Governor Walker and Wisconsin Republicans Repeal Equal Pay Law

War on women? What war on women?

WASHINGTON — A Wisconsin law that made it easier for victims of wage discrimination to have their day in court was repealed on Thursday, after Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) quietly signed the bill.

The 2009 Equal Pay Enforcement Act was meant to deter employers from discriminating against certain groups by giving workers more avenues via which to press charges. Among other provisions, it allows individuals to plead their cases in the less costly, more accessible state circuit court system, rather than just in federal court.

In November, the state Senate approved SB 202, which rolled back this provision. On February, the Assembly did the same. Both were party-line votes in Republican-controlled chambers.

SB 202 was sent to Walker on March 29. He had, according to the state constitution, six days to act on the bill. The deadline was 5:00 p.m. on Thursday. The governor quietly signed the bill into law on Thursday, according to the Legislative Reference Bureau, and it is now called Act 219.

I’m sure if asked whether they support such measures, Mitt Romney and all other Republican candidates will say, “This is just a distraction! This is the liberal media trying to change the subject from what really matters! Not bodily self-determination! Not equal pay! What women want are jobs! Not to be paid for them!”

Your Thoughts?

About Daniel Fincke

Dr. Daniel Fincke  has his PhD in philosophy from Fordham University and spent 11 years teaching in college classrooms. He wrote his dissertation on Ethics and the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. On Camels With Hammers, the careful philosophy blog he writes for a popular audience, Dan argues for atheism and develops a humanistic ethical theory he calls “Empowerment Ethics”. Dan also teaches affordable, non-matriculated, video-conferencing philosophy classes on ethics, Nietzsche, historical philosophy, and philosophy for atheists that anyone around the world can sign up for. (You can learn more about Dan’s online classes here.) Dan is an APPA  (American Philosophical Practitioners Association) certified philosophical counselor who offers philosophical advice services to help people work through the philosophical aspects of their practical problems or to work out their views on philosophical issues. (You can read examples of Dan’s advice here.) Through his blogging, his online teaching, and his philosophical advice services each, Dan specializes in helping people who have recently left a religious tradition work out their constructive answers to questions of ethics, metaphysics, the meaning of life, etc. as part of their process of radical worldview change.

  • ‘Tis Himself

    Walker et al have made their disdain for working and middle class Americans quite obvious before this. So this repeal comes as no surprise.

  • nijm

    Maybe I am not searching hard enough but what was the justification for repealing the law? I don’t understand the purpose of that action.

    • ChristianCannibal

      Businesses aren’t ready to equalize pay. They’re happy paying women less than men for the same work. In order to do that, it needs to be as difficult as possible for women (or other affected employees) to bring suit.

      Consequently, business associations in Wisconsin lobbied for the repeal and their faithful, Republican minions in the Wisconsin legislature drafted and passed the bill to do exactly that.

      Sorry if this sounds snarky, but… what you’re seeing is the Tea Party mentality at work:
      – Fair employment practices = Socialism
      – Giving businesses the power to oppress and discriminate = Free Market

      If you don’t like that, make your vote count in November.

  • Pat M

    Apparently, no one had even used the law since it was enacted. Personally, I am not going to get my panties in a twist over it. There are more important issues.

  • az

    Shame it was repealed. In 2009, the state ranked 36th in terms of workplace pay. By the end of 2010, they had jumped to 24th and were essentially in line with the national average. Hopefully in the future when they’ve voted out Walker and other repub. lunatics, they’ll pass an even stronger pay equity law.