January 29, 2010
Statement by Randi Weingarten,
President, American Federation of Teachers,
On the First Anniversary of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act
The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act corrected the U.S. Supreme Court’s misinterpretation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 regarding the timely filing of pay-discrimination claims. Lilly Ledbetter, a 20-year employee of Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co., had sued when she discovered that her pay was far below that of men doing similar work. The Supreme Court decision barring her claim as being filed too late was reversed by the new statute.
WASHINGTON—One year ago, we celebrated a milestone in the fight to win equality for women in the workplace when President Obama signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act into law—the very first bill-signing of his new presidency. But the hard work to make fairness a reality continues.
The AFT has worked long and hard to secure all workers’ right to fair wages. But we cannot do it alone. This new law was a clear message from President Obama and Congress on the rights and protections that must be guaranteed to all workers.
Now, along with Lilly Ledbetter, we are working to win congressional passage of the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would strengthen enforcement of the Equal Pay Act.
The AFT has always fought for fair pay, especially for many members who work in education and healthcare—jobs traditionally held by women and, therefore, historically underpaid. We commend Lilly Ledbetter for her unfaltering commitment to fairness and equality for all workers.
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The AFT represents more than 1.4 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.