(NEW YORK) —Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa and Teamsters Local 237 President Greg Floyd held a press conference today to urge Mayor Mike Bloomberg to intervene in the ongoing school safety agent federal class action lawsuit demanding equal pay. Joining in support was George Miranda, President Joint Council 16 Teamsters.
More than 5,000 current and former school safety agents—70 percent of whom are women—have joined the gender-based wage discrimination suit, which seeks to remedy the fact that other peace-officer titles, which are 70 percent male, receive $7,000 more in annual pay. Teamsters Local 237 represents the school safety agents and has repeatedly tried to address this 20 percent pay inequity through contract negotiations with the city’s Office of Labor Relations, but it has refused to engage. The retroactive settlement the parties seek is about $35 million.
“We call on the Mayor Bloomberg to help us resolve this terrible injustice and disparity,” Hoffa said. “School safety agents play a critical role in keeping our children, their teachers and education administrators, safe every day. They should be paid the same as their male counterparts at New York City’s hospitals and other city offices.”
“Mayor Bloomberg needs to step in now and solve this problem. The lawsuit has dragged out far too long, and the city has tarnished its ideals by refusing to negotiate and choosing instead to aggressively litigate against brave officers,” Floyd said. “We are celebrating International Women’s History Month, Mr. Mayor, and equal pay for equal work is one of the fundamental rights we celebrate. Let’s act now to end gender-based wage discrimination among city employees.”
Representatives of the workers said they believed that a settlement could be reached without going to court. “Fair settlements are always better than courtroom battles,” said plaintiffs’ attorney James L. Linsey. “The best battle is the battle that ends with a handshake and a fair deal.”
Founded in 1903, the Teamsters Union represents more than 1.4 million hardworking men and women in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. Visit www.teamster.org for more information. Follow us on Twitter @Teamstersand “like” us on Facebook. Teamsters Local 237 represents over 24,000 employees, including about 5,000 school safety agents in all public schools in the City of New York. www.local237.org