MADISON, Wis. — A top lobbyist at Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce unleashed an angry tirade at a Tuesday press conference held by women opposing WMC’s attacks on pay equity in Wisconsin. The lobbyist, WMC Vice President of Government Relations Scott Manley, was described in media reports as having “shot back with heated words” and referring to criticism of WMC’s anti-pay equity stance as “absurd,” “shameful” and “unfounded.”
One Wisconsin Now Research Director Jenni Dye, who emceed the press conference, said she was “shocked” by the tone of Manley’s comments, which were made to the media after he appeared at the press conference held in the State Capitol Assembly Parlor.
Previously WMC spent at least $6 million to support Gov. Scott Walker’s campaigns, including another $700,000 just placed this week in pro-Walker television ads. Walker signed the repeal of the state’s pay equity law in 2012 at the behest of WMC.
“WMC could not be more clear: they oppose equal pay for women in the workplace,” said Dye. “There is no explaining away WMC’s anti-pay equity position. WMC spent money to fight pay equity. WMC spent millions to support anti-pay equity elected officials, like Scott Walker.”
The press conference was held to call attention to a fundraising solicitation by WMC in which a caricature of a woman holding a sign that reads “Pay Equity NOW!” appears next to text reading “Anti-business voices are loud and clear!”
Several elected and community leaders attended and spoke at the event, including Rep. Christine Sinicki, co-author along with Sen. Dave Hansen of the since-repealed state’s Equal Pay Enforcement Act, Rep. Chris Taylor, Martha De La Rosa, Executive Director of 9to5 Wisconsin and Lori Compas, Executive Director of Wisconsin Business Alliance.
In his tirade, Manley singled out Rep. Taylor (D-Madison), who has been outspoken in her support for pay equity, and critical of the WMC-supported legislation signed by Gov. Walker that repealed the state’s Equal Pay Enforcement Act. Manley also added that he saw no reason to change the WMC fundraising solicitation targeting pay equity supporters.
“We had gathered to call attention to a disgraceful fundraising appeal from WMC that mocks pay equity,” said Dye. “If WMC does not want to be called out for opposing pay equity, their solution is simple – stop using words that oppose equal pay. Until they do so, WMC’s position is as clear as it is outdated.”