Tag Archives: pay equity

Tucson Then & Now: How Far Have We Come in 35 Years? (video)

Pima Canyon

Tucson as viewed from Pima Canyon

Tucson was a happening place back in 1981 when I moved here. Earthquakes in California and blizzards in the Midwest had prompted waves of migration to the sun belt. The town was bustling, and everyone was from somewhere else. Opportunity was in the air– as evidenced by all of the things that started in the early 1980s that we still enjoy today– the Tucson Weekly, KXCI, the Tucson Kitchen Musicians, and (until recently) Access Tucson.

Unfortunately, before I moved here, no one warned me about “right to work” states. All I had to go on was my Dad’s warning: “They didn’t like unions” out there.

With a bachelors degree and eight years of experience, I had been making $8/hour (with health insurance, paid sick time, and paid vacation) as a professional photographer working for a swanky graphic and product design agency in Columbus, Ohio. Prior to moving, I mailed resumes hawking my writing, photography, and graphic design skills to Tucson agencies and got a number of job interviews. I received two job offers pretty quickly, but when I told them I expected to make what I had made in Ohio, they literally laughed in my face. “You’re not going to make that here! You’ll be lucky to make $6/hour.” (That guy was right. I was offered $6/hour by both potential employers. I turned them down and opted for $25/hour as a freelancer– early shades of the local gig economy.)

In Columbus, I had been making about 2.5x the $3.35/hour minimum wage and was told to expect 1.8x the minimum wage in Arizona– even though our rent ($250/month) in Tucson was significantly higher for a much smaller and less stylish place than we had in Columbus.

Let’s Do the Math

What’s with the history lesson you ask? This is actually a math lesson…


Patricia Arquette was not malicious in her backstage comments, but she was mistaken

Crossposted from DemocraticDiva.com

patricia arquette

I cheered right along with Meryl Streep and Jennifer Lopez when Patricia Arquette made an impassioned demand for women’s rights and, specifically, pay equity in her acceptance speech for Best Supporting Actress last Sunday. And then she was interviewed backstage and said some other things:

“So the truth is, even though we sort of feel like we have equal rights in America, right under the surface, there are huge issues that are applied that really do affect women. And it’s time for all the women in America and all the men that love women, and all the gay people, and all the people of color that we’ve all fought for to fight for us now.”

The part in bold is what several people took to social media to express their offense over at what they perceived as the erasure of women from “gay people” and “people of color”. Others immediately came to Arquette’s defense, claiming that the hysterical PC police were bashing her unfairly over words perhaps poorly chosen in the midst of an exhilarating and emotional moment. I agree that it was most likely not Arquette’s intention to exclude non-cis/straight and non-white women in her comments but the women in those groups have a lot of experience having their identities and concerns ignored, even by well-intentioned white women. And when they point out that you’re doing that, it’s rude (to say the least) to become defensive and double-down on the denials, as Arquette and her defenders have done since Sunday.

But set that aside for a minute and examine the problem, on its merits, with her “call to action”, as more than one of the people defending her to me described it to me. And that is that her claim was wrong. Factually wrong. Gobsmackingly so.

Continue reading

Doug MacEachern is having none of your Equal Pay Day!

Someone told me recently that they knew AZ Republic columnist Doug MacEachern well and that he’s nothing like how he seems in all his columns, in which he channels your angry Birther uncle chain emailing conspiracy stories from World Net Daily and Newsmax all day long. I’m not sure why it matters if he’s sincere or not since the resulting output is the same and he is being paid a newspaper columnist’s salary to do it, but I thought I’d let you know that.

Speaking of pay, Tuesday was Equal Pay Day – signifying the additional amount women have to work this year, on average, to earn what men earned, on average, last year. MacEachern is (or is pretending to be) very testy about Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton and Councilwoman Kate Gallego marking Equal Pay Day by announcing a plan to ensure gender pay equity for city contractors. Continue reading

AZ Reps. Grijalva and Barber Back Extension of ERA Ratification Deadline

by Pamela Powers Hannley

Ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) has received bipartisan support in the Arizona Legislature, but Arizona's Congressional delegation appears to be lagging behind. Of Arizona's 11 Senators and Representatives, only two–  Southern Arizona Reps. Raul Grijalva (D- CD3) and Ron Barber (D- CD2)– have signed on to co-sponsor legislation to remove the ERA's ratification deadline.

There are two Congressional bills to remove the ratification deadline. In the House, HJ Res 43 has 104 cosponsors (including Grijalva and Barber), and in the Senate, SJ Res 15 has 34 cosponsors.

The ERA was introduced during every Congressional session between 1923 (when it was originally proposed) and 1972. It finally passed Congress nearly 70 years after it was originally introduced. In the 1970s, there was a ground war at the state level to get 38 state legislatures to ratify the ERA in order for it to become a Constitutional Amendment. The ERA fell 3 states short of ratification; Arizona is one of a handful of states that never ratified the ERA. (Contact and Twitter info for Arizona's Congressional delegation after the jump.)

To become an amendment to the US Constitution, the ERA deadline must be extended by the Congress, and three state legislatures have to ratify it. Currently, six states have ratification proposals in 2013: Florida, Illinois, Louisana, Missouri, Virginia, and Arizona; North Carolina and Nevada have ERA proposals for 2014.

Passage of the ERA is a civil rights issue. It's time for pay equity for American women. It's time to end wage discrimination based upon gender.

