This afternoon, two pieces of
legislation that will give workers--particularly women--a shot at
contesting unfair pay practices sailed through the House, no thanks to
the Illinois' Republican congressional delegation.
Kirk (10th), Don Manzullo (16th), Peter ...
This afternoon, two pieces of legislation that will give workers—particularly women—a shot at contesting unfair pay practices sailed through the House, no thanks to the Illinois’ Republican congressional delegation.
Reps. Mark Kirk (10th), Don Manzullo (16th), Peter Roskam (6th), John Shimkus (19th), Aaron Schock (18th) and Judy Biggert (13th) all did their part to try and kill the bills in the interest of big business (as many of them did last year).
The final vote on the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which extends the timeframe for employees to file a wage discrepancy complaint, was 241-171. The Paycheck Fairness Act, which closes loopholes in an existing equal-pay-for-equal-work law, passed by a 256-163 margin.
Both measures now head to the Senate, where another stamp of approval could come as early as next week. And President-elect Brack Obama has signaled that he’ll sign the measures into law when he takes office.
While this first step toward passage is in itself a small victory for American workers, the Washington Post reports that today’s votes are merely a "prelude":
The early foray into labor rights issues is a prelude to what could be the most controversial bill that Congress tackles in the first year of the Obama administration—legislation to take away the right of employers to demand secret-ballot elections by workers before unions could be recognized.
Both labor groups and the business groups who vehemently oppose it say the Employee Free Choice Act could tip the balance of power in labor efforts to organize workplaces.
It’s not clear when the EFCA might be introduced. But already conservative groups and big business interests are trying to slow labor’s momentum. As Sen. John Ensign, (R-Nevada) tells the New York Times, “It is a total game changer for the next 40 to 50 years if the Democrats are able to get this legislation that eliminates the right to a secret ballot. We are fighting it hard.”
Game changer? That’s exactly the point.