Sims, Donatucci, Bullock, Davis push equal-pay bills at Capitol rally

HARRISBURG, April 4 – State Reps. Brian Sims and Donna Bullock, both D-Phila.; Rep. Maria Donatucci, D-Phila./Delaware; and other leading advocates for equal pay for women held a Capitol rally today.

The event was hosted by the American Association of University Women and Business and Professional Women. Sims, Donatucci, Bullock and Rep. Tina Davis, D-Bucks, are lead sponsors of legislation that would address the pay gap in Pennsylvania: H.B. 830, which would significantly increase the fines for violating the equal-pay law; H.B. 931, which is modeled on Massachusetts' pay equity law; and a pending bill that would combat secrecy that hides unequal pay and increase protections for employees who file an equal-pay complaint.

Sims said, "Pennsylvania women are paid on average 54 to 83 cents for every dollar a man makes, depending on which county they live in. Equal work deserves equal pay – anything less is unacceptable. Pennsylvania's current equal-pay law is more than 50 years old and clearly not strong enough to get the job done. Paying women equally for their work isn’t just the right thing to do -- it will help foster what we all want: a stronger economy that works for every Pennsylvanian."

Donatucci said, "This year, April 4 is Equal Pay Day, the symbolic day when a woman’s salary catches up to a man’s salary from the previous year. In Pennsylvania, the wage gap costs women $430,480 over a 40-year career compared to a man. A woman in Pennsylvania has to work until she is 71 years old just to make what a man does by the time he is 60! On average, women make only about 79 cents per dollar that men make for the same job, or even less in some areas of Pennsylvania."

Bullock said, "For African American and Latina women, the wage gap is even wider and those equal pay days fall in August and November, respectively. And for all Pennsylvania women, this is a critical time because the state Senate recently passed S.B. 241, a bill that claims to be for equal pay but would actually gut stronger local laws in Philadelphia and other Pennsylvania communities. It's time for a stronger equal pay law – with no poison pill attached."

Davis said, "Pennsylvania’s equal pay law hasn’t been updated in nearly 60 years. This is unfair and economically self-defeating, because pay disparity affects everyone. Women are breadwinners, taxpayers, caregivers, soldiers, heads of families, scientists, educators and much more. It’s time that Pennsylvania had an equal-pay law that provides equal pay."

The elected officials were joined by these speakers:

  • Dot McLean, president, American Association of University Women, Pennsylvania
  • Suzanne Almeida, executive director, League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania
  • Terry L. Fromson, managing attorney, Women’s Law Project
  • Susan Vladika, president, Business and Professional Women, Pennsylvania
  • Melissa Robbins, Philadelphia NOW
  • Lindsey Mauldin, Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania.

Attendees were scheduled to lobby lawmakers at the Capitol following the event.