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Fair Pay and Other Critical Issues Impacting Families Must Be Top Priority for Congress

Last week, I proudly joined my colleagues in reintroducing two critical proposals that impact all of us – our families, our economy, and the safety and prosperity of our communities.

Last week, I proudly joined my colleagues in reintroducing two bills that aim to reduce violence against and provide fair pay for women and families across our area and country. Often labeled as “women’s issues,” these critical proposals impact all of us – our families, our economy, and the safety and prosperity of our communities.

January marked the beginning of a new Congress, one that I hope differs from the last, with a serious effort by both parties to pass these bills, the Paycheck Fairness Act and the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act (VAWA), and many others.

The Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act

Since it was first signed into law by President Clinton in 1994, VAWA programs have improved the national response to domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking. Through the provision of critical services, as well as engaging communities, VAWA reduced the incidence of domestic violence by more than 50 percent since becoming law. Ultimately, it has brought domestic abuse out of the shadows and protected millions of women across the country. 

Recognizing the importance of the law, Senate Democrats and Republicans last year joined to pass a bipartisan reauthorization of VAWA. However, Republican leadership in the House refused to bring the bill to the floor, meaning that VAWA failed to pass the last Congress.

On Jan. 22, I joined legislation introduced by Rep. Gwen Moore and Rep. John Conyers, among others, to reauthorize VAWA. In the new Congress, there’s no reason to wait or to waste time: Democrats and Republicans must come together to ensure that victims of domestic violence are kept safe and perpetrators are held accountable.

The Paycheck Fairness Act

In his second inaugural address, President Obama stated that our “journey is not complete until our wives, our mothers and daughters can earn a living equal to their efforts.” The Paycheck Fairness Act, of which I am also a co-sponsor, is an important part of this journey.

American women, on average, earn 77 cents on the dollar compared with their male counterparts. Census Data shows that over an average woman’s working life this disparity will add up to a difference of $434,000, compared with male counterparts.  

The Boston Globe recently highlighted that Massachusetts ranks behind every other New England state when it comes to pay equality. You can see a more complete review by state and congressional  district through a report compiled by the National Partnership for Women & Families.

Since 2007, I, along with my Democratic colleagues in Congress, have fought to rectify the Supreme Court’s decision against Lilly Ledbetter and working women who face pay discrimination in the workplace. Four years ago this month, President Obama signed into law the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, a law that allowed women to sue discriminatory employers. However, the fight for pay equality must continue. 

Introduced into Congress last week, the Paycheck Fairness Act aims to close the pay gap by compelling employers to show that pay disparity relates to job performance – not gender. The Act also prevents employers from retaliating against employees who discuss their pay arrangements with co-workers.  

Importantly, two thirds of women in this country are breadwinners for their families, meaning that pay inequality not only affects women, but also children and families. 

