To the Editor:
On April 17 – Equal Pay Day – members of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) in New York State were in Albany to learn more about several bills of importance to women and their families here in the Empire State.
Assemblywoman Addie Russell, who represents half of St. Lawrence County in Albany, was one of the legislators who greeted AAUW members and explained how bills are moved through the legislative process into law.
In addition -- and more importantly -- she cast a Yes vote for the “New York State Fair Pay Act.” It provides that “it shall be an unlawful employment practice for an employer to discriminate between employees on the basis of sex, race and/or national origin by paying different wages.” A simple, clear, and to-the-point statement about fair and equal compensation for equal work.
Assemblyman Ken Blankenbush, who represents the other half of St. Lawrence County, voted No to Fair Pay. Assembly bill A06130A passed 90 to 52.
There is absolutely no reason why a man should be paid more for the exact same job or same job category as a woman who is doing the job equally as well. Quality of work is measurable and many industries already have in place regular, written, documented employee review practices.
If two people are doing the same quality of work in a like job, pay and compensation should be equal. It is well past time for pay discrimination in the workplaces of New York State to be eliminated.
Votes on legislation to end discrimination, like budgets, are statements of values. St. Lawrence County is well-served by Assemblywoman Russell who voted to end pay discrimination and put women (and their families) on an equal compensation footing with men.
The Fair Pay Act must also be passed by the NYS Senate in order to become law. AAUW urges Senators Pattie Richie and Joe Griffo to show leadership and commitment on this important economic issue and help move fair pay onto the floor of the Senate for action.
Donna Seymour, Potsdam, St. Lawrence County AAUW