Apologies for the long post, but this shit makes me want to vomit.
On April 23, 2008 CongressÂ blocked consideration ofÂ the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, in a 56-42 cloture vote. (You can see who voted for/against the bill here.) This actÂ was in response toÂ a Supreme Court decision that Lilly Ledbetter, who had worked for Goodyear Tires for nearly 20 years, was not entitled to the $223,776 in back pay and more than $3 million in punitive damages that had been awarded her by a jury of her peers. Ledbetter had received two performance-based awards, yet when she approached retirement, she was informed by an anonymous letter that she was making approx. $560 less per-monthÂ than the lowest paid man at Goodyear.
The Supreme Court determined that she was not eligible for the damages awarded because she did not file her lawsuit within 180 days of being issued the paycheck reflecting the discrimination. As Gail Collins of the New York TimesÂ points out in a great op-ed column on the subject, “In other words, pay discrimination is illegal unless it goes on for more than six months.” Bullshit.
The legislation in question would have allowed potential plaintiffs to go to court over pay discrimination, even if the requisite six months had passed.
Now the fact that this legislation failed in the Senate is bad enough. It’s rare that employees know what other employees are making, and if they find out, it’s not normally within the first 180 days of their employment. But what makes this all the worse is that presidential nominee John McCain failed to even show up to vote on this important issue.
Think that’s bad? It gets even worse. When asked about his absence, McCain defended his decision, claiming that he wouldn’t have voted for the LLFPA anyway, since it â€œopens us up for lawsuits, for all kinds of problems and difficulties.â€ DUH. If women, who currently make an average ofÂ $.77 to every $1.00 earned by male employees, were to be able to sue their employers for pay discrimination, there would likelyÂ be a lotÂ more “problems and difficulties” for the douchebags who have failed to pay them fairly.
But it gets even worse. McCain went on to claim that women need more â€œeducation and training, particularly since more and more women are heads of their households, as much or more than anybody else. And itâ€™s hard for them to leave their families when they donâ€™t have somebody to take care of them.â€
Wait a second. In a nation where women make up at least 57% of most college campuses, and where more than half of all associates, bachelors, masters, and doctorate degrees are awarded to women, McCain thinks that we need to get more “education and training”? As far as I know, McCain received no more than a Bachelors Degree, so maybe he’s the one who needs to get a little more education on the issues. (I apologize for the obvious ad hominem, but seriously.)
Apparently John McCain thinks most employed women look something like this:
[youtube width="425" height="355"]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lj3iNxZ8Dww[/youtube]
An an educated woman, I am pissed. If you want to sign the MoveOn.org petition calling out John McCain on this issue, you can go here. They also encourage educated women to upload their anonymous CVs to show JM that we’re not as dumb as we (apparently) look.