2021 Equal Pay Day Forum
Nicole Faux; Dr. C. Nicole Mason; Leah Rambo; Scher Khawaja; Gloria Middleton
PowHer NY
National Taskforce on Trades
CWA Union President of 1180
Women in power and decision-making, Women and the economy, Human rights of women, Education and training of women, Institutional mechanisms
SDG 1 – No Poverty, SDG 2 – Zero Hunger, SDG5 – Gender Equality, SDG8 – Decent Work and Economic Growth, SDG9 – Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure, SDG 10 – Reduced Inequality
Young Members (2016), Sexual Health and Reproduction Education (2019), Women and STEM (2019), Sexual Harassment in Workplace (2019)
Gave specific steps that can be taken to get women into good paying jobs/ training/ fighting discrimination in the work place. Specific to NY and USA but could be a model for other nations.
Dr. C. Nicole Mason – Women have lost 4x as many jobs as men during COVID. Many of these jobs are low paying and lack benefits. Many were primary breadwinners in their families. Need a national childcare structure – no family would pay more than 7% of their income for childcare.

Leah Rambo – President of her Local Sheet Metal Workers Union. Asked why women should enter the trades she responded, "Why wouldn't they? The pay and benefits are excellent. They provide women a path out of poverty. It allows them the financial freedom to move out of toxic relationships. No training required before they begin their apprenticeship. " Their are obstacles- cultural, patriarchal. One major one is that you need to be at the job by 6:30 am or 7:00 am -leave home at 5:30 am – how do you find daycare? The Sheet Metals Union put their money where their mouth is. They changed their constitution adding penalties for bullying/discrimination/harassment. Recruitment and retention is vital – go to schools, gyms, churches. Provide mentorships. If Biden's Infrastructure plan goes through, there will be nontraditional jobs for women.

Scher Khawaja – The Title VII Act prohibits pay discrimination based on gender if doing "substantially similar work". Law is insufficient – employers have justifications not related to gender; women afraid of retaliation; many women can't find out what the men make in income. Need pay transparency laws, especially in the private sector. R86529 and S5598 are NYS pay disclosure bills in the NYS legislature. All employers would have to disclose salary, benefits, bonus etc to existing workers. Would need to report pay equity data by gender and race. Prohibits retaliation and allows for lawsuits if women get harmed. This law could have a transformative effect on all workers.

Gloria Middleton – sued the Bloomberg Administration for all administrative managers in NYC agencies. Minimum salary for majority of women never raised while white males were at the high range of pay. They went to federal court as a violation of Title VII/DOJ Civil Rights Division. The city stalled for six years – finally agreed to class settlement – women's salaries went from $53,000 to $67,000. Currently working with the NYC Council – would like the city to turn over pay data. GET THE DATA TO MAKE CHANGES!!! Next steps – salary transparency; workers on task forces; convince business that will protect them from lawsuits.
Show we need to think outside of the box in terms of life-long learning and job training for women.
Need for laws to close pay gaps and ensure gender parity.
Get grassroots involvement.
Use governments structures already on the books to help – civil right laws/DOJ/City Council etc.

See above.

Author: Maureen Byrne Byrne

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