My case is over and I will never receive the pay I deserved. But there will be a far richer reward if we secure fair pay for our children and grandchildren... Equal pay for equal work is a fundamental American principle! We need leaders in this country who will fight for it."