This week the Louisiana House and Senate passed SB 577 which authorized the creation of an Equal Pay Task Force. The Task Force was to focus on understanding on why women earn so much less than men for equal work, to make recommendations to help close one of the nation’s largest gender pay gaps and to move our State toward a goal of equal pay for equal work. Instead of respecting women and the Legislature’s wishes, Governor Jindal vetoed SB 577. This follows the Governor’s move to scuttle SB 568 in Committee, a bill that would have required all State employees to receive equal pay for equal work.
Louisiana has one of the greatest pay disparities in the nation. Statewide, women earn 67% of what men do for the same work. Baton Rouge, our Capital and Governor Jindal’s hometown, has the fourth-worst pay gap of any metro area in the country. On average, women make 38% less in wages in Baton Rouge than men do. Check out these Quick Stats on Louisiana Women Workers.
“By vetoing SB 577, Governor Jindal chose to celebrate his membership in the coalition of the status quo and missed his opportunity to elevate women in our State for our common benefit: He chooses to do nothing about the one of our nation’s worst gender pay gaps and turns his back on a basic concept even he should understand: equal pay for equal work. Where there are clear disparities, it is a concern to our state.” Senator Peterson said.
“The Governor complains that the State can’t afford the very modest cost to study the issue of Pay Equity, yet he’s been able to shovel millions from our State’s coffers toward corporate-welfare boondoggles and sweetheart deals for consultants and political contributors. The Governor’s veto is just another example of his shamefully warped priorities and is an affront to the women of this State.”
Nevertheless, Senator Peterson will not let Jindal and the Republicans stand in the way of pay equity. As Chair of Select Committee on Women and Children, she will work with legislators and stakeholders to do what the Governor and his cabinet are not willing to do: stand up for women who work hard to support their families.
Governor Jindal’s veto of this bill ensures that this issue will not go away. This bill will become a rallying point for all who believe in rewarding equal work.