Some think there is not a dime’s worth of difference between the two dominant political parties in the US. The sentiment is heard all the time, whether the talk is of civil defense, military spending, education, equal rights or big business — and let’s not even begin with negative connotations (they’re all doing it). Right.

I have always thought the Republican emphasis on “your” family values (they certainly don’t seem to be theirs), was just a smoke screen to hide a bias in the party for corporate interests and against the average joe. Let’s see if that is so. Are Republicans as likely to support wage earners as Democrats? You might think so, what with Republicans generally crowing about NASCAR dads, soccer moms and the throngs of god-fearing church-goers — all supposedly part of the Republican fold. But, what is this…? on May 29,2007, the US Supreme Court issued an opinion in favor of Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., limiting to 180 days the ability of plaintiffs (read: employees) to file sex or race discrimination and disparate pay claims against an employer who well… cheats their employees.

For some background see: Ledbetter, Lilly v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.

The gist of the story, is whether Lilly Ledbetter had been pay shorted for over 19 years, and whether she was owed compensation. Lesser courts ruled in her favor, but Goodyear took the case all the way to the Supreme Court, which in a 5-4 ruling limited back-pay to 180 days from the time the claim was filed, citing precedence and telling Congress, if they wished an extended remedy in discrimination cases, then they would have to legislate the specifics. Toward that end, the House offered legislation — the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which would enhance employee ability to sue an employer for back-pay owed. July 31, 2007, the House passed this measure by a vote of 225 to 199. Breaking the vote down by party, the vote came out: (223-6) among Democrats and (2-193) for Republicans. Perhaps blue collar workers should be told how well Republicans look out for their interests, when the interests of corporations are also at stake.

But even worse, the decider has declared his intention to veto the measure if it ever reaches the White House. There is much more to this issue, but keep in mind, the core claim revolves around how difficult it is for an employee to learn what co-workers are earning. Without this legislation, the taboo about discussing wages among employees, works for the employer and against the employee and as expected Republicans are working for their rightful constituents — big business.

——— UPDATE ———–
A small addendum, since AP (on Wednesday, August 1) quotes White House scare tactics on the mechanics of this bill.

The legislation “would allow employees to bring a claim of pay or other employment-related discrimination years or even decades after the alleged discrimination occurred,” the White House said.

Not true as written, the Ledbetter Fair Pay Act would not allow a claim years old, unless the grievance is continuous and the final injury occurred within the last 180 days. In short, claims must be filed 180 days from the last injury, not the first. That’s the fairness in the Fair Pay Act.

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