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May 9, 2009   
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WB News Release: [04/28/2009]
Contact Name: Peggy Abrahamson
Phone Number: (202) 693-3463 or x4676

Release Number: 09-0469-NAT

Statement from U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis on equal pay

WASHINGTON — U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis today made the following statement on equal pay:

"One of the most fundamental principles on which our nation was founded is the belief that we are all created equal.

"Yet today, women earn just 78 cents for every dollar a man earns. Women of color earn even less. Countless women are losing thousands of dollars in salary, income and retirement savings over the course of a lifetime. As a result, women often must work longer or harder to make ends meet.

"As the secretary of labor, I am committed to ensuring that the women in our country and around the world have a voice and advocate.

"The Labor Department is working hard at implementing the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, which has had a direct impact on women. While women have a lower overall unemployment rate than the general population, women are also impacted when a spouse loses a job.

"Increases to unemployment insurance and extensions of benefits become the lifeboat for families who are struggling in this recession. The Recovery Act provides a 65 percent tax subsidy for the cost of health benefits, making them more affordable for the unemployed, and will help millions of families keep their health coverage.

"Additional funds have been made available to local communities for job training and employment services. These programs will help women across generations and socio-economic groups participate in a sustainable 'green' economy by attaining higher-paying, career-ladder jobs in nontraditional fields.

"Equal pay is not just about fairness; it is also about making our economy work for everyone. Pay discrimination impacts the ability of families to put food on the table, fill the gas tank and pay the electric bill.

"There are no second class citizens in our workplaces, and it's not just unjust and illegal but bad for business to pay someone less because of her or his gender, age, race, ethnicity, religion or disability. 

"We must work to close the pay gap that is taking millions of dollars out of the pockets of families across the country and undermining our economic stability."

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