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Democrats Say WMC Brochure Cover Implies Push For Pay Equity Is ‘Anti-Business’

Group Spokesman Says Cover Refers To Specific Piece Of Legislation, Not Pay Equity As An Issue

The Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce brochure cover, which critics say implies that pay equity is "anti-business."

Update (Wednesday, 1:40 p.m.) : Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce has removed the brochure cover from its website.

Several Democratic women are attacking the state’s largest business group for writing a fundraising appeal that suggests the push for “pay equity” is “anti-business.”

The comments in question are on the cover of a Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce fundraising brochure for its members. The words “Anti-business voices are loud and clear…” hover over silhouettes of protesters holding signs, one of which reads “Pay Equity Now!”

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At a state Capitol press conference, Dane County Board member and One Wisconsin Now Research Director Jenni Dye said she was shocked to see the graphic.

“I struggle to understand what is anti-business about thinking that the women in our country and in our state who work for our great state businesses deserve equal pay,” said Dye.

Lori Compas with the Wisconsin Business Alliance said that women own thousands of businesses in Wisconsin.

“I seriously doubt that whoever created that graphic for WMC ran it by a single one of them,” she said.

Speaking after the press conference, WMC’s Scott Manley said employers who saw the graphic would know it was referring to a law passed by Democrats and repealed by Gov. Scott Walker that gave victims of gender discrimination the right to sue for punitive damages in state court. Manley says WMC supports Wisconsin’s longstanding fair employment law, which makes gender discrimination illegal in the workplace.

“I think the message that (we) attempted to convey is that there are a lot of well-funded groups, like trial lawyers and labor unions, that are trying to undo the progress that we’re seeing in Wisconsin,” said Manley.

Critics said that WMC made no mention of any law to back up its “anti-business” brochure, and said the group was now mischaracterizing its own graphic.