Mayor Bill de Blasio (158804)
Credit: Bill Moore

In an effort to close the wage gap for minorities and women in New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio signed an executive order Nov. 4 banning government agencies from asking job applicants about previous salaries.

The executive order bans hiring managers in city agencies from asking potential employees about their salary history, or searching for their salary in public databases.

“When we looked at this more and more,” said de Blasio during a news conference in City Hall’s rotunda, “we came to the simple conclusion, you have to disrupt the cycle.”

According to Politico New York, more than 90 percent of city workers are unionized and receive pay rates agreed upon via collective bargaining. The executive order will apply to potential employees who aren’t unionized or city employees who are looking to transfer to a different agency.

“The simple answer for us is, we could do this right now, we could reach 350,000 plus jobs right now,” said de Blasio. “Why wait?”

De Blasio also said that he would support a bill introduced by Public Advocate Letitia James in August in the City Council that would prevent employers in the private sector from asking about past salaries.

De Blasio said that it was imperative for the city to lead and that all employers should institute similar regulations.

“My message to white guys, my message to employers, this is just good for everyone,” de Blasio said in response to a reporter who asked about how the mayor’s own race and gender play impact his decision making. “What I’d say to white guys is, if the shoe was on the other foot, if you were part of the class that hadn’t gotten fair salaries for decades and decades and decades, you’d sure want to be valued for your abilities.”

During the news conference, de Blasio reflected on his mother’s difficulties as his family’s sole wage earner and the influence of his wife, Chirlane McCray.

“My No. 1 adviser—and I’ve said this from the transition to today, is Chirlane McCray,” the mayor said.