ALBANY, N.Y. - On Monday, the nation marks the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy signing the federal Equal Pay Act into law on June 10, 1963.
The Equal Pay Act made strides in narrowing the wage gap, however some legislators feel it needs an upgrade. Congressman Paul Tonko says the legislation has not been updated in 50 years and women continue to make only 77 cents for every dollar a man makes nationwide.
Tonko is calling for enactment of the Paycheck Fairness Act which he says provides "effective remedies to women who are not being paid equal wages for doing equal work and protecting employees from retaliation for sharing salary information with their co-workers."
On Monday, the Women's Equality Coalition, led by coalition members the NYC Equal Pay Coalition and the NYS Pay Equity Coalition, lobbied at the Capitol to call on Independent Democratic Conference Leader Senator Jeff Klein to bring the Women's Equality Act to vote in the Senate before the end of the session to help level the playing field for the 10 million women of New York.
Statewide, Tonko says a woman makes 83.6 cents on average for every dollar a man makes. In the same comparison, African American women make 66.5 cents, and Hispanic women make 54.1 cents.
Governor Andrew Cuomo released the following statement on the anniversary of the signing of the Equal Pay Act:
"Today marks the 50th anniversary of the signing of the federal Equal Pay Act – an occasion that both demonstrates the progress we have made to achieve pay equity and highlights the work that remains to be done to fulfill this mission. Today in New York, women earn 84 percent of what their male counterparts earn. Over a lifetime, they will earn $500,000 less than men. In 2013, this is unacceptable, and one of the main points the Women's Equality Act works to overcome. It would require employers to base their pay decisions on qualifications and not gender. The legislation also protects an employee's right to share wage information with other employees without being retaliated against and increase damages to successful plaintiffs in pay equity discrimination cases. It is clear that 50 years after the Equal Pay Act, our work to fully shatter this glass ceiling is far from done. New York has always led the way, and the Women's Equality Act will once again make the Empire State the leader on women's rights in the workplace."