I am proud to co-sponsor both the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act and Paycheck Fairness Act. Both bills are critical not only to ensuring equality for women in the home and workplace, but also in providing fairer outcomes for children and families across the United States.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Saber Walsh February 08, 2013 at 05:39 PM
Can this guy really look at us straight in the face and say.... (Sorry, looking for that barf bag I grabbed off a Delta Air Lines flight)
MikeA February 08, 2013 at 06:11 PM
The Congressman is fiddling while Rome burns.
MikeA February 08, 2013 at 06:41 PM
If it wasn't for Congressman Tierney we would be at the mercy of the Republicans. He is helping women get their fair pay.
Saber Walsh February 09, 2013 at 12:31 AM
"If it wasn't for Congressman Tierney we would be at the mercy of the Republicans." Ouch. As an independent, I have a lot of complaints about the Republicans and how stupid some of their policies are, but can't we also say, "if it weren't for the Republicans, the Bolsheviks would be taking even more of our property and assets?" Machiavelli insisted that political expediency is far more important than morality, so the Congressman and the President are on solid ground here. The GAO report has many more details than the congressman indicates (and the data, above, is old, but it's close enough). The most important point of the report: nobody, but nobody, has been able to answer some essential questions like, why is this? Why do men with families make more than men who do not? (Maybe because they are working 3 jobs? Ahh, the GAO doesn't have THOSE data, you silly capitalist misogynist pig, you obviously don't like to run with the herd, comrade!!!). This is another case of how this administration builds legislation where a major segment of voters will scream your name because "you are standing up for women's rights." But the reality here is, until this gets tested out in court to answer the "is this really true? why is this?" in specific cases, any women who step up to test this will likely pay out the nose to attorneys who might promise big returns if they win... only to find that there's no substance to their case. And the lawyers win.
MikeA February 09, 2013 at 12:54 AM
I think the end result of his policies is less pay for everyone - because we have to pay more 'dues' and check with the Redundancy Department Department before we're allowed to dot our i's and cross our t's. I think I just had a cold fusion moment there.
Michael Quinlan February 12, 2013 at 03:48 PM
'Republican leadership in the House refused to bring the bill to the floor...' Thank God.
Chase Schaub February 12, 2013 at 09:43 PM
The fact is that so called 'fair pay' statistics that the Democracts have been referencing to are mostly based off of census results that have been proven to be inaccurate. On average, women do tend to have jobs that pay less than men, but by these numbers it's just because they are working in professions that on average pay less. Those are just the facts.
Cool Fusion February 13, 2013 at 01:40 AM
Any leads on Waldo's where abouts? 2+2=5 Deal with it.
Sydney February 14, 2013 at 11:06 PM
At the end of the day, more government, more unintended consequences and thus even more government until we're crushed by the burden. All people should be treated with respect and fairness. Should a woman working 30 hrs a week get paid what a man working 40 hrs a week gets paid for the same job .. no. Should a man likewise be paid as much as a woman who does the same job but, performs at a higher level, no. Pay should be based upon the quality and value of your work. It does not mean that a trash collector is any less or a human than a teacher. The way I see it, hour for hour, the teacher should, on average, be paid more because they provide greater value. And yes, we all need our trash disposed of but, it does not require the same level of training or skill. The government has far to established a track record of causing more issues than it solves .. just ask you children and grandchildren when they come to realize the burdens they’ll inherited from us and others older than we for the existing social programs. What a bright future we leave them, not
Michael Quinlan February 14, 2013 at 11:53 PM
Just look what we inherited from our parents and grandparents: New Deal (Social Security), Great Society (Medicare, Expand 3rd World Immigration, Welfare), Silent Majority (EPA), Reagan (Amnesty), Clinton (Don't Ask Don't Tell), Bush (Medicare Part D), Obama (ObamaCare). Generally a fast slide to bankruptcy and/or inflation. So it's a tried and true tradition base on the last 100 years. Sigh.
kerstin locherie February 15, 2013 at 07:26 AM
Saber, Republicans in Massachusetts represent 13% of the electorate. We have a one party state. I don't even know why people talk about them, they are irrelevant. However a society without checks and balances can never be free or democratic.
kerstin locherie February 15, 2013 at 07:29 AM
Chase, there is no pay disparity. Women in Massachusetts out earn men three to one. There are more women employed in Massachusetts over men. Women live 30% longer than men do, should men receive their retirement at age 55 and women at age 65 ? After all, to have parity, time equals money ?
Who Me? February 15, 2013 at 11:05 AM
Congressman....Should we legalize money laundering? Might want to consider it as it seems legal already... Just trying to be helpful....
Bob February 15, 2013 at 01:47 PM
Didn't know the President was a Republican! The women on his staff make @18% less than their male counterparts. But don't let facts get in the way of your rants...
Sean Ward February 15, 2013 at 08:45 PM
