Heed the warning
Equality, and pay equality specifically, has been an American debate for centuries. In 1963 the people of Vermont passed the Fair Employment Act, outlawing pay discrimination, and yet 40-plus years later women in Vermont were earning just 84 cents per dollar earned by men. Vermont citizens were overwhelmingly in favor of equal pay, and with a Democratic majority in both the House and Senate, Gov. Shumlin signed it into law.
The new law ties up some of the loopholes in Vermont’s previous equal pay initiatives. Employers now must have business reasons for paying workers unequal wages. New protections for working mothers have been included.
Surprising to myself, and some residents of Vermont, was the opposition shown by the GOP. Nearly half of the House Republicans voted against equal pay, showing just how out of touch with the desires of Vermont residents they are.
Although this is a victory, and a step forward for Vermont, it is also an ominous reminder of the importance of a strong democratic presence in Montpelier.
Casey Ann Short
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