Equal Pay For Woman Ordinance Does Not Go Far Enough

In 1963, the United States Congress enacted the “Equal Pay Act” which makes it illegal for all employers to pay unequal wages to men and woman.

Notwithstanding the federal law, 54 years after enactment of the law and regulations to shrink the gap, Department of Labor and other studies show that the pay gap between men and woman for the same work is 21% or more, depending on the work or industry involved.

If you are going to do business with the city of Albuquerque and bid on a contract, you must complete a form explaining how much the company’s employees are paid in each job category employed.

The city calculates the difference in pay between genders for the same job to see if there is a measurable difference.

A business is awarded preferential or advantage points for a contract bid if the pay gap is less than 10%.

It has been reported that the Albuquerque City Council has enacted amendments to an ordinance that would make that gap even smaller at less than 7 percent “to encourage potential city contractors to review their pay scales” according to City Councilor Diane Gibson, the primary sponsor of the ordinance. (See http://www.kob.com/albuquerque-news/city-council-bill-would-reward-smaller-gaps-in-pay-equality/4418156/#.WL4kxZyQevM.facebook)

Gibson claims one goal is incentivize paying employees fairly with a preference on contracts with the city.

Mayor Berry states there are now only 59 vendors who do business in Albuquerque that do have a gender pay gap of less than 10% and that are certified for the pay equity preference. (See March 8, 2107 Albuquerque Journal, “ABQ takes on pay gap through bidding process; Contractors will need to prove reduced male-female inequality”, Business Section B, page B-1)

Before Berry, Gibson and the City Council pat themselves on the back, they need to look beyond the walls of city hall.

The city ordinance applies only to business that bid on city contracts and who do business with the City of Albuquerque to get points to be awarded a city contract.

Berry and Gibson pat themselves on the back and so self-righteous and say they are not going to stand for woman making less than men for the same work in Albuquerque, yet they are doing just that by making the ordinance apply to only city vendors.

Pay equality should apply to all businesses who are licensed by the City to do business in Albuquerque and not just those businesses who do business and contract with the City.

To do business in the City of Albuquerque, you must pay a fee and secure a license to do business with the city and agree to conform to all applicable laws and regulations.

Licenses to do business are issued and regulated by the City Planning Department and can be voided for cause.

If Gibson, Berry and the Albuquerque City Council really wanted to do something about equal pay for woman, they should make “equal pay” a requirement for all businesses in Albuquerque before they can secure or renew a business license.

By City Ordinance, all businesses could be required to submit a pay equity report and statement before a business license is issued, which is now required of contractors who do business with the City of Albuquerque.

No doubt the Chamber of Commerce and business organizations will argue that it is too much government regulation for the city to require businesses in Albuquerque to adhere to federal law mandating equal pay for woman.

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Pete Dinelli was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He is of Italian and Hispanic descent. He is a 1970 graduate of Del Norte High School, a 1974 graduate of Eastern New Mexico University with a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration and a 1977 graduate of St. Mary's School of Law, San Antonio, Texas. Pete has a 40 year history of community involvement and service as an elected and appointed official and as a practicing attorney in Albuquerque. Pete and his wife Betty Case Dinelli have been married since 1984 and they have two adult sons, Mark, who is an attorney and George, who is an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT). Pete has been a licensed New Mexico attorney since 1978. Pete has over 27 years of municipal and state government service. Pete’s service to Albuquerque has been extensive. He has been an elected Albuquerque City Councilor, serving as Vice President. He has served as a Worker’s Compensation Judge with Statewide jurisdiction. Pete has been a prosecutor for 15 years and has served as a Bernalillo County Chief Deputy District Attorney, as an Assistant Attorney General and Assistant District Attorney and as a Deputy City Attorney. For eight years, Pete was employed with the City of Albuquerque both as a Deputy City Attorney and Chief Public Safety Officer overseeing the city departments of police, fire, 911 emergency call center and the emergency operations center. While with the City of Albuquerque Legal Department, Pete served as Director of the Safe City Strike Force and Interim Director of the 911 Emergency Operations Center. Pete’s community involvement includes being a past President of the Albuquerque Kiwanis Club, past President of the Our Lady of Fatima School Board, and Board of Directors of the Albuquerque Museum Foundation.