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Resolutions & Amendments

32nd International Convention - Chicago, IL (1996)

Pay Equity

Resolution No. 3
32nd International Convention
June 17-21, 1996
Chicago, IL


Women working full-time still get paid, on average, less than three-fourths of full-time male workers' earnings; and


AFSCME has been at the forefront of the fight to win pay equity for predominately female occupations. Through collective bargaining, litigation and legislation AFSCME has won over $500 million in pay adjustments and upgrades for undervalued jobs traditionally held by women; and


Although in 1981 the United States Supreme Court in County of Washington v. Gunther held that Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act covered compensation discrimination in situations where the jobs being compared are not identical, lower federal courts have chosen to apply Gunther very narrowly. The courts have required plaintiffs to meet nearly impossible evidentiary burdens to prevail, while making it easy for employers to defend their pay practices by claiming to pay market wages; and


Adverse court decisions in pay equity lawsuits brought under Title VII have hurt the ability of unions to negotiate pay equity; and


The Fair Pay Act (FPA) has now been introduced in the U.S. Congress. The FPA amends the Fair Labor Standards Act to require that employers pay equal wages to employees in equivalent jobs, defined as jobs which may be dissimilar, but whose requirements are equivalent when viewed as a composite of skill, effort, responsibility and working conditions. Employers are prohibited from reducing the wages of an employee in order to comply. Under the FPA, it will no longer be necessary for plaintiffs to prove the employer intended to discriminate to establish a violation, nor will employers be able to defend their pay practices by claiming to pay market wages.


That AFSCME will continue to make pay equity a priority issue and that councils and locals are urged to address the issue at the bargaining table, whenever possible, and to support appropriate legislation at the state and local level; and


That AFSCME strongly endorses the Fair Pay Act and will actively work for its enactment; and


That AFSCME will continue to support the National Committee on Pay Equity (NCPE), which has proven to be an effective coalition of union, civil rights and women's organizations dedicated to pay equity advocacy. In keeping with this support, AFSCME urges all members and affiliates to obtain as many signatures as possible on the NCPE Petition for Fair Pay.


Howard Jorgenson, President
Julie Sharp, Secretary
AFSCME Council 28