Mayor & GOP Councilors propose to make equal pay for women voluntary in ABQ

August 26, 2013

ProgressNowNM calls for council to amend proposal to make equal pay mandatory and add enforcement process for all city wage laws

Albuquerque – A Republican proposal to make equal pay for women voluntary in the City of Albuquerque is a slap in the face to working women, says a New Mexico progressive advocacy group already pushing the city to enforce a voter approved minimum wage now considered voluntary by businesses who face no formal repercussions for violation.

Over the weekend, Mayor RJ Berry was joined by Republican City Councilors Roxanna Meyers and Janice Arnold Jones to announce a new “Equity in Pay Taskforce” and legislation to offer incentives to contractors who voluntarily chose to pay women on par with their male counterparts.

ProgressNow New Mexico, a non-profit progressive advocacy group based in Albuquerque, says the proposal, being voluntary, is purely political theatre in the final days of the city’s municipal elections and is calling on the city council to make equal pay mandatory for every business and for the city to establish a process to enforce our wage laws.

“Paying women their equal share shouldn’t be voluntary,” says Marsha Garcia of ProgressNowNM. “But the administration has made workplace equality voluntary from day one.   The mayor is letting employers selectively chose to comply with the minimum wage without any consequences from the city and now they are proposing to make equal pay for women a choice for city businesses.”

ProgressNow New Mexico is calling on city residents to encourage city councilors to make Albuquerque a true leader in equality by amending the Republican ordinance to make equal pay for women mandatory in every city business and to establish a process through the city attorney or city hearing officer for victims of wage theft to safely file complaints and to develop the process to enforce the city’s wage laws.

“After spending months trying not to enforce the city’s wage laws, they suddenly care about wage equality in the final 60 days of the administration?” says Patrick Davis, Executive Director of ProgressNowNM.  “The mayor and his two hand-picked councilors are doing their best to divert attention from their unwillingness to enforce the city’s existing wage laws by proposing another ordinance with no teeth.  The mayor is right that Albuquerque can be a leader in this effort, but only if we actually pass an ordinance that does something progressive and isn’t simply another useless law to be wantonly ignored.”

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