Ohio Rep. Connie Pillich marked “Equal Pay Day” by pushing for a bill in the Ohio House of Representatives that would codify federal law protecting workers from discriminatory pay scales.
Elected officials throughout the country reiterated her call by advocating for income equality and citing discrepancies between wages earned by males and females.
Pillich, a Cincinnati Democrat and candidate for Ohio Treasurer, spoke before a small crowd of supporters at the Ohio Democratic Party headquarters. She is sponsoring a bill to clarify that Ohio workers can file claims when they are victims of pay discrimination.
It’s a measure that Ohio Democratic Party spokesman Brian Hester said is largely based off the federal Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, which House Bill 456 would codify into state law. The act extended the time workers have to file claims when they are discriminated in the wages they earn.
Pillich said employers need to base pay scales on work training and experience, and added that until that happens across the board, she thinks Ohio’s working class families will suffer.
“Ohioans deserve equal pay for equal pay for equal work,” Pillich said. “Now that might have been a crazy idea 50 years ago, but it is not 1964, it’s 2014, and we should make this happen.”
The Pew Research Center estimated in December that women earned 84 cents for every dollar made by men in 2012. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics said in October that figure stood at 81 cents per dollar among full-time workers.
Pillich introduced her bill in February to the Republican-controlled House. House Bill 456 has been in the House Judiciary Committee since mid-March, where it has seen one hearing.
Sam Howard is a fellow in Ohio University’s E.W. Scripps School of Journalism Statehouse News Bureau.