Tuesday, April 25, 2006

DeStefano Unveils Pay Equity Plan

From the press release on DeStefano's site.

New Haven: On April 25th (National Equal Pay Day), John DeStefano - Democratic candidate for governor - donned a red tie and unveiled his plan to end wage discrimination in Connecticut. The CT NOW President Kathleen Sloan, State Rep. Toni Walker, State Rep. Minnie Gonzalez, and other supporters joined DeStefano in the Legislative Office Building in Hartford for the announcement, each wearing red to protest the fact that women remain "in the red" when it comes to their pay.

To DeStefano's credit he does actually provide some details as to how he would go about this. Usually, even with liberal politicians, equal pay for equal work is just a throwaway line in the stump speech.

The DeStefano plan offers a comprehensive plan to reduce and eventually eliminate pay inequity in Connecticut. One of the first steps would be to empower the Connecticut Pay Equity Commission - working in conjunction with the state Department of Labor and the Permanent Commission on the Status of Women -- to establish within one year a set of standards for evaluating pay equity in municipalities and in businesses and industries employing more than 50 people.

As governor, DeStefano would work with the General Assembly and attorney general to make a verifiable pay equity plan a requirement for any company bidding on state contracts. Contractors who do not show progress in eliminating pay inequities would lose the ability to bid on future state work.

In addition, the DeStefano Administration would publicly recognize the top 25 municipalities and 100 companies in terms of pay equity and create a Governor's Justice in the Workplace Award to recognize the Top 10 in each category.

It's nice to see a candidate realize that there's more to women's issues than abortion. I also appreciate that he's working with NOW rather than doing this internally. The problem is that I don't think of equal pay for equal work as just a women's issue. If Democrats really want to make progress in terms of how people are compensated for work perhaps they could broaden that debate.

If you're interested in what Equal Pay Day actually is, the official website is here. The site is focused on women, but the fact sheet contains some information on how people of color are paid in comparison to caucasians for both men and women.

What do you think of Destefano's proposal?

Slap, Derek. On National Pay Equity Day, DeStefano Unveils Pay Equity Plan, DeStefano For Governor Web Site 4/25/06


disgruntled_republican said...


You said, "The problem is that I don't think of equal pay for equal work as just a women's issue. If Democrats really want to make progress in terms of how people are compensated for work perhaps they could broaden that debate."


Couldn't agree more!

BRubenstein said...

DeStefano presents a weak plan...we dont need yet another comission....just put the dam legislation in and do it...

The only way to beat Rell..is with bold and daring issues and campaign tactics and strategy....this doesnt begin to be daring and bold.

cgg said...

Glad I could make you happy Disgruntled.

Brubenstein, I agree with you about a lack of boldness. That's why I wish DeStefano had cast a wider net on this.

Top-n-Center said...

My honest opinion-- as a reasonably emplyed white male-- regardless of how real the problem is-- the proposal comes off as nothing more than another layer of regulation and burden to business. And if the problem is really real, why the 50-employee threshold? Are not women in smaller businesses entitled to equal pay, too?

It looks like campaign-policy and smells like campaign-policy.. At best its likely to become beauracratic overhead in the end.

Gov. Rell: Bold and real is the new black.

PS: I checked out the DeStefano link to his announcement. No white males on his web banner graphic-- Are these matters that calculated... And is that wise?

AB said...

So Destefano wants a plan whereby the government determines when two individuals should be paid equally? How do they base this determination? Do they account for experience, job performance etc? The government has no business telling business exactly how much individuals should be paid. To say that two individuals should be paid the same based on race or gender is just pure case of goverment putting its nose where it doesnt belong.

fact is the pay inequity cause is based on a belief that it is a serious problem in industry that affects woman and minorities. Dont believe the NOW propaganda....dig up soem real facts and data from the Department of Labor and other reliable sources.

As for this proposal it is pure electioneering designed to garner more female voters......its exactly what I woudl expect from a troll like Destefano.

Gabe said...

Aaron B. -

Dont believe the NOW propaganda....dig up soem real facts and data from the Department of Labor and other reliable sources.

Its devil's advocate time...

