WASHINGTON — Organized labor was in the spotlight Friday on Capitol Hill as a Senate panel considered the nomination of a pro-labor advocate for Secretary of Labor and the House passed two bills addressing pay discrimination.
Labor’s top legislative priority — a bill that would make it easier for workers to organize a union — was a central focus of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions’ confirmation hearing of Rep. Hilda Solis (D., Calif.) as Labor Secretary. The full Senate must vote to confirm Solis, who would be the first Latina in the post.
In a separate action, the House passed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which would reverse a Supreme Court decision and allow employees to sue as long as they filed a lawsuit within 180 days of any paycheck deemed discriminatory. The Supreme Court ruled 5 to 4 in a case involving Ledbetter, a former Goodyear Tire & Co. employee, that alleged victims of wage discrimination must file a complaint within 180 days of their first paycheck or lose the right to sue. As a result, Ledbetter lost significant money awarded to her by a lower court for pay discrimination over more than 20 years at Goodyear.
The House also approved the Paycheck Fairness Act, a bill designed to close loopholes in the 1963 Equal Pay Act by clarifying that victims of gender-based discrimination can sue for compensatory and punitive damages. It also bars employers from retaliating against workers who share salary information with co-workers and requires employers to prove that any wage disparities are job-related and not gender-based.
At her confirmation hearing, Republican senators pressed Solis on support of the Employee Free Choice Act, a bill that has deeply divided lawmakers. Under the bill, if a majority of workers in a workplace sign cards authorizing a union, they would be allowed to be organized. The majority sign-up process is permitted under current law, but only if the employer allows it. Many employers require employees to undergo secret-ballot elections administered by the National Labor Relations Board.
“Labor advocates claim the Employee Free Choice Act is necessary because…employees who support a union cannot get a fair election,” said Sen. Orrin Hatch (R., Utah). “Because employers are engaged in unlawful activities during union election campaigns, they say unions are losing elections.”
But Hatch pointed to an NLRB study that showed 60 percent of all contested union elections in 2007 were won by unions, saying those numbers undermined advocates’ arguments for the legislation. Solis acknowledged she was a co-sponsor of the legislation in the House but declined to comment on the bill, saying she had not discussed it with President-elect Barack Obama, who cosponsored the bill in the Senate.
@chanel and @pharrell dropped what’s being dubbed as the world’s most exclusive sneakers yesterday. The Adidas Originals NMD Hu, which Williams designed in collaboration with Chanel and @adidasoriginals, has a waiting list of over 120K people who pre-registered online at chanelatcolette.fr –– and only 500 pairs are on sale. The singer predicted the resale value of the shoes could reach $40K. Read the full interview on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdfashion (📷: Dominique Maître)
@imanshumpert is diving deeper into his creative endeavors and relaunching his clothing line, Post 90s, and is helping to raise money for the hurricane victims in St. Maarten with a jersey he’s designed with his brother. The Cleveland Cavaliers player talked to WWD about kneeling during the national anthem, working with fashion brands and how he wants to be more than an @nba player. Read the interview on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: George Chinese)
Not only does #TheProfit return to CNBC tonight, but @marcuslemonis has launched @shopmarcus, a new shopping and lifestyle retail experience in Aspen and Chicago, with more locations to come. The retail stores offer in-store stylists and a variety of contemporary womenswear selections.
“It’s life, I’m going to face it,” @mingxi11 sighed. “I fell, but you know, I think the most important thing is that I get back up. I had the love, the help from my sister — the girl next to me Gizele [Oliveira] — she’s so nice. When I went backstage everybody was trying to comfort me like ‘Oh Ming, it’s OK.’ I’m really, really touched. I think it’s them who gave me the courage to go back on stage for the finale,” Xi told WWD of her fall at the @victoriassecret fashion show. (📷: David Fisher) #wwdfashion #vsfashionshow #victoriassecret
@louisvuitton tapped @therealpeterlindbergh for its latest city-centric photo book, which is part of a series called Fashion Eye. The primarily black and white book captures the spirit of Berlin in 57 images shot between 1989 and 2019. “Berlin is an inspiration for me, more than a city. I mean @millajovovich is simply Berlin!” said Lindbergh. #wwdfashion
“You know, I think audiences expect a certain performance so I have to deliver to them what they’re expecting to a certain degree. But I’m also a different actor and a different person, I have my own spin on the character,” says @noahegalvin of his takeover of the leading role in “Dear Evan Hansen” following the departure of @bensplatt, who originated the role. Read WWD’s interview with the 23-year-old actor on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
For pre-fall 2018, @etro created richly-colored wonderland, using tapestries, textiles and wallpapers from the Eastern world at large. The line featured floral and graphic prints and jacquard motifs, like this two-piece look featured here. #wwdfashion (📷: Giovanna Pavesi)
@kith is moving into children’s. The men’s and women’s streetwear brand has launched Kidset, a Kith kids line located in New York at 64 Bleecker Street. The line includes mini versions of staple Kith pieces like the Astor bomber jacket and the Kith box logo sweatshirts, along with a wall that can display up to 120 pairs of shoes from @adidas, @newbalance, @timberland and more. #wwdfashion
“I just wanted to create this fully rounded character, but I do think what excited me most was just the opportunity to give a group of people representation that I feel needs it. I like to do characters in projects that stand for something and Karolina definitely does, so that was really exciting to me,” @ginnygardner says of her new role in @hulu’s “The Runaways.” Gardner plays Karolina Dean, a queer superhero, which is a rarity for @marvel. Read more about Gardner’s character on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @dandoperalski)