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Saturday 29 January 2022
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Senator Brouk, Rochester Delegation Seek Transparency in Pay Equality

By Carol Elizabeth Owens
Carolelizabeth@minorityreporter.net

Photo by Igal Ness on Unsplash

New York State Senator Samra Brouk is co-sponsor of two legislative bills (S.5598B /A.6529A) seeking to address systemic pay inequity and discrimination through increased pay transparency, requiring employers to disclose critical information about compensation and benefits to applicants and employees immediately upon issuing a new job opportunity.

The proposed legislation, the “Salary Range Transparency Bill,” would require employers to disclose compensation or pay ranges to applicants and employees. The bills are pending in both houses of the NYS legislature.

Brouk co-sponsored the bills in August of this year in honor of Black Women’s Equal Pay Day which was recognized on Oct.19.  Local organizers acknowledged Latina Equal Pay Day on Oct. 21, as additional members of the Rochester legislative delegation joined Brouk in support of the anti-pay-inequity initiative.

Brouk shared a bit of her personal experience with the impact of racial and gender-based pay inequities. 

“I have experienced pay inequity in my own career. After returning from the Peace Corps, it wasn’t until 6 months after starting my first job that I was speaking with a white male friend, who held the same position as I did, who disclosed that he was making significantly more than I was,” said Brouk. “If not for his transparency, I would have never known to advocate for myself.”

Brouk said systemic change is needed to ensure that workers, employees like herself do not have to rely on individual allies to receive fair pay. “That’s why I’m proud to be a co-sponsor for the Salary Range Transparency Bill, and grateful to my colleagues in the Rochester delegation for their support of this life changing legislation.”

Local co-sponsors of the bill include Assemblymember Sarah Clark, Assemblymember Jennifer Lunsford, Assemblymember Harry Bronson and Assemblymember Demond Meeks. 

Meeks, who supports the Salary Range Transparency Bill passing hopes to implement honest and equitable hiring practices for all New Yorker noted, “In 2021, Latina women earned 55 cents on the dollar in comparison to their white male counterparts at a time when many in our community are working longer hours in more dangerous conditions.”  

“A contributing factor to this pay gap is the exclusion of salary range and compensation by employers on their job postings,” said Meeks.  “These secretive hiring practices are exploitative, unjust and create economic instability for the most vulnerable members of our communities.”

“Eighty percent of Rochester’s children, in households led by mothers who are sole breadwinners, live in poverty. On Latina Equal Pay Day, we highlight the fact that salary secrecy— not knowing how much your work is worth, perpetuates pay inequity and economic insecurity for Latinas and Black women and their families. We must continue to advocate for salary transparency,” said Yversha Roman who is a Monroe County Legislator and pay equity advocate.

Lunsford said ensuring transparency in compensation is the best tool for eliminating the systemic pay gaps that exist in our society.  “By providing a legal avenue for workers to discover how their pay matches up with their peers we can better expose the hidden biases that perpetuate the disparities in our labor market,” she said.

Bronson added that “Nationally, pay inequality also negatively effects the LGBTQ community with gay men, lesbians and transgender individuals earning between 5% and 32% less for every dollar earned by straight cisgender white men.”

“These wage and income disparity[sic], in part, explain why gay and transgender families are more likely to live in poverty. Children being raised by same-sex couples are twice as likely to live in poverty compared to children living in households with heterosexual married parents,” said Bronson. 

Bronson said he is proud to join colleagues in supporting this legislation to help put an end to this discrimination.

For more information about the Salary Range Transparency Bill, go to www.LatinaPayEquity.com.