Here is a link to the Maine Department of Labor report on gender pay equity. On the front page are national figures, from the US Department of Labor, complete with chart, that show that women's pay is 78% of their male counterparts. In actual money, that equals $150 per week or $6,000 per year.

What would you do with an extra $6,000 per year? Or rather, what are you doing with the extra $6,000 per year?

Chris MC said...

Sorry for the off-topic post, but I just wanted to share this in case anyone hadn't heard it yet. Just in case it has escaped anyone that Fox News and the Bush administration are joined at the hip.

Gotta go slit my wrists now.

Quinn said...

While it is a fact that women (even with similar educational attainment and similar backgrounds) make less than their male counterparts, much of this is due to self-selection.

Women are more likely to either seek jobs which offer a more rewarding work experience or work to improve the job environment at their workplace, while men are simply more money-grubbing. Its a choice women make, in many cases, to abandon that extra pay in order to lead a more fulfilling life. Generally, women prefer intangible benefits to raw pay.

So the women's movement is largely mistaken in tackling this issue.

But even more misguided would be for the state to tackle this issue. How could such a policy possibly be enforced?

I was beginning to like DeStefano's style, but this is a real let down for me.

Genghis Conn said...

I think Quinn is right about this issue, at least in terms of it being a nightmare to enforce. I could also see it being very, very difficult to define "equal work" in a way that takes into account all the sorts of factors that go into determining pay.

Probably the best thing any governor could do to help promote equal pay for equal work/experience (i.e., to enforce current antidiscrimination laws) would be to strengthen whistleblower statutes. A lot of the progress made comes from whistleblowers filing lawsuits and bringing the practice of private companies into the public light.

cgg said...

From the Department of Labor web site.

The median weekly earnings of women ages 16-24 as a percentage of men’s increased from 78.5 percent in 1979 to 90.7 percent in 1989, a rise of 12.2 percentage points. As of 1998, the ratio was only 0.6 percentage point higher at 91.3 percent, for a total change of 12.8 percentage points since 1979.

There was a smaller change in the female-to-male earnings ratio from 1979 to 1989 among those 25 and over; their earnings ratio grew by 8.1 percentage points, to 70.2 percent in 1989. The earnings ratio for this group of people rose another 5.7 percentage points to hit an all-time high of 75.9 percent in 1998, reflecting a total change of 13.8 percentage points between 1979 and 1998.

That's not NOW propaganda. The gap exists. Even the Bush-run Department of Labor acknowledges it.

Genghis Conn said...

Also, another real problem that exists is that professions dominated by women, such as nursing, teaching and (ahem) librarianship, don't pay well at all. Whether this lousy pay is the result of historical discrimination or the fact that society undervalues these professions is unclear.

cgg said...

Quinn have you read Linda Hirshman's essay about this same topic?

Don Pesci said...

I’m not sure what you’d call a form of government that defines monitors and enforces pay equity: “Huge” might be appropriate. At some point, this state has got to begin worrying about public policies that drive businesses from its door. What is the point of having pay equity when you don’t have businesses that issue pay checks? All these regulations force businesses to increase their costs. The fact that pay inequity (absolutely equal pay for similar work) seems to be a constant suggests that it may be attributed to some factors other than discrimination. One thing is certain: Once you remove from the market place its ability to adjust jobs to business needs and invest that function in a government agency, the resulting bureaucracy would be HUGE and insupportable.

turfgrrl said...

I have a much simpler plan that will do more for pay inequality than DeStefano's plan. Simply, make it a requirement that all compensation, wages and salaries are publicly disclosed, from CEO down.

AB said...

yeah thats right, publicly disclose the pay of every employee on the payroll...thats a brilliant idea.......

This whole thing is an example of electionerring and attempting to get government to further regulate business. Sorry folks but pay inequity is not one of the great social demons of the 21st century.......

I have a better idea, how about we do away with the gas tax in CT......how bout we remove the manufacturing tax, how about we place a greater tax on millionaires. Yes I support the millionaires tax. How about we get the casinos to pay their fair share of tax. How about we fix the broken teachers arbitration law that allows the state to award pay raises that local towns cannot afford only resulting in teacher layoffs....