June 20, 2011
Cynthia Leonor Garza
Statement by Randi Weingarten,
President, American Federation of Teachers,
On Supreme Court Decision Against ‘Women of Wal-Mart’
In a 5-4 vote, justices blocked a sex discrimination lawsuit filed on behalf
of 1.5 million women against Wal-Mart.
WASHINGTON—The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision today, denying 1.5 million women the right to bring legitimate discrimination claims in a class-action lawsuit against retail giant Wal-Mart without so much as a hearing, forecloses a chance for justice and a voice. This decision is a huge setback for women facing workplace discrimination, including many who earn less than men for doing the same job. It sends a chilling message that Goliath still has the power to beat the Davids of the world.
Wal-Mart continually has tried to stop its employees from working together to advocate for their interests—first by denying them the right to collectively bargain, and now by denying them real access to the courts. Because of this ruling, now each of the 1.5 million plaintiffs will have to file a separate lawsuit. We will continue to support the “women of Wal-Mart” in their fight for fairness and in Wal-Mart workers’ struggle for a union to give them a real voice in their workplace.
We strongly urge Congress to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would provide more effective remedies to victims of sex-based wage discrimination. The bill passed in the House of Representatives in January 2009 but ultimately was defeated in the Senate.
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The AFT represents 1.5 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.