Women City Workers and Workers of Color Earn Thousands of Dollars Less A Year Than Male Workers
New York, NY – A preliminary analysis of anonymized and publicly available New York City employee payroll data conducted by the New York City Council shows significant gender, racial, and ethnic pay disparities in the city’s workforce, Speaker Corey Johnson and the Women’s Caucus of the New York City Council announced on Thursday.
The analysis of salaries of roughly 180,000, full-time city workers shows that male employees roughly average about $4,500 a year more than female employees. The analysis also found that Black city workers average about $7,600 a year less than white workers, while Asians tend to make $6,500 a year less than white employees. Additionally, the analysis found that non-Hispanic/non-Latino workers roughly average about $8,700 a year more than Hispanic/Latino.
This data was made available in response to Local Law 18 of 2019, sponsored by Majority Leader Laurie Cumbo and Council Member Daneek Miller, Chair of the Civil Service and Labor Committee, which was enacted last year in an effort to identify and address pay disparities among city workers.
Local Law 18 requires the Mayor’s Office of Data Analytics (MODA) to annually issue anonymized payroll data on the municipal workforce. The data was released this month after being delayed by COVID. It can be found following this link. It is required to be released publicly every year. Per the law, it should include information on gender, ethnicity and race to allow for an analysis on potential pay disparities.
The law also requires that the Council, as part of its Charter-mandated oversight role on city agencies, get access to all employment level data of City workers for 90 days to conduct its own statistical analysis.
This access will allow us to go deeper than the public data and to get at what factors may be causing these disparities while helping us identify ways to address them. The Council, which has never had access to this level of data before, expects this deeper analysis to be complete in the first quarter of 2021.
The Council analysis used a mixed-effects statistical model to determine the disparities. The analysis factored in the following variables: job category, race, ethnicity and relevant city agency.
The analysis does not address job titles, years of experience, level of education, or previous NYC employment, which are important factors to determine why women or people of color are making less. But this analysis does tell us that overall, the City is paying men and white employees more. The Council will be able to examine those factors and more in our next analysis when we have access to significantly more data, per Local Law 18.
Studies show that gender, racial and ethnic wage gaps are a serious problem. New York women with full-time, year-round jobs earn $6,735 less than their male counterparts, or $.88 cents on the dollar, according to a 2019 study by the National Partnership for Women & Families. That figure gets even worse for New York women of color, according to the same study which found that Latina and Black women on average make $30,023 and $24,360 less, respectively, than men.
Local Law 18 of 2019 was crafted in response to the lawsuit the Communications Workers of America Local 1180 filed against the Bloomberg Administration over racial and gender pay discrimination in 2013.
CWA alleged that the city had been systematically underpaying women and employees of color who held the “Administrative Management” title. As proof, the CWA pointed out that in 1978 – when most people who held the Administrative Management title were men – the typical salary was the equivalent of about $92,000. As it became a title increasingly held by women, the pay fell to around $53,000.
The de Blasio Administration eventually settled with CWA, but the settlement only covered one job title. The Council’s legislation is a long-term effort to right historic wrongs across all city agencies.
“These preliminary findings are troubling and show exactly why Local Law 18 of 2019 was so important. For too long, the many contributions of women and people of color have been short-changed. It’s incumbent on all of us to make sure we are working to right those wrongs, and address the biases and discriminatory practices that contribute to pay and opportunity gaps,” said Council Speaker Corey Johnson.
“Unfortunately, this is no surprise. We knew pay disparities existed when the CWA Local 1180 filed its lawsuit against the Bloomberg Administration in 2013. Our stats proved it, which is why the de Blasio Administration settled our lawsuit in March 2018, and a judge signed off on the final terms in July 2019. We are proud to have worked with the Council to pass Local Law 18 of 2019 to address the issue of pay disparity in the city work force. There is a history in New York City and this country where women and women of color have experienced racism, sexism, and all the other -isms that have led to them being denied equality on the job in both pay and status. Systemic bias in a city our mayor calls progressive is unacceptable. It’s also unacceptable that those in power who are able to set policies to address these problems refuse to do so. We implore Mayor de Blasio to commit to seriously addressing pay parity once and for all,” said Communications Workers of America Local 1180 President Gloria Middleton.
