Sign up For DC 37 News


Public Employee Press: PEP Talk

Pay Equity report shows continued wage disparities between Black women & white men in City’s workforce

Equal Pay

Photo: Mike Lee
NYC City Council Majority Leader Laurie Cumbo, who helped spark the legislative effort that led to the release of the report on salary inequality, speaks at the Black Women’s Equal Pay Day rally at City Hall Park on Aug. 2.

Shortly before marking Black Women’s Equal Pay Day on Aug. 2, the New York City Council released “Pay Equity in New York,” documenting the pay disparities of the city’s public workers that showed a large difference between what Black women and white men earn working in the same position.

The report is a culmination of a decades-long effort by the union in the fight for pay equity for public workers in the city’s workforce. DC 37 spearheaded efforts by calling attention to the systematic inequities in City agencies.

This effort included a lawsuit filed by Laborers Local 924 to address patterns of racial disparities in the salaries of their members. There were also campaigns by other locals, in particular Local 768, calling attention to pay inequities in their workforce.

In 2019, the union succeeded in negotiating with the City to add more than $12 million to the 2018 collective bargaining agreement to address these specific salary inequalities. The DC 37 Pay Equity Panel was established and plays a role during negotiations with the City to achieve equity for certain titles.

After a report on salary inequities issued by then-NYC Public Advocate Letitia James, now New York State Attorney General, the City Council took action by passing the Pay Equity Law, sponsored by Council Members Cumbo and I. Daneek Miller. The law requires the City to provide access to pay data based on race, ethnicity, gender, and other protected classes in all mayoral agencies. The City’s Data Operations Unit used data provided by the City from 2018 to study and make conclusions from the information.

The report found that the average salary for men is $21,600 higher than for women, while the median salary for white employees is significantly more than for Black employees at $27,800. The racial gap between a white employee and a Hispanic/Latino employee was reported at $22,000.

White men working for the City generally hold more senior, and therefore, higher paying-positions, which contributes to the pay gaps. The report also revealed that these inequities are due to a representative imbalance of some demographics in certain occupations.

“The findings in this report hint at the true facts about employment discrimination and pay disparity, a quite familiar topic for many of us who deal with it on a regular basis,” said NYC City Council Majority Leader Laurie Cumbo. “It shows clear, across-the-board discrimination of occupations that have a predominantly Black and brown workforce.”

In response to the report, the City Council presented recommendations to improve rampant pay inequity in the city workforce with the goal to end the occupational segregation in the city’s agencies.

The recommendations include:

  • Updating the Pay Equity Law to require additional data;
  • Requiring city agencies to collect information on the gender and race of civil service exam applicants, and statistics regarding acceptances and graduations from training programs;
  • Expanding community outreach;
  • Providing information to high school students through the Department of Education and DCAS to make them more aware of job opportunities in civil service;
  • Adjusting salaries as a means to ensure pay equity; and
  • Researching positions held by women and people of color, and looking into city agencies where the workforce is majority women and non-whites.

“This report makes clear that we must look past pattern bargaining to address the institutional pay inequities that exist in city government. In our last round of bargaining, DC 37 negotiated a pay equity fund in order to address some of the issues for our members. While that was an encouraging step in the right direction, there is clearly more work to be done,” said DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido.

Read the entire report at: