Transcript: Sen. Barbara Mikluski’s opening statement on the Paycheck Fairness Act – April 1, 2014

Partial transcript of remarks by Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Maryland) on the Paycheck Fairness Act. The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions hearing was held on April 1, 2014:

For me, I want to make sure that women have a fair shot – a fair shot at equal pay for equal work.

I want to finish the job we began with Lily Ledbetter in which we kept the courthouse door open so that if you felt the civil rights bill for equal pay have been violated, you would have access to the courts with not the arbitrary decisions of time limits.

Now we find that the Equal Pay Act again is thwarted over the years through either retaliation for trying to find out what others are paid in your workplace or that there are increasing loopholes saying that it’s not comparable – it’s not identical work or not comparable work.

So we want to finish the job and end the retaliation and paycheck secrecy and also close the loopholes that prevent equal pay for equal or comparable act.

In 1963, Lyndon Johnson wanted to pass three major civil rights bills: equal pay for equal work, the Civil Rights Act, and also the Voting Rights Act.

He began with equal pay because he thought it would be the easiest to pass and the easiest to enforce.

And here we are now 50 years later in some ways fighting the same battles.

So we hope that through this legislation we will finally end paycheck secrecy, paycheck retaliation if you try – or workplace retaliation if you try to find out or offer any kind of advocacy in your own behalf to get equal pay, and also to close those loopholes.

Women are almost half the workforce. In many instances, 40% are now the sole breadwinners for families. And many, over the years, for many decades have said, “We don’t have to pay you as much because guys are the breadwinner.” Well, now the women are the breadwinners, and they’re tired of getting paid in crumbs.

So, this is what we’re trying to do here – is to look at the legislation, look at the best way forward to continue that legislation…

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