NOW-NYC, Lilly Ledbetter, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, and Teamsters Local 237 Call on Mayor to Act
Advocates Join Forces to Ask Mayor de Blasio to Fairly Settle Ongoing Pay Discrimination Lawsuit Brought by Vital, Majority Female Security Force
May 9, 2014 – New York, NY – Joined by national fair pay icon, Lilly Ledbetter, the National Organization for Women-New York City gathered with the School Safety Agents of Teamsters Local 237 to shine a spotlight on the largest federal gender-based pay discrimination lawsuit in the country, happening right here in New York City.
Peace officers, known as School Safety Agents and who are mostly women of color, provide security for the over one million New York City public school students and faculty on a daily basis. Unlike other city security guards, also called peace officers, School Safety Agents receive specialized training from and report directly to the New York City Police Department. School Safety Agents earn $35,000, compared to the $42,000 in annual pay received by other peace officers–mostly male–who provide security for seven different city agencies, none of which report directly to the NYPD.
NOW-NYC President Sonia Ossorio says, “This case needs to be settled now. One year ago, mayoral candidate de Blasio unequivocally promised to fairly settle this case if elected. Now we’re almost half a year in to his new administration and our School Safety Agents are still waiting for their fair share. Every single day, these women are doing their job of protecting the more than one million students in our public schools. Now it’s up to the mayor to do his job to fairly pay these city workers. Every day that goes by these 5,000 workers are getting shortchanged, and their families are getting shortchanged.”
City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito says, “New York must show once and for all that pay discrimination is not acceptable in our city. It’s time for the city to give Local 237 a fair settlement and put an end to the ongoing unfairness that these dedicated public servants have endured for far too long.”
Mayor de Blasio is on the record that settling this lawsuit was a priority, both in his campaign literature and at a candidate’s forum (at 7:50) on women’s issues hosted by NOW-NYC on May 7th of last year. The de Blasio administration has already settled a race discrimination lawsuit with the FDNY for $98 million. Teamsters Local 237 represents the School Safety Agents and has repeatedly tried to address this 20 percent pay inequity through contract negotiations with the city’s Office of Labor Relations, but it refused to engage under former Mayor Bloomberg. NOW-NYC, the union, and its allies are pushing Mayor de Blasio for the expedient and fair settlement of this case.
NOW-NYC President Sonia Ossorio says, “We can’t keep putting women’s equality on the back burner. For our School Safety Agents, the tale of two cities is a reality that shows up in every single pay check. The mayor said he would settle this case immediately and that he would make it a priority. He called it a ‘no brainer,’ and it is.”
Public Advocate Letitia James and the League of Women Voters of the City of New York also spoke out in favor of the School Safety Agents.
Press Contact: Jean Bucaria, 212-627-9895 (o), 917-328-5543(m), firstname.lastname@example.org