Monday, April 21, 2008

EQUAL PAY DAY and NYS LEGISLATION

In my April 12 blog I promised to let you know what happened to the motion to bring the NYS Fair Pay Act out of the NYS Senate Labor Committee. First information about the Act and Pay Inequities.

1. The NYS Fair Pat Act would provide Equal Pay for Equal Work.
Did you know:
*About 50% of American women live without a spouse which demolishes the myth that women need less money because they have “someone to lean on.”
*Higher education isn’t protection from pay inequities, though it increases annual incomes. NY women with professional degrees earn 67% of what their male counterparts earn!
*Over a working lifetime, wage disparity costs $700,000 to $2 million in lost wages, impacting families every day, but also Social Security benefits and pensions.
*AAUW’s research publication Behind the Pay Gap has facts documenting sex discrimination
2. The NYS Fair Pay Act would provide Freedom of speech in regard to salaries. How can pay inequities be claimed without knowledge of what others are earning. Without proof there is no case. Now giving wage information can result in retribution including being fired
3. The Assembly has passed the NYS Fair Pay Act every year since 2002.

RECENT DEVELOPMENTS INCLUDING ACTION ON THE MOTION

April 2, 2008, Gloria Steinem Day for Equal Pay in Albany. About 200 supporters of Equal Pay came to hear Steinem and legislators speak. On April 4, Senator Craig Johnson, sponsor of the NYS Fair Pay Act in the Senate, instituted action to require the Senate to vote on bringing the Act out of the Labor Committee and on to the floor. The vote was set for April 14. On that date only 10 members of the senate majority appeared. It was defeated. However this pressure, enhanced by your messages of concern, has made them aware that Pay Equity is an issue of concern to voters. As Irene Liu says "No politician wants to be accused of not supporting equal pay for women and minorities"

In April, before the Senate vote to bring the NYS Fair Pay Act out of the Labor Committee, The Senate Majority and Senator Robach, Chair of that committee, fast tracked a bill through the Senate that calls for an Equal Pay study. There are already many equal pay reports available. This political cover bill passed 62-0.

The Senate Majority then told the press that they had passed Pay Equity legislation. These Senators seem to have a gross misunderstanding of what Pay Equity is. We need to let them know how misinformed they are.

We in AAUW know that the NYS Fair Pay Act with its provisions for equal pay for comparable work with freedom of speech regarding salaries will bring TRUE PAY EQUITY to NYS. We will continue our efforts to bring this bill to the floor to be voted upon.

Nancy Mion

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