Thursday, August 08, 2013

Texas retailers back GOP War on Women

It's not just Macy's and Kroger; Gerland's and Brookshire Brothers and others are also on board with the Republican misogyny.

A front-page piece in Tuesday’s Houston Chronicle shedding light on how mega-retailers the likes of Macy’s and Kroger lobbied Gov. Rick Perry to put the kibosh on the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act is resulting in some public fallout for the companies.

The governor vetoed the Texas version of the equal-pay-for-women legislation -- passed by the Texas Legislature with GOP support at the end of the regular session in June -- after receiving written requests to do so from several retail corporations and associated industry groups. Let's excerpt the most revealing part of the article for those who can't climb over the paywall...

Also writing to seek a veto were representatives of Macy's, the Houston grocery company Gerland Corp., Brookshire Grocery Company, Market Basket, the Texas Association of Business and the National Federation of Independent Businesses.

HEB is a member of the Texas Retailers Association, but lobbyist Rusty Kelley said the company did not lobby against the bill.

The letters to Perry provide a behind-the-scene glimpse of the legislative process. Entities such as the Texas Retailers Association can seek a gubernatorial veto without the knowledge of sponsors. Thompson and her Senate counterpart, Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, say they were blind-sided by Perry's veto and the retailers' opposition.

Veteran Austin lobbyist Bill Miller said seeking a gubernatorial veto is a common lobby tactic. "That's a smart play. You don't fade the heat (by publicly opposing a bill) on the front end and you win on the back end." He said that, except for the Chronicle's open records request, "no one would be the wiser. You do what you gotta do to protect your client."

To refresh your memory, Bill Miller is a mostly-Republican political consultant. He is co-founder of HillCo Partners, which was previously mentioned here in regard to their efforts to kill "sanctuary cities" legislation in the 2011 legislative session.

(Digression: this is a pluperfect example of how to play both sides against the middle. You do what you gotta do to protect your corporate client who writes you large checks for dispensing your political wisdom. Even when it screws over Texans and politicians of both political parties. Hey, that's -- allegedly -- a smart play.)

On Wednesday, the liberal group Progress Texas started an online boycott of Macy’s and Kroger, asking folks to sign on and refrain from shopping at the stores until they support “equal pay for equal work.”

Citing the Chron’s story, Sen. Sylvia Garcia, D-Houston, followed hours later by announcing that she’s cancelling an appearance at the Macy’s at the Galleria. Garcia was set to kick-off the 2013 annual Texas sales tax holiday, according to her office.

The boycott may be expanding this morning to the predominantly East Texas grocers named above.

This is a BFD. Know why?

Because women in Texas are already losing their health clinics. They have all but lost the right to choose whether or not to give birth. In a state with already criminally low wages for so many of its residents, Texas Republicans (mostly through their agents outside the Legislature, to be clear) are making sure that Texas women do not receive equal pay for the same work that men do. Both of these circumstances would especially be the case in East Texas, where clinic options -- and grocery-shopping options -- were few and far between before all this.

You have to hope that Texas women -- in particular those living  in East Texas who might have been previously inclined to vote R -- are clearly getting the message the Republicans are sending them. And that message is: "We Don't Give a Shit About You."

Update: More from Burnt Orange and from Texas Leftist, with Houston-area store locator maps of the offending retailers.

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