Political parties duel in Raleigh over equal pay for women
Posted June 12, 2012
Raleigh, N.C. — Last week, the U.S. Senate rejected a bill that would require employers to prove that differences in employee pay were related to job performance and not gender. Republicans opposed it in a party-line vote, and that fight came to Raleigh Tuesday morning.
If North Carolina is a battleground state, the latest skirmish started at The Cupcake Shoppe on Glenwood Avenue in Raleigh. State Treasurer Janet Cowell represented Democrats, saying the Obama administration has been fighting for equal pay for women.
“Women are the ones who are taking care of the family, helping out, paying for college, taking care of relatives. They're more likely to be giving money out. They're not earning as much,” Cowell said.
Local businesswoman CJ Scarlet, CEO of Roving Coach International, blasted Senate Republicans for opposing the bill last week.
“Where was Mitt Romney? He was once again silent and bowing to the extreme conservatives in his party,” she said.
As that event wrapped up, anti-Romney protesters gathered down the street at the state Republican Party headquarters, chanting “Hey, hey, what do you say? Equal work for equal pay.”
Inside, Republican Congresswoman Renee Ellmers agreed.
“That's an issue I want to continue to work on, but first, we have to get women jobs,” she said.
Ellmers hosted Washington Congresswoman Cathy McMorris-Rogers, who is the Romney campaign's House liaison and was in Raleigh to raise money for Ellmers' political action committee.
McMorris-Rogers said no one disputes that women should be paid the same as men, but the bill the Senate rejected would do only one thing – “(open) up the door for trial lawyers that will make it harder for businesses to hire anyone, including women.”
Tuesday’s dueling press conferences were a reminder that both parties are angling for an edge on economic issues, especially with working women.