Yesterday Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) signed a bill repealing a 2009 law that that made enforcing equal pay laws easier, proving that Wisconsin remains among the most combative turfs in the war on women.
The 2009 Equal Pay Enforcement Act allowed individual victims of wage discrimination to bring their cases in the less costly, more accessible state circuit court system rather than only in federal court as is typically the case with wage discrimination claims. Gov. Walker had until 5:00 p.m. Thursday to sign the repeal and he did, with as little hoopla as possible.
State Sen. Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay) and Rep. Christine Sinicki (D-Milwaukee), the authors of the Equal Pay Enforcement Act, criticized Walker on Thursday for not informing the public of his actions on SB 202. “We are finally starting to see progress here in Wisconsin, yet like their counterparts across the country, Legislative Republicans want to turn back the clock on women’s rights in the workplace,” said Hansen.
The Wisconsin Alliance for Women’s Health (WAHW) tracks the issue of pay disparity in the state and reports that while across the country women earn 77 cents for every dollar that men make, it’s worse for Wisconsin women who only earn 75 cents on the dollar. That results in families in the state losing more than $4000 per year due to unequal pay.
Sara Finger, executive director of WAWH, said that the repeal was a “demoralizing attack on women’s rights, health, and wellbeing.”
“Economic security is a women’s health issue,” she said. “The salary women are paid directly affects the type and frequency of health care services they are able to access. At a time when women’s health services are becoming more expensive and harder to obtain, financial stability is essential to maintain steady access.”
Expect this repeal to come up in Walker’s recall election as both the Democratic frontrunners heavily criticized Walker for the repeal.
Photo from jdlasica via flickr.