State assemblywoman Addie Russell, D-Theresa, recently voted for several pieces of legislation designed to end wage discrimination against women.
Russell, the chair of the Task Force on Women’s Issues, represents the St. Lawrence County townships along the St. Lawrence River, along with Canton and Potsdam and northern Jefferson County.
“In this day and age, any form of wage discrimination in the workplace is disgraceful,” Russell said. “This legislative package continues my long-standing commitment to eliminating pay inequity.”
Specifically, the assembly legislation would make it easier to enforce equal pay laws and create state policies to determine and define “comparable work.”
Additionally, the legislation would:
• Enact the New York State Fair Pay Act, A.5958, designed to address and enforce pay equity, including broadening equal pay protections to include equivalent jobs. The act would make it unlawful for an employer to discriminate between employees on the basis of gender, race or national origin and attempt to ensure that traditional female and minority jobs are not undervalued.
• Bill A.1729 would establish state policy that local political subdivisions would use to ensure equal pay for work of comparable value regardless of sex, race or national origin.
• Bill A.753 would implement a state policy that would compensate employees in state service equally for work of comparable value by eliminating wage inequality for workers due to sex, race or national origin.
• Bill A.881 would require a report evaluating wage disparities of public employees related to job titles, segregated by the gender, race and/or national origin of employees.
“During a time when many families are struggling to support their household, we must make sure that everyone is properly compensated for the work they perform,” Russell said. “North Country families work hard for their paychecks, and turning a blind eye to this problem would be a disservice to them. No one should earn less because of their gender.”
Women in New York currently make 84 cents for every dollar men earn, creating a substantial yearly pay gap of roughly $8,275 between men and women working full time in New York State, according to Russell.
African-American women are paid 64 cents and Latina women are paid only 55 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men nationally, Russell said.
As a group, full-time working women are paid nearly $23 billion less every year because of the wage gap, she said.
If a woman in New York was paid equal pay for equal work, she could afford 63 weeks of groceries; four more months of mortgage and utility payments; eight months of rent or 2,116 additional gallons of gas each year, Russell said.