Supreme Court to Women of Wal-Mart: You're on Your Own
June 20, 2011
Today, a Supreme Court majority ruled against women by siding with the country's largest employment discriminator, saying Wal-Mart, essentially, is too big to sue. The brave women, led by Betty Dukes, who stood up to Wal-Mart at great personal sacrifice, are told simply they're on their own.
"With this decision, the Supreme Court has assisted Wal-Mart in its efforts to systematically dole out promotions and pay raises on the basis of sex. The law calls that illegal discrimination, but this Court has turned its back on the more than million women who only sought simple justice," said NOW President Terry O'Neill. "The women of Wal-Mart deserve respect and fair treatment, and we will continue to stand up for their rights."
In 2002, NOW declared Wal-Mart a "Merchant of Shame" as part of its Women-Friendly Workplace Campaign. NOW chapters have led countless community demonstrations at Wal-Mart stores around the country to educate shoppers about Wal-Mart's exploitation of its women employees.
Today, NOW demands an immediate legislative response to help the women of Wal-Mart. We call on Congress to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would provide more effective remedies to victims of sex-based wage discrimination. This bill passed in the House in January 2009, but ultimately was defeated in the Senate.
"The gap between women's and men's pay is still sizeable, which is why it's so important to get this legislation passed," stated O'Neill. "We will continue supporting the efforts of Senators Mikulski, Cantwell, Gillibrand, Klobuchar, Stabenow and others to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act and hold accountable those who stand in the way of this sensible remedial bill."
A legislative remedy is only part of the solution, however. NOW also calls on Wal-Mart to end its unconscionable resistance to employees' efforts to form unions and bargain collectively over pay, benefits and other conditions of employment. Research demonstrates that unionized women workers earn better wages and have better benefits than their non-union counterparts. In fact, women in unions earn 11.2 percent more or $2.00 more per hour than non-union women workers. And the gender wage gap is smaller in unionized workplaces.
"The benefits of being unionized are significant," said O'Neill. "Women workers can gain a voice through a union that they could never have individually, ultimately making Wal-Mart a better place to work for everyone."