Vice chair of Wasatch County GOP apologizes for letter on equal pay for women

Posted at 8:43 PM, Feb 16, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-16 22:43:48-05

UPDATE: The Utah Republican Party confirmed Friday James Green has resigned from his position with the county party.

Previous story continues below:

SALT LAKE CITY — The Vice Chairman of the Wasatch County GOP is apologizing after a letter to the editor he wrote regarding equal pay for women prompted sharp criticism.

James Green wrote the letter published in both the Wasatch Wave and Park Record, and he targeted Senate Bill 210—which in part would require employers to adopt base-line policies about equal work and equal pay.

Green criticized the measure, citing tradition.

“Traditionally men have earned more than women in the workplace because they are considered the primary breadwinners for families,” he wrote. “They need to make enough to support their families and allow the Mother to remain in the home to raise and nurture the children.”

He also said paying women more would mean paying men less.

“If businesses are forced to pay women the same as male earnings, that means they will have to reduce the pay for the men they employ… simple economics,” he wrote.

Green goes on to say that this will make it harder for men to support their families, “which will mean more Mothers will be forced to leave the home (where they may prefer to be) to join the workforce to make up the difference.”

He said that creates even more downward pressure on jobs.

“It’s a vicious cycle that only gets worse the more equality of pay is forced upon us,” Green wrote. “It’s a situation of well-meaning intentions, but negative unintended consequences.”

Stephanie Pitcher, Director of the Utah Women’s Coalition, reacted to the letter.

“I think that the letter was very disappointing… He was very straight forward and blunt about his thoughts on women in the work force and that was really surprising, but the first thing I noticed was a very open recognition that there is a pay disparity between men and women,” she said.

She said Green’s position runs contrary to established laws.

“His suggestion that we just don’t pay women equally is unlawful,” she said. “It’s against the law by both the Fair Labor Standards Act and the Utah anti-discrimination provisions here in Utah law.”

Pitcher said she is glad Utah lawmakers are addressing the issue of the pay gap.

“Utah has one of the widest pay gaps in the nation, so I think it’s definitely a positive development that our legislators are looking at these issues and trying to find solutions,” she said.

Green declined to speak to Fox 13 News on camera, but he said in an email he has been in “hot water” since the letter was published, and he provided a second letter he drafted to apologize.

The full text of that letter is below:

“Dear Residents of Heber Valley,

I submitted a letter last week which some found offensive. First of all, I want to clarify those were purely my opinions and do not reflect those of the Wasatch County Republican Party or the Republican Party in general.

Secondly, I want to clarify the main focus of my letter was to express that I don’t feel the government should be dictating to private establishments what they must do in regard to employment, hiring, or wages.

There was no offense intended toward Women, whatsoever. And yet some took it that way. To those who were offended, I profusely apologize. I sincerely did not mean to do that.

Of course, Women’s contributions in the workplace are just as valuable as any one else’s. I was merely pointing out the historical reasons for pay disparity and the challenges of overcoming that.

While I worked my fingers to the bone (with numerous extra side jobs) so my Wife could stay in the home and raise our two Sons, who are now both Physician/Surgeons (plus one also has a Law Degree), I realize not everyone is so fortunate.

Please accept my apology for any misunderstanding.

Kind regards,

Jim Green”