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Boojatta Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-30-07 10:32 AM
Original message
Possible to apply the principle of equal pay to a hypothetical scenario?
If 70% of women who work as teachers (in the range K-12) were teaching at private schools (and if more than 58% of the teachers in public schools were men), then would systematic higher pay levels for public school teachers over private school teachers be a violation of the principle of equal pay for work of equal value?
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saltpoint Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-30-07 10:36 AM
Response to Original message
1. Within a public school system, women and men should be paid
Edited on Mon Apr-30-07 10:37 AM by Old Crusoe
correspondingly equal pay for correspondingly equal contribution.

And they should be paid more than they're paid now for the kind of, and amount of, work they do.

The public is the chief beneficiary of teachers' work and taxes should rightly be considered an investment in the greater public well-being.

The percentage of men to women is a fluctuating variable and should not determine the scale of pay, IMO.
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Boojatta Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-30-07 12:37 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. If public schools pay more to teachers than private schools pay,
Edited on Mon Apr-30-07 12:38 PM by Boojatta
then would it be unethical to have a higher percentage of male public school teachers than male private school teachers? Would that be a sign of systematic or objectively real gender discrimination in hiring and dismissal policies of the public sector of the education workplace?
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saltpoint Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-30-07 03:37 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. Of course not. You are speaking of two separate school systems.
One public, the other private.

You can't extract percentages of teachers by gender and then set up an artificial comparison on salary.

You can certainly do comparisons in curricula and pedagogy.

But a teacher, whether male or female, knows the dollar amount on the contract before signing.

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Boojatta Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-30-07 06:35 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. When people talk about gender gaps in wages, are they usually
talking about situations where the worker doesn't know the dollar amount on the contract before signing?
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saltpoint Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-30-07 07:36 PM
Response to Reply #4
6. Not in education, anyway. A private school teacher in some private
Edited on Mon Apr-30-07 07:38 PM by Old Crusoe
schools in Florida in 1983 began at $12,000. The Headmaster or Headmistress had discretion over whether the applicant chosen was male or female. An M.A. or equivalent was usually the tripswitch for hire but a Ph.D. was often urged to increase salary and tenure. It depended on the school and its controlling Board.

Not all public school systems pay the same. An Indiana public school system pays $36,000 to start with appropriate certification, but will hire instructors from the private sector at a lower beginning wage with the expectation that certification will follow, at which time the salary would increase.

A school system north of Cincinnati this coming week will decide on a school levy to fund non-curriculum basics. The M.A. holders have tenure, even in specialist fields, but teachers with neither the M.A. nor the tenure from an equivalent will be let go if the levy fails. Their gender is not a factor, except in the case where a male teacher would much more likely to be hired for boys' phys. ed and a female much more likely to be hired for girls' phys. ed.

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Donald Ian Rankin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-30-07 07:11 PM
Response to Original message
5. No, it wouldn't.
Equal pay for equal work means just that. Working in a public school and working in a private school are not the same job - indeed, working in one private/public school is not the same job as working in another private/public school - so paying one more than the other is perfectly reasonable (or at least not unreasonable for reasons related to gender discrimination - there may well be other objections to it).
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Boojatta Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-01-07 06:27 PM
Response to Reply #5
7. If teaching in a public school is necessarily a job different from
Edited on Tue May-01-07 06:27 PM by Boojatta
teaching in a private school, then I suspect that nursing is necessarily a job different from plumbing. What do you think?

The nursing/plumbing comparison was elicited in my mind by the OP at this link:

Will Women Ever Get Paid What They Deserve?
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Donald Ian Rankin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-01-07 08:08 PM
Response to Reply #7
8. I think nursing and plumbing are different jobs.

I think that it is clearly the case that jobs which have traditionally been male-dominated pay more on average than jobs which have been traditionally female-dominated, whatever your view on the causation involved.

I think that there probably are things that should be done in the education system to reduce the extent to which gender correlates with choice of career.

In the UK, at least, many such things are being done.

I do not think that the state should try and legislate about which jobs should be paid more than others.

