Archived Story

Time for a fair minimum wage

Published 9:36am Thursday, April 17, 2014

Last week Senate Republicans voted to block the Paycheck Fairness Act for a third time and refused to allow the act to even be debated on the senate floor.

As with their opposition to any increase in the minimum wage the Republican Senators are falsely claiming that passage of the act would hurt our nations’ economic recovery. Their accusations are nothing more than a political ploy to appease their corporate donors and save them from lawsuits designed to hold them accountable for paying employees less than they deserve while raking in record profits.

Their failure to pass this legislation has made it clear the GOP have no interest in addressing the wage gap in our nation in helping our working women.

According to the National Partnership for Women and Families, Michigan is currently ranked 7th in the wage gender gap and Michigan Senate candidate Terri Lynn Lands’ comments from 2010 sum up the current impertinent attitude of many Republicans and that is that women are more interested in flexibility in a job than in wages. As if taking their child to soccer practice is more important than being able to afford rent.

This way of thinking demonstrates just out of touch they are with the struggles of American workers and as President Obama stated this week “no one chooses to be paid less.”

Once again Republicans have proven that they do not respect the rights of women and are willing to alienate them even at the expense of losing votes in upcoming elections.

Last Tuesday was Equal Pay Day in our nation and to celebrate President Obama signed an executive order to take proactive efforts to ensure that women receive equal pay for equal work but unfortunately this order only covers federal workers.

According to 2012 census information on average working women only make 77 cents for every dollar that a man makes for doing the same job regardless of their level of education and women of color quite often make even less. African American women average about 67 cents and Hispanic women average about 54 cents for every dollar white males earn.

As more and more women become the principal wage earners for their households refusing to pay women equally is actually hurting our economic recovery as millions of dollars are lost every year that would have been pumped into the economy to pay for goods and services.

It’s time that wage discrepancy in this nation is addressed. We claim to be a great nation and yet we consistently suppress the rights of the powerless and those we consider to be less significant to the political machine.

By refusing to pass this act the GOP are telling women that they are not equal citizens and that their contributions are not as valued. After years of attacking their rights and dictating their health choices the GOP is losing the majority of female voters and its actions are making it clear that members feel it is unnecessary to cater to them.

By refusing to pass this act the GOP is proving to the nation that they are nothing but a party of rich, old, white men and have every intention of staying that way.

 

William Crandell is a community activist and member of the Michigan Education Association and the Michigan Democratic Party. He is also a member of the South County Democratic Club where he has served as their communications director and as the chairperson of the SCDC Blue Tiger Community Action Committee.

 

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