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Thursday, January 29, 2009

Obama signs pay equity law

Thu Jan 29, 2009 12:56pm EST
By David Alexander
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama signed his first bill into law on Thursday, handing his labor and women's rights backers a victory by reversing a 2007 Supreme Court decision that made it harder to sue for pay discrimination.
With the woman for whom the law was named at his side, Obama signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act at a White House ceremony. The Democratic-led Congress passed the measure this week and many leaders attended the signing.
"Signing this bill today is to send a clear message: that making our economy work means making sure it works for everybody, that there are no second-class citizens in our workplaces," said the Democratic president.
Pay equity was a sensitive issue during the presidential election campaign last year, especially among labor unions and women voters. On average, U.S. women are paid 23 percent less than men, while minority women receive even less.
First lady Michelle Obama, at one of her highest-profile events since the inauguration last week, hosted a reception for Ledbetter and others who worked for passage of the law.