In a June 4 email blast headlined “Emergency” sent to Communications Workers of America Local 1180’s 2,000 Administrative Managers, the union urged them to complete the legal papers required for its $15-million discrimination settlement with the city to be finalized.
“As you know, we need 90 percent of 2,000 Administrative Managers who are part of the settlement to sign the paperwork and return it to our office by June 30,” wrote CWA President Gloria Middleton in the email, which was obtained by this newspaper. “As of now, only 902 of you have done so.”
‘It’s Free Money’
It continued, “If not, what are you waiting for? It’s Free $$$$$$$$ that you deserve and are entitled to.”
Members were told to make sure that settlement documents they received were returned signed and notarized and to include “proof of your time as an Administrative Manager.”
Local 1180’s press representative did not offer an explanation for the urgency evident in that message.
In April the de Blasio administration and Local 1180 announced settlement of the gender and racial pay-discrimination lawsuit covering Administrative Managers that was brought in 2013 against the Bloomberg administration.
The $15-million settlement covers active and retired Local 1180 members who were on the job between December 2013 and 2017.
Under the terms, $5.5 million will be set aside for back pay, along with $5.5 million in annuity payments and an additional $4 million earmarked for retroactive payments and pay increases going forward.
Will Review Pay Annually
Immediately after announcement of the settlement, Ms. Middleton said she was most excited about the deal’s requirement that for the next five years the covered Administrative Managers would have their compensation re-visited annually by management, with the expectation that the pay disparity would be further reduced.
There are several other pending campaigns aimed at pay parity for other civil-service titles held largely by women and people of color: District Council 37 Local 2507 on behalf of Emergency Medical Technicians and paramedics, Local 3621 for Emergency Medical Service officers, Local 1707 for early-childhood educators, the United Probation Officers Association, and a pending Federal lawsuit filed on behalf of civilian employees of the FDNY.
In 2014 the de Blasio administration reached a $98-million settlement with the Vulcan Society of black firefighters to resolve allegations of systemic racism connected to the Firefighter exam. The settlement was divided among 1,500 FDNY applicants who had taken exams that were subsequently ruled discriminatory.
Local 1180’s settlement marked an important inflection point for the union, which Administrative Managers fought to join in 1976 in a bid to win collective-bargaining rights in the face of the city’s worst fiscal crisis and push to consolidate civil-service titles.
EEOC Ruling Helped
In April 2015 the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission found reasonable cause to believe that for decades the city had engaged in widespread discrimination against women and people of color who held the Administrative Manager title. The finding covered all city agencies, as well as the New York City Housing Authority. The EEOC found that there had been “structural and historic problems” in how the city treated plaintiffs in the title that resulted in their being paid “much less than their white male counterparts.”
As part of the local’s brief, it documented that in 1978, when most Administrative Managers were white men, the job paid $92,000 in today’s dollars, but as women increasingly moved into the title, the salary dropped to $53,000. The EEOC estimated the disparity cost the women a combined $250 million over their careers.
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