Voting on the Ledbetter Fair Pay Act

Voting on the Ledbetter Fair Pay Act was set to occur on Wednesday, but is now going to happen on Friday of this week.  Most followers of this legislation view it, along with the Paycheck Fairness Act (which will also be voted on on Friday), to be warm-up votes to the Employee Free Choice Act.


To recap, Lilly Ledbetter worked at an Alabama Goodyear tire plant for nearly 20 years before learning that she was not paid as much as men performing her job duties and won $3.8 million for the apparent discriminatory pay.  But, the United States Supreme Court overruled the lower court and held that as the law is currently written, minorities have 180 days from the time their employer began paying them less than their counterparts in order to sue.  Since Ms. Ledbetter waited 20 years to sue, she was precluded from recovering money for the alleged disparate pay practices.


Tomorrow the House of Representatives is scheduled to vote on whether to pass the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act (and the Paycheck Fairness Act which I will write about over the weekend).  The bill was voted on last year, too, and went the way EFCA votes went: passed in the House of Representatives, but died in the Senate.  That was last year.  Now there are enough Democrats in Senate to prevent the Republicans from blocking this bill as well as the other pro-labor bills like EFCA, the RESPECT Act, the Patriot Employer Act, and the Flexible Working Families Act.


Both the Fair Pay Act (and the Paycheck Fairness Act) are touted as gender equity laws, but that is a misnomer – just like how there is no choice in the Employee Free Choice Act.  Liberals use an often quoted but rarely defined statistic that women make 77 cents for every dollar a man makes.  As stated by Allison Kasic:


This statistic compares the wages of the median full-time working man and the median full-time working woman.  It tells us nothing about the existence or non-existence of wage discrimination.  The wage gap ignores a myriad of other relevant factors including education level, years in the workforce, and type of occupation.  Once these other factors are taken into account, the wage gap shrinks.

The fall out of this legislation is enormous.  Ms. Kasic correctly states that the Fair Pay Act would allow a former employee – from 40 years ago – bring a lawsuit against a company long after that employee has moved on from the company.  Likewise, Drew Greenblatt the owner of Marlin Steel Wire Products, a small business that makes wire baskets, is scared that his employment insurance premiums will increase as a result of the myriad of unknown lawsuits that could be asserted decades later.  Without a doubt, the passage of this will make the cost of doing business increase exponentially.


Of course I will update you on both the Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and the Paycheck Fairness Act after Congress votes.


Obama’s Pro-Union Labor Secretary


Happy New Year – or should I say for you business owners – Weary New Year?


Those of us following the prospective labor and employment law changes that will likely occur under President Obama have been waiting for him to announce his Labor Secretary.  He announced it about a week or ten days ago – and then the Holidays happened and I am just now getting around to blogging about it.  Although I am a couple days behind the news, I haven’t seen much coverage about the appointment, so hopefully this will still educate some of you.


Obama named Hilda Solis, a Director of the pro-union lobbying group, American Rights at Work, and the Democratic representative from East L.A. as his Labor Secretary.  Both of her parents were in unions, the majority of her PAC contributions supposedly came from organized labor, and she enjoys a 97% approval rating from the AFL-CIO.  Oh – and she co-sponsored the Employee Free Choice Act.


In case you’re still one of those people in denial that the labor laws of this country will be rewritten in 2009, when introducing Solis, Obama stated, “I know that Hilda will show the same kind of leadership as Secretary of Labor that she showed in California and on the Education and Labor Committee by protecting workers’ rights – from organizing to collective bargaining, from keeping our workplaces safe to making our unions strong.”


Unions are already cozying up to her, as well.  The AFL-CIO’s John Sweeney told the New York Times that he was “thrilled” with her selection.  The SEUI President said, “It’s extraordinary.  On every issue that’s important to us, she has stood up for an America where everyone’s hard work is valued and rewarded.”  The SEUI Secretary-Treasurer followed suit by correctly stating that Solis, “has one of the strongest pro-worker voting records in Congress.”


I am now more confident than ever that my previous posts on this blog, i.e. EFCA, RESPECT Act, Patriot Act, Working Families Act, etc, will become law along with other pro-labor legislation that has not yet been dreamed up.


This cute acronym is short for “Re-Empowerment of Skilled and Professional Employees and Construction Trades-workers,” and it will essentially overturn the Kentucky River decision that defined who is a “supervisor” under the National Labor Relations Act.


Currently, a supervisor is defined as someone who assigns other employees to overall duties, is held accountable for directing subordinates to undertake specific tasks, and has the discretion to do so without close direction from management.


However, the RESPECT Act will change the definition of a supervisor to: “any individual having authority in the interest of the employer and for a majority of the individual’s work time to hire, transfer, suspend, lay off, recall, promote, discharge, assign, reward, or discipline other employees or responsibility to direct them, or to adjust their grievances, or recommend such action if in connection with the foregoing, the exercise of such authority is not of a merely routine or clerical nature, but requires the use of independent judgment.”


Currently, even if a supervisor does not spend a majority of time actually hiring, firing, and disciplining, they are excluded from bargaining units.  By deleting “assignment” and “direction,” the classification of who is a supervisor is drastically limited since very few people actually spend more than 50% of their time hiring, firing, disciplining, promoting, etc.  Should the RESPECT Act pass, many supervisors will no longer be supervisors, but rather members of a bargaining unit.