May 12, 2014
By Marc Bussanich
New York, NY—School safety agents rallied outside City Hall again to call on Mayor Bill de Blasio to fulfill a campaign promise to equalize pay for more than 5,000 school safety agents by settling a long-standing gender-based equal pay lawsuit. WATCH VIDEO of IBT 237 PRESSER
On April 8, the agents rallied to celebrate Equal Pay Day to bring attention to the four-year lawsuit that they say is the largest pay discrimination suit in the country.
According to Greg Floyd, president of Teamsters Local 237, the union that represents the school safety agents, the 5,000 agents, over 70 percent of whom are women of color, make an average annual salary of $35,000 compared to an average annual salary of $42,000 for other peace-officer titles, 70 percent of whom are male.
The agents were joined by city officials—Public Advocate Tish James and Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito—and the National Organization for Women and Lilly Ledbetter, the namesake of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.
Ledbetter worked as a supervisor for 19 years with the Goodyear Tire Company when she learned she was earning 40 percent less than her male counterparts, prompting her to bring a lawsuit against the company.
She called on the Mayor to settle the lawsuit.
“The Mayor of this city should follow through on his promise and close this case,” said Ledbetter.
The Mayor happened to pass the presser on his way to Randall’s Island to announce the city’s new fire commissioner, but didn’t stop to comment. He did, however, comment on the issue earlier this week.
“I think I’ve said very, very clearly, we’re going to settle that case. We don’t accept pay inequity,” said Mr. de Blasio.
But James Linsey, an attorney with Local 237, said at the April 8 presser that the city had just filed papers against the case in federal court.
“Just yesterday, on April 7, the city’s law department, under the leadership of Zach Carter, filed papers opposing this case in federal court. That should stop,” said Linsey.
It was the Mayor’s birthday yesterday, so NOW NYC president Sonia Ossorio and Mr. Linsey displayed a birthday cake topped with candles that spelled out “7,000,” the differential in pay between school safety officers and other peace-officer titles. They dropped it off with a security officer in City Hall.