Congressman Bobby Rush

Representing the 1st District of Illinois

Rush Commemorates Dr. King’s Legacy by Calling for Support of the Paycheck Fairness Act and Workplace Equity

Apr 4, 2017
Press Release

WASHINGTON — U.S. Representative Bobby L. Rush (D-Ill.) acknowledged the 49th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by urging his colleagues to support the Paycheck Fairness Act. The civil rights martyr was assassinated April 4, 1968 in Memphis, TN, while in the city to support striking sanitation workers — a date that today is recognized as Equal Pay Day across the country.

Noting that the gender pay gap hurts women and families, Rush said, “I stand with my colleagues in resisting all forms of discrimination — including the very real pay gap that impacts women and families across our nation. That’s why I support the Paycheck Fairness Act — and my colleagues on the other side of the aisle ought to do the same. Women are nearly half of the workforce, but still earn only on average about 80 percent of what men earn. And, statistics show the pay gap is worse for women of color.

“African American women working full-time, year-round on average still earn only 63 cents for every dollar earned by white, non-Hispanic men,” said Rush, who is a cosponsor of the legislation. “Latinas working full-time, year-round on average still earn only 54 cents for every dollar earned by white, non-Hispanic men. Here we are 49 years after the murder of Dr. King and nearly 100 years after women won the right to vote and we are still battling massive levels of inequity and gender bias.”

The gender pay gap is not simply due to women’s “choices,” as skeptics claim. An analysis by the National Women’s Law Center found that in 108 out of 111 occupations, the median weekly earnings of women are lower than the earnings of men. Based on today’s wage gap, a 20-year-old woman just starting full time work today stands to lose a total of $418,800 over a 40-year career compared to her male counterpart.

“Rather than working with Democrats to promote equal pay, House Republicans have voted nine times since 2013 to block the Paycheck Fairness Act from being considered on the House Floor,” Rush said. “The Paycheck Fairness Act means true progress in the fight to eliminate the gender wage gap and help families. The Act ensures that employers who try to justify paying a man more than a woman for the same job must show the disparity is not sex-based, but job related and necessary.”