NJEA supports efforts to level the playing field for women in the workplace. For far too long, employers used salary history to keep wages down among women. Employers also threaten to fire employees if they share salary information, thus depriving women of asking their male counterparts what they earn.
Approximately 70 percent of NJEA members are female. Prior to collective bargaining, men were paid more than women. It was a common practice and widely accepted. The collective bargaining process, passed in 1968, created a process for wages based upon experience and increases in salaries based upon seniority. Collective bargaining leveled the playing field for men and women in a school system and was every much a civil rights victory as it was a workers’ rights victory. Every time the legislature weakens collective bargaining laws, they further erode the gains made by women in education.
By now, we are all aware of the statistics–women make 77 cents to a man’s dollar, median wages of full-time, year-round workers stood at $35,745 for women and $46,367 for men. This cannot continue and we applaud the sponsors for taking this step.
Senators Gill and Weinberg have put forward S-559, which amends the Law Against Discrimination (LAD) to strengthen protections against employment discrimination and promote equal pay for women. This bill prohibits any employer from making inquiries into a job applicant’s salary history or screen applicant based on salaries.
Senators Weinberg, Sweeney, and Cunningham are sponsoring S-104 which will also amend the current Law Against Discrimination (LAD) to make it unlawful for an employer to discriminate between employees on the basis of sex by paying a rate of compensation, including benefits, to employees of one sex less than the rate paid to employees of another sex. The bill also prohibits employers from taking reprisals against an employee for disclosing information about job titles and salaries.
These bills are common sense and will go a long way to helping women level the playing field at the workplace. The two bills are scheduled for the Senate Labor Committee on March 5, 2018.
Email your Senator. Ask him or her to vote YES on S-559 and S-104 and protect women and minorities from employment discrimination.
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