The Gadsden Newspaper published an article on the AAUW/Alabama Arise Partnership on establishing an Equal Pay Commission. The paper does not authorize reprints, so the link to the article is below.
JoAnn Cummings, AAUW Alabama President, delivered this speech at Alabama Arise’s Annual Meeting on 9/18/2010.
In Alabama, there are disparities in pay between men and women and between minorities and non-minorities that cannot be explained away by differences in education, experience or responsibilities. We need to establish an Equal Pay Commission to study these disparities and recommend solutions.
Based on year-round, full-time median salaries for 2007, Alabama women earned $29,300 vs. $40,500 for Alabama men. This is a wage gap of 28 percent (as compared to a 22 percent gap nationally). African American females earn 55 percent, and Hispanic women earn 57 percent, of the wages White men earn in Alabama.
Most people in Alabama work because they have to, to support themselves and their families. Female-headed households suffer disproportionately from low wages. More than one-third of Alabama’s single female heads of households with children are living at or below the federal poverty threshold. When hard-working people are not paid for the full value of their work, the whole family, community and state suffers.
Thirty-nine other states have passed equal pay laws. State Rep. Laura Hall has been introducing legislation to establish an Equal Pay Commission for many years. For the first several years, Rep. Hall submitted bills to establish this commission, but she had little support, and the bills never made it out of committee for approval by either the House or Senate. In 2009, Rep. Hall and Sen. Vivian Figures introduced resolutions (HR 797, SJR 123), and AAUW lobbied to provide support. Both were approved on the last session day and became Act 2009-806. However, little action was taken to seat the commission (only three of nine appointments were made), and the commission did not meet before expiration of its term.
In 2010, resolutions (HR 147, HJR 155) were introduced to reauthorize the commission. HR 147 passed in the House, but HJR 155 never made it out of the Senate committee. Therefore, the commission was not reauthorized in 2010. We believe we need to develop more Senate support to pass future legislation.
Though equal and fair pay has been addressed by past federal legislation, there are still gaps affecting women and minorities, allowing businesses to continue pay discrimination. The career expectations for minorities, girls and young women and the attitudes of society also must change so that all of our citizens can reach their full earnings potential.
Opposition will argue that government should not interfere and that, in these economic times, employers cannot afford to adjust pay. But with women now making up half of the workforce, their families bear the burden when they are not paid equitably.
ACPP represents a broad array of low-income individuals in our state who continue to suffer the effects on their salaries due to discrimination and inequitable pay policies based on their gender or race. If an Equal Pay Commission is established, then these problems can be studied, data collected and recommendations made.
We need a bill submitted to the Legislature to establish a more permanent commission, so that the commission cannot be dissolved until its work is completed. As a recognized representative of the people, ACPP has the resources and lobbying power to get a bill passed. If ACPP supports this objective, then we can enact a bill that could make a huge difference for members and low-income citizens throughout our state.
By Jo Ann Cummings, President, American Association of University Women (AAUW) of Alabama and appointee, Equal Pay Commission 2010, and Janet Smith, President, AAUW Montgomery Branch
The proposed AAUW Public Policy Program will be posted online for revision recommendations from members from October 1 through November 15, 2010. The AAUW Public Policy Program establishes the federal action priorities on which AAUW members across the country will focus their advocacy efforts and guides the work of the national staff in the next biennium. This later posting reflects the timeline necessary for the complex process that guides development of the proposed program.
The 2011 AAUW National Convention will be held June 16–19 at the Renaissance Washington, D.C. Hotel. Join us at the 2011 convention to celebrate AAUW’s 130 years as a nationwide community that is breaking through barriers for women and girls!
At the 2011 AAUW National Convention, you will
• join AAUW members from across the country as we advocate for change with a Lobby Day on Capitol Hill;
• be inspired by nationally recognized speakers and learn new leadership skills and AAUW best practices to take home to your community;
• play a personal role in creating a road map for AAUW’s future by participating in our strategic breakout sessions;
• celebrate the inaugural Breaking through Barriers Awards ceremony featuring outstanding, innovative AAUW state/branch programs.
For more information, please visit http://www.aauw.org/convention.
