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