Protesters Of Gov. Christie's Equal Pay Veto Find Door Closed

NJ.com — January 31, 2017

By Dave Hutchinson | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

BRIDGEWATER — New Jersey Citizen Action joined local area women in a protest denouncing State Sen. Michael Doherty's (R-23rd) recent vote against the override of the New Jersey Pay Equity Act, as well as his comments on the Senate floor last Monday.

Approximately 25 people held signs and marched outside Doherty's township office, chanting "Equal Pay for Equal Work," "Women's Rights are Human Rights" and "Hey hey, ho ho, Doherty has got to go!," according to a news release issued on Tuesday.

However, when some constituents went inside the building to leave messages for Doherty, they found the door to the office was closed, even though there were staffers inside.

Staffers told constituents by phone that the office was open "by appointment only," according to the news release.

"The senator wasn't in his office yesterday," said a statement issued by Sen. Doherty's office on Tuesday. "The senator has reached out to this organization to arrange a meeting and is waiting to hear back from them to schedule a meeting."

Doherty told NJ Advance Media on Tuesday afternoon that he "supports pay equity for everybody. Nobody should be discriminated against based on race, religion or sex. It's against the law. We all support that. The Governor just sees room for improving current law, as do Senate Republicans."

The New Jersey Citizen Action organization isn't convinced. Furthermore, it was deeply troubled by a comment made by Doherty.

"Last Saturday, four million women across the country marched for Equal Rights," said Ann Vardeman, Program Director at New Jersey Citizen Action. "And on Monday Sen. Doherty not only voted against equal pay — but then said that it was 'denigrating' to white men to cite statistics comparing women's pay to that of white men.

The state Senate did not muster enough votes to override Gov. Chris Christie's veto, but the issue may come back in the future.

"Well, we're here to say that what is actually denigrating is that white women in New Jersey are only paid 82 cents to a white man's dollar — and that women of color make considerably less. We will pass equal pay in New Jersey whether Mike Doherty likes it or not."

In an opinion piece written by Doherty and published by nj.com on Jan. 27, he said the proposed legislation "goes far beyond what the federal government and other states have found to be a reasonable framework for correcting discriminatory pay inequities."

He stated he supports equal pay, but does not want a law that makes New Jersey an "outlier."

The override vote took place on Jan. 23. Another attempt at an override of Gov. Chris Christie's veto is expected to take place next week.

Service Employees International Union 1199 and Planned Parenthood Action Fund of New Jersey also participated in the protest.

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