September 16, 2010, by lizbolton
Today, the U.S. Census Bureau released figures that show that the wage gap remained unchanged last year. According to numbers released this morning, women still make 77 cents, on average, for every dollar men earn.
Recent reports of the demise of the gender pay gap have been greatly exaggerated. Those reports, from the likes of NBC and USA Today, were incomplete at best and a real disservice at worst. Why? Because they relied on only one quarter’s data. Economists never rely on a single quarter—it’s simply not enough data to generalize.
As our economy continues to struggle, and more women assume the role of breadwinner, families need this money more than ever. That’s why AAUW is pushing harder than ever for pay equity—starting with getting the Paycheck Fairness Act passed this month. If you haven’t already, please urge your senator to bring a real, positive end to the gender pay gap.
Visit our Action Network to send an e-mail message, call the Capitol switchboard at 1-877-667-6650 and ask for your senator, or leave a message on her or his Facebook page. Every call, letter, and tweet matters now. We must get the Paycheck Fairness Act passed this month.
American families have waited long enough.
AAUW Montgomery sponsored its First Annual Ready to Run™ Training on July 24, 2010 at the Capitol Hill Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail in Prattville, Alabama. Ten women, ages 16 to 60 participated in the training. Wanda Foster, State Programs VP, attended to lend her support.
The keynote speaker was The Honorable Sharon Yates, of the 15th Judicial Circuit Court. Judge Yates shared her experiences in campaigning for public office. She is the first woman to serve on the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals and was the Presiding Judge from 2001 to 2005. Judge Yates distributed copies of A Guide to Alabama Court Procedures.
Jill Nolin of the Montgomery Advertiser, gave a humorous presentation on how to handle the media during political campaigns. Jill is the local government reporter covering the City of Montgomery and Montgomery County.
Other trainers included AAUW’s own Susan Sheppard, Anna Blair, Audrey Salgado, and Janet Smith. Susan’s topic was Poised to Run: Women’s Pathways for a Better Alabama. Susan included some Alabama trivia in her presentation. Audrey Salgado gave an outstanding presentation on Alabama Citizens for Constitutional Reform’s efforts to write a new Alabama Constitution. Audrey showed the short version of the film It’s a Thick Book, which was a big hit with the participants. Anna Blair gave tips to the group on Public Speaking and Who are You? Participants were given materials to help them write their own biographies. Janet Smith gave presentations on Fundraising and Tapping into Unused Human Resources. Candidates were encouraged to recruit college students and senior citizens to help with their campaigns.
Each participant took home a notebook filled with information intended to either provide the information they would need to run a successful campaign, or at least point them in the right direction. By the end of the day, they all knew that Secretary of State Beth Chapman was their new BFF (Best Friend Forever.) Also included in the book were copies of the U.S. Constitution and the state and federal versions of How a Bill Becomes a Law. It was stressed that if participants were going to run for public office and help create public policy, they would need to know what the law is and how legislation is created and passed. Public officials are also voters, so a copy of the Alabama Voter Guide 2010 was included.
The day was a resounding success! Participants were asked to rate the training at the end of the day, and AAUW Montgomery is proud to say that the training was rated a 4.9 out of 5 points.
AAUW Montgomery wishes to thank all those who participated in the training particularly those trainers, presenters, and volunteers who gave up their Saturdays (and more) to make this training a HUGE success.
Janet Smith, President
AAUW of Alabama turned out in full force at Alabama Arise’s Annual Meeting on Saturday, September 18th. Each year, Arise members vote to select priority issues for Alabama Arise to work on for the coming year. AAUW of Alabama has seven state/branch memberships. Each was represented this year at the meeting: State, Birmingham, Montgomery, Huntsville, Montevallo, Shoals, and Decatur. Proposals for 2011 included the establishment of a permanent equal pay commission; a ten-year plan to prevent and end chronic homelessness; Hurricane Katrina Relief; worker savings incentives; a death penalty moratorium; an affordable housing trust fund; public transportation; and constitutional reform.
After all the initiatives were presented to the membership, a vote was taken. Of the eight initiatives, the top five were voted to be on Arise’s priority list for 2011.
