Statement of Dena Mottola Jaborska
Associate Director of New Jersey Citizen Action:
Make Pay Equity a Reality
Two days before Presidential candidate Trump will come to New Jersey to help Chris Christie raise money and retire his campaign debt, Dena Mottola Jaborska of New Jersey Citizen Action joined with Senate President Steve Sweeney, Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg, advocates for women, and other female New Jersey Senators to rally for a way to make equal pay a reality in New Jersey.
“Pay equity was a dream of both my mother’s and my grandmother’s generation. They fought hard to make equal pay for women a reality. Decades after women have taken our rightful space in the work place, we still have not achieved pay equity. I don’t want equal pay to be a dream that I pass onto my daughter. I want equal pay to be her reality and the reality of all women who work hard to earn an honest day’s pay.
We still have a long way to go to ensure women and our work contributions are valued as much as men’s and rewarded in equal measure. But we won’t get there anytime soon, if no further action is taken. We urgently need to strengthen our wage discrimination laws in New Jersey and across the nation. At the rate we are going, it will take another 44 years to achieve equal pay (2059), according to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research.
By vetoing pay equity legislation three times, Chris Christie has signaled that he has no problem making women wait another 44 years to achieve pay equity. On May 2nd, his most recent veto action, Christie totally gutted the most comprehensive and thoughtful equal pay legislation in the nation. His action deprived women of tools that we need to uncover wage discrimination and combat it.
Fighting wage discrimination under existing law is tough, some would say impossible. The tools contained in the bill recently vetoed by Christie, would level the playing field, giving women a fighting chance to take a wage discrimination case to the New Jersey Division of Civil Rights, or to Court.
We expect Christie will to continue to block progress on equal pay and other women’s issues, for the rest of his term to maintain his alliance with Presidential candidate Donald Trump, one of the most woman-hating public figures in America today. It is shamelessly selfish of Chris Christie to sacrifice the well-being of women to win points with Trump, just so he can ride what he perceives to be Trump’s coattails.
Faced with the Governor’s blockade, the members of the New Jersey Legislature will have to make a choice: support Christie’s and Trump’s extreme anti-women agenda, or support an override of Christie’s veto and stand on the right side of history and women.
Ensuring equal pay should not be a political football for Presidential candidates. It is a matter of justice and fairness. What’s more, it’s critical to the economic security of women and their families. The majority of women in New Jersey are working to financially support their families. Unequal pay creates an ever mounting burden on women, limiting our ability to save for retirement, become homeowners, and provide our children with educational and other opportunities.
By working together, we can overcome political leaders like Chris Christie and Donald Trump, and their indifference and opposition to policies that support women. Here in New Jersey, Republicans and Democrats can work together to override the Governor’s veto on pay equity, women’s health care funding, gun control, food security and more. This is what New Jersey women expect of our elected leaders – to vote their conscience and do what is right for the people they were elected to represent. Forty-four years is just too long to wait for equal pay.“