A.B.A. sees Lilly Ledbetter law as bad start for Obama

by Josh Sosland
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WASHINGTON — The American Bakers Association voiced "deep regret’ in response to the passage by Congress of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, subsequently signed into law by President Obama.

The A.B.A. said in a period of economic turmoil, bakers "need relief from unwarranted litigation that could unduly strain their struggling businesses."

Under the legislation, a 180-day statute of limitations for pay discrimination resets with each new allegedly discriminatory paycheck. In 2007, the Supreme Court had ruled that the statute of limitations for filing an equal-pay lawsuit began at the date the pay was agreed upon, not at the date of the most recent paycheck, as a lower court had ruled.

Robb MacKie, president and chief executive officer of the A.B.A., said the president’s decision to sign the bill was not a surprise.

"President Obama campaigned on passage of the Ledbetter Act," Mr. MacKie said. "It is extremely disappointing that the first law enacted by him further weakens our struggling economy, making the business environment for bakers more challenging. We hope this is an isolated case and not a sign of things to come.

"A.B.A. unequivocally supports equal employment opportunity. Unfortunately, the Ledbetter bill is about increasing litigation and not about fair pay. Bakers already are struggling because of this unsteady economy. This will only threaten bakers’ viability and put further burden on consumers by increasing food bills."

The A.B.A. has expressed concern about a number of additional legislative proposals related to labor, most notably the "Employee Free Choice Act," also known as Card Check legislation.

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