New Yorkers protest at Macy’s for lobbying against Texas equal pay bill

New Yorkers protest Macy's for lobbying against an equal pay bill.  Credit: Melissa Byrne
New Yorkers protest in front of Macy’s on Wednesday for lobbying against an equal pay bill.
Credit: Melissa Byrne

Protesting the company’s lobbying against an equal pay bill in Texas, a couple dozen New Yorkers rallied in front of Macy’s flagship store in Herald Square on Wednesday afternoon.

After pressure from Macy’s and other retailers, Texas Gov. Rick Perry vetoed a bill in June that would have made it easier for women to sue employers over wage discrimination in state courts.

Organizers of the protest in the city said the company’s action impacts women out of state.

“It’s outrageous that a company that markets nationally to women would do something that hurts them,” said Karin Roland, campaign director at UltraViolet, which organized the rally.

Some 90,000 people across the country signed petitions asking Macy’s to never oppose equal pay bills again and publicly retract a letter the company wrote asking Perry to veto the legislation.

The protesters delivered the petitions to the store in two big Macy’s bags. They’re hoping the action will bring larger focus to the issue of income and wage inequality.

Roland pointed out that women in America only make 77 cents on the dollar to men, with the disparity even higher for black and Hispanic women.

Women have an easier time suing in federal court over such disparities through the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, but Roland and the protesters believe women should be able to do the same in all state courts.

In a statement, Macy’s said the company “absolutely supports equal pay for equal work among men and women.”

“We believe that existing federal and Texas state laws provide strong remedies for the resolution of any claims of discrimination,” the company’s statement continued.

But Roland said it is less expensive to file discrimination suits at the state level.

“It means a woman who’s already lost income to discrimination has to waste more money to get represented in federal court,” Roland said.

Follow Anna Sanders on Twitter: @AnnaESanders


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