The following piece was published in the Lowell Sun on Sunday, July 20th:
My great aunt Sheila joined General Electric in 1953, and she's what some would call a "lifer." She started in drafting and engineering, and over a 38-year career she had just about every job in the plant. But in the early 1980s, Sheila learned something very disturbing: A man who was hired after her -- whom she trained -- was making significantly more money than she was for doing the same job.
When Sheila confronted her supervisor, he told Sheila that she got paid less because she wasn't the head of her household. "That was baloney," Sheila told me, "I was even taking care of my parents at the time."
But Sheila didn't give up. She fought her case for nine years and finally prevailed. Now, thanks to her work, women at GE get equal pay for equal work. "I don't give up when I know I'm right," Sheila told me.
More than 20 years after her case was decided, women all over the country still get paid less than men for the same work. That's unacceptable. It's 2014: It's past time for equal pay.
Americans overwhelmingly agree on this issue -- more than 60 percent support new legislation to guarantee equal pay for equal work. But Congress hasn't been able to get it done. Congress failed to pass the Fair Pay Act (H.R. 438), which would prohibit wage discrimination based on gender. And Congress failed to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act (H.R. 377), which would have put real enforcement mechanisms behind the laws we already have.
Neither of those bills even made it to a vote. Both are still languishing in the House Education and the Workforce Committee, a committee on which U.S. Rep. John Tierney sits. Tierney probably agrees that women should get paid the same as men for the same work. But that doesn't do us any good if he can't make real progress.
When I am elected, I will work with business leaders and employers in the 6th District to evaluate pay equity, identify areas for improvement, and establish a plan to make our district a national leader on the issue.
There is also action we can take today, without Congress. Civic groups like chambers of commerce and others have the ability to provide incentives and rewards to companies that achieve pay equity.
I propose establishing a business certification, much like the now-popular LEED certification for the environmental efficiency of new buildings, which will certify a business for paying its women and men the same. You can see the outline on my website (www.sethmoulton.com), and I will work with local business leaders and chambers of commerce to implement it for our community, making the 6th District of Massachusetts a leader on this critical, national issue.
People across the country are suffering due to Congress' inaction on equal pay.
If Congressman Tierney can't get this done on his own committee, it's time for him to step aside for someone who can.
Read the original piece here.