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Resolutions & Amendments

31st International Convention - San Diego, CA (1994)

Pay Equity

Resolution No. 18
31st International Convention
June 27-July 1, 1994
San Diego, CA


            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 $200 million in pay adjustments and up­grades for undervalued "women's" jobs. Back in 1981 AFSCME Local 101 in San Jose, California, had the first pay equity strike and won upgrades for hundreds of city workers. AFSCME Council 28 sued the State of Washington for discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. The resulting settlement provided over $100 million in pay equity raises for thousands of state employees. From Connecticut to Minnesota, from Chicago to Los Angeles, in state governments and local jurisdictions, large and small, AFSCME has taken pay equity to the bargaining table and negotiated pay equity increases; and


            Women working year round full-time still get paid, on average, only about 70 percent of the pay for full-time male workers; 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. The district court decision in AFSCME v. Nassau County was simply the latest in a series of court decisions over the last decade refusing to find discrimination where employers have refused to implement pay equity.


            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 supports federal legislation making it easier for plaintiffs to win sex-based wage discrimination lawsuits by not requiring plaintiffs to prove intent to discriminate and by no longer permitting employers to defend their pay practices by claiming to pay market wages; and


            That AFSCME will continue to support the National Committee on Pay Equity which has proven to be an effective coalition of union, civil rights and women's organizations dedicated to pay equity advocacy.



Joseph E McDermott, President and Delegate 
Mary K Saxon, Secretary and Delegate
AFSCME/CSEA Local 1000
New York