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Expand equal pay protections to cover all discrimination

Sign in PRO on bill to protect workers from racism, ageism, xenophobia and ableism


OLYMPIA (Jan. 12, 2024) — Washington has an equal pay law that provides important worker protections for gender discrimination in wages. But the law leaves out many workers who experience discrimination.

HB 1905 and SB 5894, sponsored by Rep. Sharlett Mena (D-Tacoma) and Sen. T’wina Nobles (D-Fircrest), would expand the state’s wage discrimination protections to apply to all protected classes. It will ensure that workers have recourse when they face pay discrimination related to their race, age, marital status, sexual orientation, national origin, physical disability, military status, and other protected classes.

“All workers deserve to be paid fairly for their work, without discrimination on any basis,” testified Cherika Carter, Secretary Treasurer of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, at Wednesday’s hearing on HB 1905 in the House Labor & Workforce Standards Committee. “A union contract is a buffer against wage discrimination. But not all workers have the benefit of a union and need these protections.”

TAKE A STAND — The Senate version of the bill has a hearing scheduled on Monday — Martin Luther King, Jr. Day — in the Senate Labor & Commerce Committee. Please support this important civil rights legislation by signing in as “PRO” now on SB 5894.

“A few days after the legislative session ends — on March 12 — it will be Equal Pay Day, the day that the average woman earns what a man earned in the prior year,” Carter said. “For women of color, Equal Pay Day comes even later: July for Black women, October for Latina women and November for Native women. These discrepancies are the result of sexism, racism and colonial legacies in our economy.”

Take a moment to let your Washington state legislators know that you support fair pay for all workers by signing-in as PRO on SB 5894. Thank you!

CHECK OUT THE UNION DIFFERENCE in Washington: higher wages, affordable health and dental care, job and retirement security.

FIND OUT HOW TO JOIN TOGETHER with your co-workers to negotiate for better wages, benefits, and a voice at work. Or go ahead and contact a union organizer today!