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National Pay Inequity Awareness Day
April 11, 1997

Plan Ahead:
Make a Statement about Unfair Pay
on April 11th

by Susan Bianchi-Sand, Executive Director, National Committee on Pay Equity

On April 11, 1997 - - three and a half months into the new year - - women's earnings will finally equal what men made in the previous calendar year. That's just not right and it hurts our families, our communities and our economy - - all of us suffer as a result.

All of us know and understand that unfair pay for women and people of color is rampant within our society - - yet it is very difficult for individuals to stand up and hold employers responsible for this persistent inequity.

To make it easier for women and people of color to speak out against unfair pay, the National Committee on Pay Equity is spearheading an effort to mark April 11th as National Pay Inequity Awareness Day in local communities all across the nation.

On April 11th, women and people of color will come together in local Fair Pay Networks and talk about the impact of unfair pay on themselves, their families and their communities. They will call on business leaders to take more responsibility for ending unfair pay practices. NCPE will help the Fair Pay Networks get organized and will put together educational materials, buttons, postcards and other promotional materials for local groups to use in their own communities.

Each community's implementation of Pay Inequity Day will reflect its own unique flavor, yet all the events will strive to raise public awareness about the wage gap and to press business leaders to review their own compensation systems to ferret out unfair and discriminatory pay policies.

Pay Inequity Day events will include: rallies on the steps of State Capitols; debates and educational briefings about the Fair Pay Act legislation in Congress; circulation of the National Petition for Fair Pay; and organized demonstrations in private work settings, such as a massive ten minute coffee break in the work day for women at 2:40 p.m. to mark the point in an eight hour work day that coincides with the wage gap figure - - 71 percent.

One of the critical problems about pay equity is that many workers employed in private companies have no way of knowing whether their pay is within a fair range. Without basic knowledge of fair pay rates, employees are at a distinct disadvantage in negotiating their pay, and wage discrimination flourishes. Employers will discuss these "market rates" with their competitors, but will not talk about them with employees.

Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Congressman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) introduced the Fair Pay Act into the 104th Congress to deal with this problem. Both have pledged to re-introduce the legislation when Congress returns next year. This bill would extend the Equal Pay Act's protections against sex-based wage discrimination to cover wage discrimination based on race or national origin; it would require equal pay for equivalent jobs, except where payment is based on seniority or merit systems, or on quanity or quality of production. Class action lawsuits would be easier to file under this proposed law. Employers would be required to maintain pay records for job classifications as well as statistics on sex, race and national origin of the employees within each classification. These reports will not contain individual's names and will become public information. This bill and other solutions to end wage discrimination will be discussed on Pay Inequity Day. We urge you to become a part of the Fair Pay Networks.

For more information about how you can get involved in the April 11th Pay Inequity Day event, contact:

Kelly Jenkins
National Committee on Pay Equity
1126 Sixteenth Street NW
Suite 411
Washington, DC 20036
Phone: (202) 331-7343
E-mail [email protected]

Excerpted from WOMANSWORD, Vol. 1, Issue 11, November, 1996.





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