U.S. Representative Jared Polis

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Polis, Bonamici, Gillibrand urge DOL to address pay discrimination by federal contractors

Bicameral letter urges Department to combat pay gap by finalizing data-collection rule

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Washington, January 21, 2016 | comments

Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO), Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR), and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) today sent a letter to Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez urging the Department of Labor (DOL) to issue a robust final rule on the Equal Pay Report – a critical data collection tool for combating the pay gap in federal contracting. The letter was co-signed by 24 Senators and 50 Members of the House of Representatives.

The Equal Pay Report, once finalized, will require federal contractors to report summary compensation data based on gender and race to the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs. The letter notes that this information will help ensure taxpayer dollars do not subsidize businesses that engage in discriminatory pay practices. Currently, about $450 billion is awarded every year in federal contracts.

“In 2014, women working full time in the United States were typically paid just 79 percent of what men were paid – and it’s even worse for mothers and women of color,” the representatives wrote. “African-American and Latina women are at a particular disadvantage: they earn only 63 cents and 54 cents for year-round, full-time work, respectively, for every dollar paid to white men. The troubling consistency and perniciousness of these statistics underscore the need for scrutiny of federal contractors’ pay practices, and the Equal Pay Report will help us do just that. Transparency helps reduce the gender pay gap and is an important step in our collective efforts to ensure equal pay for equal work.”

A finalized Equal Pay Report would be consistent with several recent steps the Obama administration has taken to ensure federal contractors fairly compensate their employees. Recently, for instance, the DOL issued a final rule implementing the President’s executive order prohibiting federal contractors from retaliating against employees who discuss their pay.

Co-signers of the letter include Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Sen. Bernard Sanders (I-VT), Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), Sen. Edward Markey (D-MA), Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski (D-MD), Sen. Robert E. Menendez (D-NJ), Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM), Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Sen. Al Franken (D-MN), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI), Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD), Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Sen. Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI), Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA), Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA), and Reps. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ), Niki Tsongas (D-MA), Jackie Speier (D-CA), Janice D. Schakowsky (D-IL), Elizabeth H. Esty (D-CT), Chaka Fattah (D-PA), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), Henry C. “Hank” Johnson, Jr. (D-GA), Katherine M. Clark (D-MA), Eric Swalwell (D-CA), Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ), Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Yvette D. Clarke (D-NY), Mark Takano (D-CA), Judy Chu (D-CA), Patrick Murphy (D-FL), Alan S. Lowenthal (D-CA), Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA), Kathy Castor (D-FL), William R. Keating (D-MA), Chellie Pingree (D-ME), Tony Cárdenas (D-CA), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Joseph Crowley (D-NY), Brian Higgins (D-NY), Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL), Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), Donna F. Edwards (D-MD), Brad Ashford (D-NE), Michael M. Honda (D-CA), Danny K. Davis (D-IL), Donald S. Beyer, Jr. (D-VA), Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (D-VA), Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY), Sander M. Levin (D-MI), Jared Huffman (D-CA), Stephen F. Lynch (D-MA), Frederica S. Wilson (D-FL), David N. Cicilline (D-RI), Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), Suzan DelBene (D-WA), John Garamendi (D-CA), Doris O. Matsui (D-CA), Susan A. Davis (D-CA), Julia Brownley (D-CA), and Diana DeGette (D-CO).

A signed copy of the letter is available here.

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