The Washington Post, hardly an anti-business newspaper, made the case for the Ledbetter bill very well in an editorial on Wednesday. Key quote: “Business leaders argue that the paycheck trigger would allow employees to “sit on their rights” and wait to file suit until years have passed in order to make it more difficult for companies to defend against old allegations. This argument is utterly without merit.”
Nevertheless, Senate Republicans refused to let the bill even come to a vote, sparing President Bush the need to exercise his threatened veto.
So, what will be the political consequences? Here’s Sen. Barbara Mikulski in yesterday’s NYT:
“I have a terrible feeling the Senate just won’t get it,” said Senator Barbara Mikulski, Democrat of Maryland, who suggested that the still-male-dominated Senate remained out of touch about the nation’s changing workplaces. “But the women will get it, and we will start a revolution.”
Well, will they? Unfortunately, I suspect not. Young people, not old ones, usually start revolutions, and young women’s apathy or antipathy toward traditional feminist issues like the right to sue for damages for workplace sex discrimination is a commonplace. And Ms. Ledbetter was not the kind of woman whom young, college educated women might find easy to identify with. She’s in her sixties, and she was a low-level supervisor in an Alabama tire factory. It’s not like she worked for a hedge fund.
This blog appears to be read by only the five people who regularly contribute. But LB assures me that her students lurk here, too intimidated to post. Well, if that’s so, here’s my challenge to young lurkers, especially young women. The Supreme Court’s decision in Ledbetter was unjust, and the Senate Republicans’ filibuster of a bill to correct that injustice was outrageous. WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU GOING TO DO ABOUT IT? Please let me know in the comment section.