I do not think that one should take into account the gender breakdown of the people doing it when deciding how much to pay a specific job.
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iverglas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-04-07 04:49 PM
Response to Original message
9. equal pay for work of equal value
(not "equal pay for equal work", as Mr. Rankin seems to have misunderstood -- and then stated the exact reason why equal value is the issue)

-- is a principle that applies only where there is a single employer. At least in terms of the "violation" you refer to. There can only be a violation if there is a rule.

http://www.hrsdc.gc.ca/en/lp/spila/clli/eslc/ep_e.pdf
(from Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, the federal government department that deals with various labour force issues)

Studies have shown that in the early to mid-80's, women continued to be paid on average about two-thirds of men's wages. Considerable empirical research indicates that the existing wage-gap can be attributed to essentially two factors: a segregated labour force and the historical undervaluation of women's work. ...

CONCEPTS

It is necessary to distinguish between the following concepts: a) equal pay for equal work, b) equal pay for work of equal value, and c) pay equity.

a) Equal pay for equal work addresses the more overt form of discrimination in the payment of wages on the basis of sex. Equal pay for equal work involves direct comparison of jobs occupied by opposite sexes where they are the same or substantially the same.

b) Equal pay for work of equal value provides for the reduction of the wage gap by comparing male and female jobs of a different nature. For instance, the employment of a nurse and that of a parking lot attendant can be compared using job evaluation techniques.

c) The concept of pay equity refers to legislated programs that aim to achieve equity in pay in a predictable and organized fashion. Pay equity laws are pro-active in that they do not rely on a complaint being filed in order to engage. These laws provide specific targets and deadlines, and use the collective bargaining process to get the parties to agree on a job evaluation system and on pay adjustments. As is the case for equal pay for work of equal value, pay equity allows for the comparison of male and female jobs of a different nature.

In comparing occupations, four criteria are normally used: 1) Skill; 2) Effort; 3) Responsibility, and 4) Working conditions.

These criteria are used in pay equity legislation in all six provinces that have enacted such legislation, and are used regularly in human rights and labour standards legislation. Other criteria for comparison include duties, services, education, and experience. Some laws do not mention criteria for comparison.


The problem with your question -- trying to apply the principle as a universal rule -- is that it is proposing to compare apples and oranges. The private school system and the public school system have different resources. If neither one is paying predominantly female job groups less than it pays predominantly male job groups, it is not operating contrary to the principle of equal pay for work of equal value. Neither one is responsible for what some other organization pays its employees, and one of the two may be completely unable to pay the same wages as the other, completely apart from the sex of the employees.

It might be a violation of the principle that we all would like to be universal -- that everyone should be paid what his/her work is worth to society, say -- but even that can't be applied in the current economic system. What an employee's work is "worth" depends on what value it produces for the employer. If private schools can't raise their tuition fees without losing their students, for instance, then their teachers' work just isn't "worth" what the public schools pay, i.e. is not of equal value.

In applying the actual principle, "worth" means the criteria mentioned above:
1) Skill; 2) Effort; 3) Responsibility, and 4) Working conditions.
But that just doesn't work when comparing across employers.




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Donald Ian Rankin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-04-07 06:38 PM
Response to Reply #9
10. It's a disagreement, not a misunderstanding.
I support paying different people doing the same job to the same standard the same amount.

I oppose arbitrarily declaring two different jobs to be "of equal value" and demanding that they are paid the same amount (and there's no non-arbitrary way of doing so).

If an employer chooses to try and systematise their pay scales for different jobs in some fashion, that's all well and good, but it's not something that can be done arbitrarily from outside when e.g. two jobs entailing very similar work have different job market situations.
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iverglas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-05-07 06:51 PM
Response to Reply #10
11. it's not on point at all, I'm afraid

The question asked in the opening post was about equal pay for work of equal value. Your initial reply was:

Equal pay for equal work means just that.

Indeed it does. And it is not the same thing as equal pay for work of equal value, precisely because "equal pay for equal work" completely fails to address the question of male/female wage inequality.

I made it very clear that the principle of "equal work for work of equal value" applies only within employers at present, not across employers -- and that there really is no way that it can apply across employers, not because of labour market issues, but because of all the other issues involved in determining the value of any work to one employer as compared to another employer.

The "different job market situations" to which you refer, when looking at jobs within a single employer, are no more nor less than the fact that employers can get away with paying women less for work of value equal to the work done by men.

