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Ellison Slams Republicans for Blocking 'Fairness for Women Act'

The congressman also addressed the deadlocked contract negotiations at Minnesota's American Sugar Company.

Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) and his fellow Progressive Caucus Co-Chair Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) shamed Republicans last week for blocking the Paycheck Fairness for Women Act.

The bill expands on the Equal Pay Act of 1963 and the more recent Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, by requiring employers to provide a reason for pay gaps when asked, and prevent companies from retaliating against employees who discuss their salaries.

“The idea that a woman would be paid less than a man for the same work is grossly unfair,” Ellison said in a release. “Why would anyone subvert the democratic process to pay women less than men? Women lose significant income during their lifetimes due to pay inequity. This unfairness extends to the children, elderly parents and families who rely on women for support. This unequal treatment has to end.”

Ellison Asks For Sugar Company's Careful Listening in Labor Dispute

For 10 months union workers and company leaders at American Crystal Sugar in Moorhead, MN have been deadlocked in contract negotiations.

More negotiations were scheduled for Friday, June 8 and Ellison addressed the issue on the U.S. House floor two days before.

"These workers didn't go on strike. They've been locked out. ... They've actually stood up and gone to bat for the company," Ellison said in his speech. "I commend both labor and management for getting back to the table. ... I urge management to listen carefully to the pleas of these workers and to come up with a fair settlement."

However, the Pioneer Press reported the Friday meeting failed to make any progress and the two sides still remained far apart in their positions.

Click "play" on the YouTube video to see Ellison's full speech.

Candidate Filing Ends

Three candidates filed by last Tuesday's deadline to run against Ellison this November. Marines veteran Chris Fields was the lone Republican to file, while Gary Boisclair and Gregg A. Iverson joined Ellison on the DFL side.

The three DFLers will face off in an Aug. 14 primary election to determine who will face Fields in the Nov. 6 general election.

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Dennis Holman June 12, 2012 at 01:40 PM
Tell me ... I'm trying to understand ... how, considering all of the atrocities that are perpetrated against women in the name of Islam on a daily basis around the world, a Muslim Democrat (Rep. Keith Ellison) can presume to pompously criticize Republicans for failing to support a useless piece of legislation (equal pay for equal work is ALREADY the law of the land) that has been presented for purely political effect. It's another case of "do as we SAY and not as we DO!"
David F June 12, 2012 at 03:32 PM
@Dennis, if I understand your comments you are blaming a Muslim US Congressman for the atrocities caused by other Muslims around the world? Using this logic can I blame Christian US Congressmen for the atrocities carried out by Christians like the VA Tech Shooter, DC Sniper, Oklahoma City bomber, etc? I have heard Congressman Ellison talk on this subject and he is very candid that no religion holds the high moral ground when it comes to the treatment of woman worldwide. Unfortunately laws are generally written with the best of intentions but as we all know there are usually loop holes. I am not a labor law expert but I think what Congressman Ellison is trying to do is make the 'law of the land' easier to enforce and to close loopholes allowing employers not to give equal pay for equal work.
Lurkerbee June 13, 2012 at 09:10 PM
@David F, you could blame Christians for that, but you'd be completely mistaken. David Cho-"Railled against his parents strong belief in Christianity" http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/1549092/The-roommates-story.html John Allen Muhammad-Member of the Nation of Islam http://articles.cnn.com/2002-10-24/us/muhammad.profile_1_bushmaster-223-caliber-rifle-john-allen-williams-nation-of-islam-officials?_s=PM:US Timothy McViegh-self described agnostic. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2001/jun/11/mcveigh.usa4 Im not saying Dennis is right(he's not), just that you should probably pick examples that actually match the point youre trying to make
Dennis Holman June 14, 2012 at 01:04 AM
@David F: It would be quite irrational of me to blame Rep. Keith Ellison for atrocities against women. What I intended to point out is the foolishness of his criticism of Republicans when there is plenty for him to rail against within the group with which he chooses to affiliate. And, one can only guess the role that his views played in his divorce, last month. The atrocities against women are real; the so called "Paycheck Fairness for Women Act" is nothing more than a platform for political grandstanding in an election year.
Rich Higgins June 15, 2012 at 04:37 PM
If it is a platform then why not sign it and hop on the grandstanding wagon? It's also irrational to focus on his recent divorce when you can argue the selfsame views also played a role in getting married or working at a nonprofit defending impoverished citizens. Also, I'm afraid the statement "there is plenty for him to rail against within the group with which he chooses to affiliate," is superfluous. Every group/religion/org has radicals within it.

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