middletom

GLORIA MIDDLETON: Long fight finally bearing fruit.

More than 2,000 current and former Administrative Managers with Communications Workers of America Local 1180 will be getting their share of the $5 million the city has agreed to pay out to settle a long-pending employment discrimination lawsuit before Christmas, according to union President Gloria Middleton.

The payout is part of a $15-million settlement with the de Blasio administration.

Another $5.5 million will go to annuity payments and $4 million has been earmarked for pay increases going forward.

In April, the de Blasio administration and Local 1180 announced the settlement of a lawsuit that was filed in 2013 against the Bloomberg administration.

Major Pay Disparity

In April 2015, the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission found reasonable cause to believe that for decades the city had discriminated against women and people of color who held the Administrative Manager title.

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.

Unique Settlement 

Ms. Middleton said what was unique about the deal was that it provided for a three-track remedy: back pay for past discrimination, the annuity payments and annual salary bumps going forward, in addition to whatever the union achieves for members through regular collective bargaining.

“And going forward, whatever level you are in…you will continue to get what we call a stepping process, whether it’s $1,000 per year or $750 a year…in addition to the contractual raises,” she said. “This stepping process is a big deal.”

The settlement covers Administrative Managers in all city agencies and the Housing Authority. There are unresolved claims for roughly 40 Administrative Managers at the Metropolitan Transportation Agency that the union is pursuing.

On Aug. 5, U.S. District Judge Stewart Aaron, who oversaw the settlement, gave his final sign-off. More than 90 percent of the covered members voted to accept the deal, with several who are civilian FDNY employees opting out because they were pursuing separate litigation against the Fire Department.

“People will get paid 120 days from when the Judge gave that final approval,” Ms. Middleton said. “I will stay on that.”

“The hardest part of this was in the beginning convincing the city we had a case,” she said. “But once we got that EEOC recommendation, we just kept talking to the Mayor’s Office of Labor Relations. And we also put pressure on the Mayor through the annual Equal Pay Act rallies.”

Linked to ‘Equity’ Battles

A key part of Local 1180’s strategy, she said, was to link the pay disparity to the national and statewide movements for pay equity for women. “It’s all over the country,” Ms. Middleton said. “If the boss likes you and you are the right color and the right age, they will pay you more than a woman or man of color.”

She continued, “New York City was supposed to be so progressive, but it has taken us all of this time to get pay equity for these city workers.”

The Local 1180 president said that at one time titles like Administrative Managers were considered nonunion and “that’s how they got away with” the disparity.

The union still is trying to contact another 100 or so members who are eligible. Ms. Middleton said it took some social-media detective work to locate all those who were entitled to compensation for the award. “It was a real challenge to find those who moved on or to another agency,” she said.

Amounts Will Vary

She said the amounts owed to each member would be up to the case’s Claims Administrator, who “looks at all the demographics and the [employee] profile information that includes the years of service, years in the title, as well as determining the member’s sex and ethnicity.”

Twenty eligible members have died, but their estates will receive their awards.


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