Where I'm at, it tends to be applied more in public sector workplaces, although it is applied in large private-sector employers. One of the classic examples is that in the Ontario government, male parking lot attendants were paid more than female childcare workers (if I'm remembering correctly; it may have been nursing staff). Examples in the private sector here have included Bell Canada and Air Canada -- classic examples of industries where there are historical "male" and "female" job categories and huge gaps between the two based on nothing but the historic development of "male" and "female" categories and the employers' exploitation of the vulnerability of female workers, who did not have access to the "male" categories.
http://www.cep.ca/human_rights/equity/bell/chronologie_...

Your arguments follow the classic right-wing line, that women make "choices" that result in their earning less money, having less job security, having fewer opportunities for advancement, having less attractive benefits and having lower pensions.

There is of course no response to this that will satisfy people who are not concerned about inequity in the workplace and society. Everything that every individual in the market does is a "choice", and the individual must bear the consequences of the choice alone.

One thing is that individuals do not bear the consequences of their choices alone, much of the time. In the case of male/female wage inequity, children commonly bear the consequences of their single-parent household's poverty. Society bears the consequences of the poor physical and mental health, and poverty in old age, that are experienced by women working in low-wage jobs. Hell, men bear the consequences when their marriage break down and their former wives need spousal support in order to pay the rent.

In the public sector, there are no "market situations". Other criteria are applied in classifying jobs. Consider:
http://www.ncwcnbes.net/documents/researchpublications/...
Comparing male and female jobs made it clear that women's skills and working conditions were systematically trivialized and ignored. For example, although it takes 1,250 distinct finger movements to type 50 words a minute, typists were seldom given points for manual dexterity. Oil and grease were always considered in assessing the working conditions of men, but blood and worse were forgotten when it came to the working conditions of women health workers. Responsibility for tools was almost invariably rated higher than responsibility for people's well-being or health.

In that situation, the disparities were not the result of women's choices; they are the result of the undervaluing of the work that women chose to do.

You say that there is "no non-arbitrary way" of determining the value of work done -- but in fact that value is determined all the time. Every time a job is classified, by the skills, qualifications and experience required to do it, and the responsibility it entails, that determination is made. Job classification is an industry in itself, and the sometimes complex determinations are what all those human relations departments in govt and business and industry busy themselves applying.

Within a single employer, be it private-sector or public-sector, it is not remotely arbitrary to determine the value of work done based on these factors, for most ordinary jobs. It may be difficult to compare the salaries of, say, the senior VP for marketing and the in-house senior legal counsel, but those are really not the vast bulk of the jobs we are talking about.

Mind you, a friend of mine did file a pay equity complaint in the federal government some years ago in that kind of situation. She worked for the revenue department, in a group in which there were lawyers and accountants doing basically the same work. The accountants were paid more than the lawyers (if you can imagine!). All the accountants were men, and all the lawyers were women. What "choices" led to this situation, it would be pretty difficult to sort out. One factor might indeed have been that higher-paying jobs in the legal profession in the private sector were more readily available to men (and in fact this was very true at the time; men definitely had a privileged position when seeking jobs in the private sector). It might have been that women were more likely to go into law than accounting at the time. Whatever those choices were, the work that the two groups were doing was of exactly equal value to the federal government.

When you say:

If an employer chooses to try and systematise their pay scales for different jobs in some fashion, that's all well and good, but it's not something that can be done arbitrarily from outside when e.g. two jobs entailing very similar work have different job market situations.

you imply that an employer should be able to pay its (female) secretaries half of what it pays its (male) janitors for the simple reason that secretaries willing to work for the low wage are more plentiful than janitors who would be willing to work for the same wage. This principle has some interesting implications.

What about minimum wage laws, for instance? If an employer can find someone to work for half the minimum wage, why should it be required to pay the minimum wage? What about occupational health and safety standards? If an employer can find someone willing to work in unbearable heat, why should it have to maintain a lower heat? (A worker died in Ontario a couple of summers ago, working in an insufficiently cooled bakery.) What about unemployment insurance? If an employer can find someone willing to work without that safety net, why should it have to pay premiums? How about union shops? If a union has been certified for the employer, why should it not be able to hire non-union members willing to work for half the wage and no benefits?

(That last question might sound odd to some USAmericans, but in Canada we have strong labour laws that protect the right to organize, and in some jurisdictions even have anti-scab laws.)