“In order to create a more equitable world for women, especially working women of color like myself, we must have data accessible for the public that sheds light on the disparities we have been suffering through for generations. We continue to bear the burden of childbearing, raising families, taking care of elderly parents, all the while juggling a full-time job where we do not get compensated for the same work that our male counterparts do. I am eager to see how my bill, Local Law 18 of 2019 paves the way toward true equity in New York City by shining a light on these historic disparities. Thank you to Speaker Johnson for his unrelenting leadership and commitment to working for all New Yorkers,” said Council Majority Leader Laurie Cumbo.
“COVID-19 and other crises have highlighted the adverse impact of systemic racism on the upward mobility of New Yorkers of color, particularly our Black and Brown women. These initial findings demand that we institute real reforms to address racial bias and pay discrimination within our City’s workforce. I look forward to the presentation of the Council’s final analysis,” said Council Member I. Daneek Miller, Chair of the Committee on Civil Service and Labor.
“Your gender, race or ethnicity should not predetermine the salary you earn in this city and in this country, but sadly we know that in reality it does far too often. I am grateful that the Council is working to address these long-term issues, and that we are beginning this work by looking at our own municipal workforce. Women and New Yorkers of color are on the frontlines every day in our city and deserve nothing less than equal pay for equal work,” said Council Member Vanessa L. Gibson, Co-Chair of the Women’s Caucus.
“The municipal workforce, a dedicated and culturally diverse group of individuals, has been the driving force behind ‘The City That Never Sleeps.’ Every day, thousands of New Yorkers work tirelessly to care for our families, and it is our turn to care for theirs. We cannot create a more equitable city without ending pay disparities within our own ranks. We need to end the systemic inequalities that perpetuate economic, food, and housing insecurity citywide. I am proud to be amongst a legislative body that has enacted legislation to ensure fair treatment and economic justice in the workplace,” said Council Member Farah N. Louis, Co-Chair of the Women’s Caucus.
“This administration has repeatedly highlighted socio-economic inequities across our city, but it must lead by example. Every employee, no matter their background, deserves fairness. The City must address all salary inequities within its workforce now,” said Council Member Helen Rosenthal, Chair, Committee on Women & Gender Equity.
“Unequal and unfair pay has prevailed for far too long. Pervasive pay gaps continue to hurt women and people of color in measurable ways. A concerted effort must be made to effect bold change across the board. All employees must be compensated equally,” said Council Member Adrienne Adams.
“Equal pay for equal work is the hallmark of a just society. Pay disparities based on race, ethnicity, and gender run contrary to our values as a city, and contrary to the values that the late Justice Ginsburg fought for. As we work to remedy the disparities laid bare by the COVID pandemic, we must also address these inequities with urgency. We must develop and implement a remedy, so that the work of all New Yorkers is honored and valued,” said Council Member Deborah Rose.
“The fact that income disparities in the City’s workforce might impact New Yorkers by virtue of their gender, racial, and ethnic lines in the year 2020 is extremely unfortunate. As a proud co-sponsor of local law 18, my interest is and has always been to ensure that we are doing everything in our legislative authority to do away with any and all inequities,” said Council Member Diana Ayala.
“During my tenure as a Council Member, I have used my voice to elevate the need to increase the salary of council staffers and have supported lifting the pay of workers throughout New York City. For too long, spanning too many generations, Black and Latina women have fought against racial, economic and health inequities in this city, this state and this country. As we examine pay inequities more closely, these findings are extremely troubling. According to a study conducted in 2019, by the National Partnership for Women and Families, Latina and Black women make $30,023 and $24,360 less, respectively, than men on average. As the richest city in the nation, we can and must do better to change these dynamics. I support Speaker Corey Johnson for his efforts to address these pay inequities for our workers at City Council and other workers throughout our city,” said Council Member Inez Barron.
“I look forward to further examining the data and working with my colleagues to enact meaningful legislation to combat racism here at home. The pandemic is a sobering reminder of the very real consequences of systemic racism, as Black and Latinx New Yorkers have been dying from COVID-19 at roughly twice the rate of their white counterparts. This preliminary data presents an opportunity to create a long-term solution to bridge gaps in pay equity and it is important that we act immediately,” said Council Member Margaret S. Chin.
“I want to thank the Speaker and my fellow Council Members for championing wage equality for all, and for conducting this preliminary analysis that shows men are making more than women, and white New York City employees are making more than workers of color. As one of only two Latinas in the City Council, I understand first-hand the challenges facing far too many New Yorkers fighting for their worth and their livelihoods, and I implore City Hall to take seriously the issue of pay parity and begin doing the hard work to address it immediately,” said Council Member Carlina Rivera.