You Have the Power

If you back the ERA and economic equality, please contact your Congressional representatives and tell them to co-sponsor and vote for extension of the ERA deadline. Below is the Arizona Congressional delegation. Click on their names to see their websites and contact information. Click on their Twitter handles to Tweet about the ERA and their involvement. Suggested hastags: #ERA, #RatifyERA, #Equality4All, #RiseUp, and, of course, tag (#) or direct message (@) your Senator or Representative. There are sample Tweets here. Personally, I like this one: @RepSinema support #equality & #women? Prove it by signing #HJRES43 2 remove #ERA Ratification deadline. #RatifyERA#IMAH#RiseUp.

 Name Sponsor CPC Black Hispanic Asia Pacific  Twitter
 Jeff Flake (R)            @JeffFlake
 John McCain (R)            @SenJohnMcCain
 Ron Barber (D-02)  HJ Res 43          @RonBarberAZ
 Trent Franks (R-08)            @RepTrentFranks
 Paul Gosar (R-04)            @RepGosar
 Raul Grijalva (D-03)  HJ Res 43 Yes   Yes Yes  @RepRaulGrijalva
 Ann Kirkpatrick (D-01)            @RepKirkpatrick
 Ed Pastor (D-07)   Yes   Yes    
 Matt Salmon (R-05)            @RepMattSalmon
 David Schweikert (R-06)            @RepDavid
 Krysten Sinema (D-09)            @RepSinema

If you live in another state and want to know its status on extension of the ERA deadline, check out this interactive map from Progressive Democrats of America. The map also shows which state legislatures didn't ratify the ERA in the 1970s.

HCR2016 ERA Ratification Bill Languishes on Speaker Tobin’s Desk

Victoria STEELEby Pamela Powers Hannley

Tucson Rep. Victoria Steele has introduced two bipartisan bills to advance the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) in the Arizona Legislature. One has made it to committee, while the other is waiting on Speaker of the House Andy Tobin's desk.

HCR2016 is a bill to ratify the ERA. Although ERA ratification has 22 sponsors, including four Republicans, it hasn't made it "out of the gate" yet. According to an aid in Steele's office, HCR2016 hasn't had a "first read" yet. Bills are read first by Speaker Tobin, who determines committee assignments. If a bill is never assigned to a committee, it is dead in the water. (HB2016 text here.)

HCM2006 is a memorandum to the federal government asking that the ratification deadline be extended. HCM2006 has 19 sponsors, including two Republicans. The bill has been assigned to the Federalism and Fiscal Responsibility Committee (FFR) but hasn't made it on the committee's agenda… yet. (More about the committee here. HCM2006 text here.)

Bills can be killed in multiple ways: they can be voted down in committee, voted down by the Legislature, or just plain ignored by the Speaker or the committee chair. Although it's early in the session, it appears as if the ERA bills are being ignored– even though the ERA has bipartisan support in the Legislature and broad, popular support among the majority of Americans. (Sponsor list after the jump.)

That's where you come. You can contact Speaker Tobin (atobin@azleg.gov, 602-926-5172, @Andy_Tobin) and FFS Chair Justin Olson (jolson@azleg.gov, 602-926-5288, no Twitter) and tell them: 1) economic equality for women is an important civil rights issue– not only for women but for all of Arizona– and 2) the ERA deserves to be heard, debated, and voted on by the entire Arizona Legislature– not killed by inaction.

ERA Ratification Sponsors

Here is a list of the 22 sponsors of HB2016, ERA ratification. Fann, Townsend, Orr, and Ugenti are the four Republicans. If your representatives are on the list, please thank them. If your representatives are not on the list, you may want to find out their stance. (This is an election year.)

Rep Victoria Steele Rep Lela Alston Rep Chad Campbell Rep Mark A. Cardenas
Rep Rosanna Gabaldón Rep Ruben Gallego Rep Lydia Hernandez Rep Martin J. Quezada
Rep Katie Hobbs Rep Lynne Pancrazi Rep Karen Fann Rep Debbie McCune Davis
Rep Juan Mendez Rep Eric Meyer Rep Miranda Rep Ethan Orr
Rep Macario Saldate IV Rep Kelly Townsend Rep Michelle Ugenti Rep Bruce Wheeler
Sen Carlyle Begay Rep Anna Tovar    

Why Do We Need the ERA?

Back in the 1970s, many people told us that we didn’t need the ERA because American women were obviously equal to men. Well, obviously, when you look at chronic pay inequality and persistent poverty, women are not treated equally in the US.

The economy is repeatedly cited as the most important issue to women. Economic inequality is at the crux of the problem. More women work part time. More women work at low-wage jobs. More women live in povertySingle moms and their children are more likely to receive government assistance.

Politifact recently examined the issue of gender pay disparity and concluded that, outside of other contributing factors such as career choice or full versus part time status, 40% of  wage disparity is due directly to gender discrimination and cannot be attached to other external factors. It is also true that while 72% of Americans believe The Constitutional Equal Rights Amendment is already law (it is not), 97% of Americans believe it should be.

To become an amendment to the US Constitution, the ERA deadline must be extended by the Congress, and three state legislatures have to ratify it. Currently, six states have ratification proposals in 2013: Florida, Illinois, Louisana, Missouri, Virginia, and Arizona; North Carolina and Nevada have ERA proposals for 2014.

P.S. Do I have to apologize to LD9 Rep. Ethan Orr, now? Thanks, Rep. Orr, for backing the ERA. Can you get Tobin to read it?