Congressman Jim Cooper

Representing the 5th District of Tennessee
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Cooper Marks Equal Pay Day, Cosponsors Paycheck Fairness Act

Apr 4, 2017
Press Release

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper (TN-05) today recognized Equal Pay Day, cosponsoring the Paycheck Fairness Act and renewing his call to close the pay gap between women and men.

“It's sad that in 2017 we are still having to fight to give our mothers, wives and daughters an equal chance to make a living,” Rep. Cooper said. “They should never have been discriminated against, but the fact that it continues is tragic. We need equal pay for equal work!”

Last week, President Trump reversed the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces order, which then-President Obama enacted in 2014 to ensure that companies with federal contracts obeyed civil rights and labor laws. The Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces order had included a pair of rules focused on helping working women – wage & salary transparency and a ban on forced arbitration clauses for various discrimination claims.

Equal Pay Day is held in early April because it symbolizes when – more than three months into 2017 – women’s wages finally catch up with what men were paid in 2016. Nationally, women working full-time, year-round jobs continue to earn about 80 cents for every dollar earned by men.

At current rates, women will not see pay equity with men until 2059. And according to the National Women’s Law Center, a Tennessee woman would have to work until she is 69 to make what a man makes by the time he is 60.

The Paycheck Fairness Act would provide several remedies to women who are not getting equal pay for equal work. It would guarantee that women can challenge pay discrimination and hold employers accountable.

The Paycheck Fairness Act would bolster the Equal Pay Act of 1963 by holding employers accountable for discriminatory practices, ending the practice of pay secrecy, easing workers’ ability to individually or jointly challenge pay discrimination and strengthening available remedies for wronged employees.

Rep. Cooper joined Rep. Rosa DeLauro (CT-03) in cosponsoring the legislation in the House, and Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) introduced a companion bill in the Senate.