AAUW Alabama’s Equal Pay Commission came in first place with 86 votes, followed by Alabama Citizens for Constitutional Reform’s initiative to get a new constitution with 85 votes. ACCR is one of AAUW’s partners. [www.constitutionalreform.org] Other priority issues selected were public transportation, a moratorium on executions, and worker savings incentives.
Arise and AAUW will work together to get a bill passed in the legislature to establish an equal pay commission to study the wage gap in Alabama.
A majority of states have already established Equal Pay Commissions to study wage gaps and some have passed legislation establishing equal pay for equal or comparable work. Other countries, such as Great Britain, have been fighting the fight for a quarter of a century, as has Australia. This is a global problem.
The wage gap nationally is 78 cents–for each dollar a man makes, a woman makes 78 cents. The gap is even wider for minorities. In Alabama, the wage gap is 72 cents. With today’s economy, many Alabama men are losing their jobs and Alabama women are having to support their families–but they are having to do it with 78 cents. Over a lifetime of working, women will lose between $700,000 and $2 million because they are paid less than men.
Please lend AAUW and Alabama Arise your support in this initiative. If you would like to contribute your knowledge or time to helping with this project, contact any AAUW member throughout the state of Alabama. We are still in the beginning stages, but we will take your contact information so you can be a part of this project once we get moving. State or branch information can be found at: http://www.aauw-alabama.org. Or you can contact the Montgomery branch at aauwmontgomery.club.officelive.com/default.aspx, through our “Contact Us” tab.
If you would like to find out more about the Equal Pay Commission Project, AAUW Montgomery meets the third Thursday of the month at the offices of Alabama Arise, in the historic Bell Building (9th Floor) on Montgomery Street (Next to Troy University) at 5:30 p.m. Getting the establishment of an equal pay commission on Alabama Arise’s list of initiatives for the coming year was the easy part. Now the real work begins. And we need your help.
If you are a member of an advocacy group in Alabama and would like to partner with AAUW and Arise, contact Janet Smith at 334-221-1235 or the offices of Alabama Arise at 334-832-9060 or visit their website at http://www.arisecitizens.org.
We will be posting updates often as soon as we get more information on how to proceed, so visit this site often. And please tell your friends to visit us. This issue can’t wait one more minute.
We will never pull people out of poverty until we pay them for the work they do and not who they are.
Janet Smith, President
Are you interested in running for public office? Or do you just want to work on a campaign and support your candidate? Are you a poly sci major and want to learn how to take all that theory one step further? Then Ready to Run is for you!
The American Association of University Women (AAUW) of Alabama, in conjunction with Rutgers University, offers training for women in all of the above areas and more. The program is funded by a special grant that promotes training more women on how to enter the area of public office. AAUW Montgomery is sponsoring a Ready to Run seminar next month. It will be held at the Capitol Hill Club House at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail in Prattville, Alabama on July 24 from 8:30 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. The tentative agenda is below.
Details are being finalized. And the cost is a mere $39.00 per person. Similar programs can cost two to three times our fee. Lunch is on your own at the club house restaurant. A really good lunch can be had for under $10.00. The Capitol Hill club house restaurant offers sandwiches, hamburgers, salads, soups and more.
We will be finalizing the agenda in the next week or two. Come join us and listen to women who have run for public office share their experiences with you and let our Rutgers trained instructors share the ins and outs of running for public office with you.
If you have questions or would like to pre-register, go to AAUW Montgomery’s website and fill out the “Contact Us” form. Someone will get back to you within 24 hours.
8:30 Registration and Networking
9:00 Welcome/Introductions- Janet Smith, Mongtomery Chapter
9:10 Keynote Address [Speaker to be Confirmed]
10:00 Poised to Run:Women’s Pathways to Public Office
10:15 Women: An Opportunity for a Better Alabama-Audrey Salgado, ACCR
11:30 Luncheon Speaker-Government Leadership The Reality of Public Office
1:30 Laying the Groundwork for Public Life
2:30 Closing Remarks
The book sale scheduled for this weekend is being postponed due to family illness. A new date will be set within the next two weeks. We regret any inconvenience. Continue to check this website for details.