Big business threatens Equal Pay Opportunity Act in Washington State

The State House took a big step forward on equal pay this year with a strong vote to pass the Equal Pay Opportunity Act. Then a Senate committee quickly voted to move the bill forward too. But since then, no further action has been taken.

There’s broad-based support for the equal pay bill, which includes important provisions to improve pay equity and protect workers’ right to discuss their salaries.

But apparently some of the big business lobby groups at the state capitol are saying they have “concerns” about it. (Yep, they’re saying they have concerns about an equal pay bill. In 2018.) 

In fact, the word from Olympia is that the business groups are saying that the only way they’ll accept the equal pay bill is if the state takes away the right of local governments to pass their own laws to further advance equity.

Where’d they get that idea? Well, preempting the power of local government has long been a top priority of the right-wing policy shop ALEC and other national business groups. That’s because they know that new advances on labor standards often emerge from the local level… and they don’t want to see any more new advances on labor standards.

Here’s the thing. The business lobbyists may think they get to decide when workers in our state make progress. Some state senators may even agree. 

But we have some “concerns” about their attitude, because that’s not how this works. The business types may be used to being the boss at work, but we’re the boss of our state legislators. And they need to hear from us. 

Contact your state senators today and tell them to pass equal pay without taking away any other rights.

Do the business lobbyists think they’re the only ones with concerns? We have concerns that it’s 2018 and our Equal Pay Act hasn’t been updated since 1943. We’re concerned that women are still only making 79 cents for every dollar a man makes. We’re concerned that it’s several decades past time to move forward and they keep on putting obstacles in the way of getting this thing done.

Visit workingwa.org for more information about the Equal Pay Opportunity Act and how to help get it passed in Washington!