Discussing pay arrangements with co-workers should be completely illegal and should result in termination for male or female workers. It sows discontent within the organization because one of the two will end up feeling slighted because they either failed to negotiate the same deal as their co-worker or they just aren't as good at their job. Most workers can't admit they are not as good at their job so it will not be likely that they will accept being told they are not as good at their job as a reason. This has nothing to do with sex, it has to do with being a valuable asset to your employer and then having the strength to negotiate your salary with them or being willing to take your skills to their competition and negotiating your salary there. This law will only force employers to give out salaries the person doesn't deserve to avoid the appearance of discriminating.
Jim Smith February 15, 2013 at 11:06 PM
Allegedly women make .77cents on every dollar made by their male counterpart. First of all, are the Metrics accurate ? No one has fact checked this statistic. Number two, how do you compensate men for living much shorter lives over women ? Women live 30% longer lives over men. I visit Brooksby Village in Danvers, having friends there. I also visit the Greater Lynn Senior Services and volunteer. There is a plethora of women over men living beyond their eighties. I do not think there will ever be complete parity between the sexes. Let's face it, would a woman propose to a man ? Keep him comfortable at home caring for the children ? Buy him a car ? Take him on vacations and shopping at the Mall or at Home Depot ? I think not, yet men have done this over the generations. Because that was American Culture and traditional. I don't mind change, but don't throw it in my face at every corner, while I am paying my children's college education, cars, insurance expense, and all that goes with preparing my children for their future and hopefully gainful employment. I think there is a disconnect here. Maybe it's the polarizing effect of our politicians. Seeking to divide us rather than unite us as a household team. Men & Women when amicably teamed together can make quite a difference in the way our society evolves.
john February 15, 2013 at 11:09 PM
His convicted wife was sure getting her fair share. He has little credibility and NONE on this issue.
Jim Smith February 15, 2013 at 11:22 PM
Sean, no one should be terminated for expressing their constitutional right to free speech. Whether in or out of the work place, people should be free to expound upon their philosophies and voice their opinion. Every time there is adversity, whether with free speech or gun control, it seems that our main stream media, demonizes our constitutional rights. If anything we are a country over-policed, over-governed, over-regulated, over-taxed, over-lawyered, over-micro-managed, over-worked, by a government that should be over-thrown. I am part of the 99% that is generally happy and move along with my life, doing the right thing. But when I am oppressed by a tyrannical government, told that the government knows what's best for me and my family, stripped of my constitutional freedoms of which past generations have fought. Then, I am to blame, if I do nothing and allow our society to consume us with their bureaucracy. Subjecting us to an economic dictatorship, under governmental economic slavery.
Sean Ward February 15, 2013 at 11:30 PM
So Jim, are you also suggesting that employees should be able to disclose confidential corporate trade secrets to competitors under their constitutional right to free speech? Perhaps they should be able to verbally describe Coca-Cola's exact chemical formula or announce changes in interest rates that will not be announced to the public until the following day? Or perhaps they can announce sensitive and private medical information they find out about their co-workers to other co-workers? There is a difference between freedom of speech and breaching confidentiality.
Sean Ward February 15, 2013 at 11:44 PM
One of the factors I doubt is being taken into account here: Women are still more likely to choose to spend years out of the workforce to have and raise children then men. When they come back they are missing those years worth of experience and business agility. I have met many women who spent their childrens entire childhood outside of the workplace then when they came back to work they don't know how to use the current versions of common business tools like Excel or Word. I've never met a man that took 18 years off to raise his children.
Sean Ward February 16, 2013 at 12:54 AM
If the Republican leadership refused to bring VAWA to the floor then it had probably been laced with hidden craziness that didn't belong in it. That seems to be the way things are lately. Make a bill that makes sense in almost all aspects but then put a few ridiculous things in there with it that cause it to get squashed then villify the republican party as "women haters" because they didn't pass it.
David Arsenault February 16, 2013 at 09:42 AM
http://www.facebook.com/mahealthyworkplace
MikeAaa February 19, 2013 at 06:28 PM
He did not know what his wife was doing. Do you always know where your wife is going when she goes shopping. I don't.
MikeA February 19, 2013 at 07:01 PM
"many imitators but no equals ..."
Bob February 19, 2013 at 07:23 PM
I do if she and her brother pay for a Caribbean vacation for me!
Diane Lee February 19, 2013 at 08:59 PM
wasn't there all ready an act to make equal pay for men and women. The Equal Pay Act of 1963 signed by JFK. I never have felt like I was paid less for my job because I am a woman. Being a corporate account for the past 25 I have add access to payroll information, so I know what many of my co workerhs have made. In most work places it is against company policy to discuss salaries, but I'm sure most people discuss it. I never discuss my salary or financial situation with friends or coworkers, it is none of their business and I could care less what others make.

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