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DC 37 joins equal pay campaign push

Stephon Johnson | 4/2/2015, 10:54 a.m.

Last week, DC 37 kicked off its pay equity campaign with an event at the union’s offices, co-sponsored by the union’s Latino Heritage and Women’s committees, chaired by Carmen Flores and Local 957 President Walthene Primus.

“In city government, women are paid 82 cents out of every dollar that men earn,” said Executive Director Henry Garrido in a statement. “It is time to end that practice.”

Called “A Celebration of Women Organizing to Promote Pay Equity,” the event featured speeches from New York City Public Advocate Letitia James and keynote speaker Laura Reyes, the secretary-treasurer of AFSCME, DC 37’s national union.

“Equal pay is not just a women’s issue, it’s a family issue that over a lifetime cheats women and their children out of a huge portion of wealth and follows women into retirement,” said Reyes.

According to a 2013 Pew Research study, women are the breadwinner for 42 percent of U.S. households, even though they earn 29 percent less than men.

And New York City isn’t the only place where people are prepping for an agenda push. In early March, a push for women and family friendly workplace policies launched in Hartford, Conn. An organization named “Everybody Benefits” wants the state government to pass bills addressing not only equal pay for women but also paying workers who usually rely on tips for a living.

Saru Jayaraman, co-founder of ROC United, talked about the intersection of working in a tipped-based industry and being a woman.

“The worst part is that when you’re a woman who must rely on tips for any portion of her base wage, you must tolerate whatever a customer might do to you, however they may touch you or treat you or talk to you, because the customer is always right,” said Jayaraman.