A progressive group is calling for a boycott of the retailers Macy's and Kroger Food Stores after a news report revealed this week that they opposed passage of a Texas equal pay bill.
"While these stores advertise to Moms and Millennials, they have been secretly organizing to stop mothers and young women from getting equal pay for equal work," said Ed Espinoza, executive director of Progress Texas, in announcing the boycott on Wednesday. "Macy's and Kroger worked to veto Equal Pay, so we are encouraging consumers to veto these stores during Texas’ Back to School Tax-Free weekend."
State Sen. Sylvia Garcia (D) has already canceled an Aug. 7 appearance at a Macy's store to kick off the tax-free weekend.
"While I strongly support the tax free weekend that allows parents struggling to provide clothing and supplies for their children before they return to school, I was dismayed to learn that Macy's and Kroger would oppose equal pay for equal work," Garcia said in a statement. "As a co-sponsor of the legislation and supporter of equal rights, I am supporting the call to boycott until these stores reverse their position and declare their support for equal pay."
The bill would have brought Texas state law in line with the federal Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which makes it easier for women to sue employers over wage discrimination. Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) vetoed the bill in June.
On Tuesday, the Houston Chronicle reported that the Texas Retailers Association and five of its members had written to Perry and urged him to veto the legislation. Macy's, Kroger, the Houston grocery company Gerland Corp., Brookshire Grocery Company and Market Basket all wrote to the governor, the Chronicle reported.
Neither Macy's nor Kroger immediately returned a request for comment.
In his veto statement in June, Perry said that he objected to the bill because it "duplicates federal law, which already allows employees who feel they have been discriminated against through compensation to file a claim with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission." He added that he was worried it could prompt more regulations and harm job creation.
In response to a question about whether the retailers affected the governor's veto decision, Perry spokesman Josh Havens told The Huffington Post on Tuesday, "Our office receives hundreds of pieces of correspondence, each expressing an opinion on a number of issues. These opinions are always considered, but at the end of the day, the governor makes his decision based on what is in the best interest of the state."