Coming Clean on Worker Salaries

Not knowing what your colleagues make can hurt you. A modest proposal for closing the paycheck gap

J. Scott Applewhite / AP

Lilly Ledbetter, left, speaks with Wade Henderson, president of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights.

I have no clue what my colleagues make. I suspect some earn more than I do and others take home less. Like most American workers, I consider my salary my own damn business. Turns out that could be a big mistake—at least in the opinion of a petite grandmother with an Alabama drawl.

When Lilly Ledbetter began working at Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. in 1979, she too knew nothing of her peers' paychecks. She was hired as a supervisor at its Birmingham, Ala., tire plant, doing all the work her male colleagues did. She says she hauled...

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