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Omaha Steve Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-23-08 06:00 PM
Original message /

April 22nd, 2008

Its been 45 years since equal pay became the law, and working women still are not paid as much as men for the same work.

Today is Equal Pay Day. Equal Pay Day was created in 1996 by the National Committee on Pay Equity to illustrate the gap between mens and womens wages. It is commemorated today because April 22 represents how far into 2008 women must work just to be paid the same amount men received in 2007.

Women in the United States are paid 77 cents for every dollar paid to their male counterparts. Thats $23 less for every $100 worth of work women do $23 less to spend on groceries, housing, child care and other expenses. Over a lifetime of work, the 23 cents on the dollar adds up. The average 25-year-old working woman will lose more than $523,000 to unequal pay during her working life.

For women of color, the numbers are even worse. African-American women are paid 63 cents and Latinas 52 cents for every dollar men receive.

Since the 1970s, AFSCME has been one of the strongest advocates for closing the wage gap. AFSCME members have been the recipients of more than $1 billion in pay equity adjustments won at the bargaining table, in state and local legislatures, and through political action.

From staging strikes to landmark lawsuits, AFSCME has been on the frontline of the fight for equal pay.

* In 1981, members of AFSCME Local 101 in San Jose, Calif., went on strike to win pay equity after a city-initiated study showed that womens jobs were underpaid and the city refused to take steps to address the inequity. This successful nine-day strike was the first time workers had walked off the job to demand equal pay. As a result, members received a contract that included $1.5 million dedicated to wage increases for female-dominated jobs.

* In 1982, AFSCME won $33.4 million to raise the pay for female-dominated jobs at the state government level in Minnesota.

* In 1983, AFSCMEs landmark lawsuit against the state of Washington resulted in an out-of-court settlement providing over $100 million in pay equity adjustments to 35,000 employees. This settlement ended AFSCME Council 28s decade-long struggle to get the state to end pay disparities shown by the states own job evaluation studies.

* In 1991, AFSCME won a settlement that provided $7.5 million in wage increases and back pay to predominantly female and minority police communication technicians in the City of New York.

* In 2001, AFSCME settled the first class-action lawsuit under the Congressional Accountability Act for more than $2.5 million. As a result, 300 women employed or formerly employed by the Architect of the Capitol received pay upgrades and lump sum payments.

Read more on the issue of equal pay at the AFL-CIO Now Blog and from Ellen Bravo, former director of 9to5, National Association of Working Women and author of Taking on the Big Boys: Or Why Feminism Is Good for Families, Business and the Nation.

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