Walker Versus Working Women

The hits keep on coming from Wisconsin’s Gov. Scott Walker and his allies in the state legislature. On Thursday, Walker signed a bill reversing the state’s equal pay law, which means there’s now no state-level remedy for pay discrimination against women.

It’s yet another way that the tone-deaf Walker is taking power away from working people. The pay gap between men and women is an ongoing problem that hurts women’s status in the economy and their ability to retire securely. The Wisconsin Alliance for Women’s Health estimates that the pay gap costs families $4,000 a year. And, as State Rep. Christine Sinicki, the author of the original bill noted, Wisconsin’s law was working:

“Since the law was put into place, employers actually took notice and were very conscious of the fact that they had to follow this law.”

It’s another example of Walker’s hostility to the rights employees should have in the workplace. What Walker and politicians like him have been doing is shifting power away from working people and towards their bosses.

State Sen. Glenn Grothman, an ALEC member and a major supporter of the bill that repealed the equal-pay law, went even further than Walker in dismissing women’s rights at work. Let’s let him speak for himself:

You could argue that money is more important for men. I think a guy in their first job, maybe because they expect to be a breadwinner someday, may be a little more money-conscious.

Again, that isn’t a line of dialogue from “Mad Men.” That’s an actual state Senator, in 2012, declaring that even if pay discrimination exists, it’s not a big deal because men’s income matters more than women’s.

When we go door to door in neighborhoods in Wisconsin and across the country, we ask thousands of people a week what they care about. And to my knowledge, not one person we visited has ever said “we need to make it easier for a business to pay a woman less than a man for doing the same work.”

Photo of Wisconsin State Senator Glenn Grothman by Wispolitics on Flickr, via Creative Commons