Very few aspects of the employer-employee relationship are unregulated, or left to "market" forces, or employees' "choices", to determine. It's damned a strange thing to hear, whenever someone who would never dream of abolishing the minimum wage, for instance, takes on so about pay equity.

Of course, there are always the loonytarians among us who do object to minimum wages ... and anti-discrimination laws, and public schools, and government in general. Regardless of what they call themselves, they're the right wing.



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Boojatta Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-01-07 12:18 PM
Response to Reply #11
12. A given employer is necessarily geographically concentrated to what degree?
I made it very clear that the principle of "equal work for work of equal value" applies only within employers at present, not across employers (...)

When you wrote the above, were you thinking of an employer as being an immediate supervisor in the same physical location as all employees supervised by the supervisor?

I don't see how you get any particular degree of geographical concentration out of the concept "same employer." For example, an organization might include a number of facilities near each other within the same city or town (such as a chain of small restaurants or copy shops on a University campus or a system of library branches on a University campus). It might include a number of facilities in towns far from each other, but all within one state. It might include facilities in several states and no more than a few in any given state. It might include facilities in different countries.


and that there really is no way that it can apply across employers, not because of labour market issues, but because of all the other issues involved in determining the value of any work to one employer as compared to another employer.

What kinds of issues do you have in mind? Is the degree of geographical concentration an issue?

One final issue for this message:
The notion of a principle "applying" or "not applying" seems to be a matter of decree. If you don't intend to take on an authoritarian role, then perhaps you could formulate a particular principle very clearly and give a name to the text that formulates it. Then the principle itself (to be invoked by referring to a reasonably short name that identifies both the principle and the text that formulates the principle) will provide all the information necessary for people to determine for themselves what it does or does not apply to.

It seems that various (e.g. religious) institutions have imposed very specific rules in practice at any given time and used vague principles to justify imposing those rules. However, they didn't identify any particular person within the institution and explain that they were merely providing that person's interpretation. They insisted that the principles themselves demanded the specifics. When they wanted to revise the rules, they pretended that there was no change. They pretended that people were confused and needed help understanding "how the principles apply."
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Boojatta Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-01-07 12:36 PM
Response to Reply #12
13. In case anyone is wondering how geographical concentration...
Edited on Fri Jun-01-07 12:39 PM by Boojatta
... arises as a subtopic in this thread:

not again ...

I tried to explain the concept of "equal pay for work of equal value", and how that concept is and can be applied, in your other thread with a similar question.

The words "your other thread" refer to this thread.

Here is the thread that the above quotation is taken from:

Should Mexican Law Require Women in Mexico Near the US Border
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iverglas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-02-07 07:03 PM
Response to Reply #12
14. yer just a barrel of monkeys, you are
Actually, quite a bit less fun, and making probably less sense. And I'm really just not all that interested in reading dumb questions, let alone answering them. Asking dumb questions seems to be a technique that you think serves you well hereabouts. I guess you have your reasons.


me: I made it very clear that the principle of "equal work for work of equal value" applies only within employers at present, not across employers ...
(We don't put parentheses or brackets around ellipses in English, just fyi.)

you:
When you wrote the above, were you thinking of an employer as being an immediate supervisor in the same physical location as all employees supervised by the supervisor?

No. That is an incredibly dumb and enormously insulting question. Do I really look quite this stupid? Trust me; I'm not even stupid enough not to know what comes next, or exactly how sophistic and disingenuous it will be.

I don't see how you get any particular degree of geographical concentration out of the concept "same employer."

I don't see why you'd expect to. Why did you expect to? Did you expect to?

For example, an organization might include a number of facilities near each other within the same city or town (such as a chain of small restaurants or copy shops on a University campus or a system of library branches on a University campus). It might include a number of facilities in towns far from each other, but all within one state. It might include facilities in several states and no more than a few in any given state. It might include facilities in different countries.

Hip, hip, hooray for the organization. And thank you so much for that dissertation. Now, if you could explain what it might have to do with:
In comparing occupations, four criteria are normally used:
1) Skill;
2) Effort;
3) Responsibility, and
4) Working conditions.
-- I'd be more than happy to help you out.

Now maybe, just maybe, you're putting arrow to quiver and planning to come back (some weeks later) with something about how there are Wal-Mart employees in the US, and Wal-Mart employees in Canada, and Wal-Mart employees in Europe ...

