Equal Pay Bill a Long Time Coming

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The state Senate and Assembly are expected to pass the historic “Equal Pay” bill later today to provide workers who have been discriminated against in employee pay because of their gender a legal recourse other than the over-crowded federal court system.

Authored by Rep. Chris Sinicki and Sen. Dave Hansen, the bill is good for workers and good for businesses. And good news for the state of Wisconsin.

Despite the arguments of conservatives and corporate heads, the bill simply adds common sense protections for workers covered under the state’s Fair Employment Law.

You’re likely to hear nonsense from the right that providing basic state legal protections to workers is somehow a “job killer.”

Wisconsin is a terrific place to live, work and raise a family. Employers who want to cry “I’ll flee” everytime they don’t get their own way do little good in the long run for the state anyway.

If state government allows the relationship with big business here to only be about economics, we’re always going to lose out to southern states willing to hand over the treasury in ill-advised tax breaks to lure businesses that will leave when another state is willing to give even more tax dollars away.

If Wisconsin continues to have the best education, best trained, hardest working employees — business, and workers, will thrive here. Our state must never compete in the lowest common denominator game to try and beg business to come (or remain). The long-term losers in the game are always the taxpayers and workers. 

The only ones who make out are the big business owners who leverage one state against another.

Never forget, it’s the same lack of regulation and unending advantage given to big employers over working men and women that directly led to the economic disaster from which we are trying to emerge.

The economic collapse needs to be a wake-up call that the way we’ve done to business to help nothing but big business under Reagan and the Bushes has failed. 

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Scot Ross served as Executive Director of One Wisconsin Now & the Institute from 2007 to 2019.