Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi (D-Queens), Chair of the Assembly Oversight, Analysis, and Investigations Committee, along with Assemblyman Keith Wright, Chair of the Assembly Labor Committee, Assemblyman Peter Abbate, Chair of the Assembly Governmental Employees Committee, Assemblyman Steve Englebright, Chair of the Assembly Governmental Operations Committee, and Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee, Chair of the Assembly Task Force on Women’s Issues, held a hearing on December 12, 2011 pertaining to pay equity and wage discrimination in New York State. Expert witnesses included members of prominent New York interest groups, unions, and legal centers, as well as academics and civilian testimony. Among the topics covered were comparable worth and work labor standards, and compensation differences that exist between earned wages and inclusive benefit package compensation.
The hearing was convened to gain a better understanding as to why, 50 years after the passage of the Equal Pay Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, minorities and women continue to report inequitable pay for their labor. Assemblyman Hevesi found the testimony to be both revealing as well as personally moving at times.
“The testimony voiced during this hearing shows how far we still are from reaching a point where figures indicate that equal work is being rewarded with equal pay,” Hevesi said. “It is my hope, as we being a new legislative session, that some of the concerns that were expressed during this hearing find their way into legislation that can close the pay gap that currently exists for woman and minorities in New York State.”