And then we'll just try one more time to grasp that concept of jurisdictions. If the "principle" to which you refer is to be ENFORCED as a norm, then the jurisdictional aspect really just can't be disregarded, can it?

And we'll also have to try to remember that the principle applies to situations in which the pay inequality exists between members of groups that are protected categories under anti-discrimination legislation.

me:
and that there really is no way that it can apply across employers, not because of labour market issues, but because of all the other issues involved in determining the value of any work to one employer as compared to another employer.

you:
What kinds of issues do you have in mind? Is the degree of geographical concentration an issue?

What is this geography bug you seem to have up your ass? Are YOU really this stupid?

Does "issues involved in determining the value of any work to one employer as compared to another employer" look to YOU like it has something to do with geography??

I'm going to leave this one in your court. See whether you can dream up something that is involved in determining the value of work to an employer, 'k?

The notion of a principle "applying" or "not applying" seems to be a matter of decree.

Well fuckin' duh, eh? A principle that consists of a norm of conduct applies if there is some authority for it applying. We often call these "laws". In this context, we might also call them "collective agreements" -- the authority can derive from the authority in the hands of a government, or from the agreement of the parties.

That is how the principle applies in a practical sense.

How it applies in a theoretical sense, i.e. not as a norm of conduct, but as a framework for analysis, is no matter of "decree" at all -- it is a matter of the content of the principal itself, which happens to have at least certain known parameters, regardless of your efforts to pretend it doesn't or is something other than what it is, you cleverclogs you.

If you don't intend to take on an authoritarian role, then perhaps you could formulate a particular principle very clearly and give a name to the text that formulates it.

Okey dokey. But first, you must give a name to the text that formulates the principle "thou shalt not kill" -- to be a text that I find authoritative, of course. And mind, we're talking about a principle, not a law.

My prediction: you won't find one. Life's funny that way.

It seems that various (e.g. religious) institutions have imposed very specific rules in practice at any given time and used vague principles to justify imposing those rules. However, they didn't identify any particular person within the institution and explain that they were merely providing that person's interpretation. They insisted that the principles themselves demanded the specifics. When they wanted to revise the rules, they pretended that there was no change. They pretended that people were confused and needed help understanding "how the principles apply."

Yeah, blah burble blah. Progressives are just fascists at heart, did I get that right?

Seems to be the thrust of your oeuvre hereabouts.

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Boojatta Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-04-07 09:08 AM
Response to Reply #9
16. In reality, just about any two things are different.
Edited on Tue Sep-04-07 09:14 AM by Boojatta
Are two given things as different from each other as an apple is different from an orange? In what cases are the two differences themselves as different from each other as an apple is from an orange?

The problem with your question -- trying to apply the principle as a universal rule -- is that it is proposing to compare apples and oranges. The private school system and the public school system have different resources. If neither one is paying predominantly female job groups less than it pays predominantly male job groups, it is not operating contrary to the principle of equal pay for work of equal value. Neither one is responsible for what some other organization pays its employees, and one of the two may be completely unable to pay the same wages as the other, completely apart from the sex of the employees.

Suppose that an owner/manager has 33 employees. Three are paid the same amount as each other and that amount is twice the hourly wage of each of the 30 other employees. Suppose that some calculation persuades the relevant jurisdictional authorities that each of the 30 is doing a job "equal to" the job done by each of the three. Is it possible that if the employer were to raise the wages of the 30 to make those wages equal to the wages of the three, then prices would also have to be raised significantly, provoking existing customers to stop spending money for the employer's goods and services?

If the scenario that you described is sufficient to establish that the "equal pay for equal jobs" principle cannot apply in any case where two employees work for different employers, then why is the above scenario not sufficient to also establish that the "equal pay for equal jobs" principle cannot apply in any case where two employees work for the same employer?

What contrast between the two scenarios accounts for the ability to draw from your scenario the sweeping conclusion that the principle cannot feasibly apply in any case where two employees work for different employers and the inability to draw from the above scenario the conclusion that the principle cannot feasibly apply to two employees who work for the same employer?
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Quantess Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-03-07 12:11 AM
Response to Original message
15. it's pretty cool when males show interest in women's rights.
However, there is no money in education.
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