New York, NY – Leading mayoral candidate Eric Adams stood with City workers today to call for immediate improvements to racial and gender pay disparities uncovered by a recent U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission claim and charges leveled by current Sanitation Enforcement Agents. Adams and the workers also called for further policy steps to be taken to ensure discrimination is prevented in the future and those pay disparities are removed.
“It is totally unacceptable that women and Black and Latino City workers continue to be discriminated against in our agencies–and that they had to file a claim to get the justice they deserve,” said Brooklyn Borough President Adams. “This is New York; we built this city on diversity, and equality for all must follow. The City must immediately correct these pay inequities and institute steps to prevent them in the future. Under an Adams Administration, we will put in place policies and reporting requirements to eliminate pay inequities while improving agency performance by rewarding workers based on merit. There will be zero tolerance for any discrimination while I’m Mayor.”
“During his career as an NYPD Captain, a New York State Senator and as Brooklyn Borough President, Eric Adams has been an advocate for all protected classes of individuals,” said Jakwan Rivers, First Vice President of the Law Enforcement Employees Benevolent Association. “Eric Adams will be a great Mayor for all the citizens of New York City.”
“When Kathryn Garcia was the Commissioner, Sanitation Enforcement Agents consisting of mostly minority women faced oppressive working conditions paying us less than our white male counterparts,” said Sanitation Enforcement Agent Maria Figaro. “She was aware of the numerous problems that the enforcement division had during her tenure. She turned a blind eye instead of changing the discriminatory culture that existed the entire six years Kathryn García was commissioner.”
Thirteen Department of Sanitation enforcement agents filed a U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission claim against the City earlier this year, describing how workers who do similar jobs in the agency get paid about twice as much. The claim charges that the favored workers are largely white and male, while those discriminated against are largely female and people of color.
Last year, a City Council study showed that City workers who are white and men make more money than their Black and Latino, and women, counterparts. Non-Hispanic workers make $8,700 more a year than Hispanic workers, and Black workers make $7,600 less a year than white workers, the analysis showed. Asian city workers also make $6,500 less than white workers. Male City workers make $4,500 more a year than women in the same positions.
Under Borough President Adams’ leadership, the Office of the Brooklyn Borough President has been cited as a City leader in pay equity, including by former Public Advocate Letitia James in a 2018 report, which found his agency paid women the most compared to men; according to 2020 agency data, women were paid 13 percent more than men, and there were 20 percent more women on payroll than men.
In addition to calling for immediate changes to salaries so that workers of similar experience are paid equally, Adams also announced a multi-step plan to reduce discrimination and improve equity for women and people of color in City agencies, including:
· An annual audit to determine gender and racial equity performance in each City agency. Metrics will include: the percentage of the agency’s total employee workforce who are women and/or minorities; the percentage of the agency’s senior management who are women and/or minorities; the percentage of entry level positions that are held by women; the average gender pay gap; and the average number of fully paid weeks of parental leave taken by employees.
o Results of this audit will be made public and agencies that are found to be far from gender and racial equity will be required to produce plans for how they will improve. The Chief Diversity Officer will meet with each agency commissioner on a regular basis to track their progress against their plan.
· “Bench building” work by each agency to recruit and hire a more diverse workforce by going into Black, Latino and Asian communities to find potential applicants and working with local organization to get the word out about City jobs;
· Instituting a “blind resume” policy under which experience and performance are prioritized and applied to hiring, pay raise, and promotion outcomes.