Skip to main content
Resolutions & Amendments

27th International Convention - Chicago, IL (1986)

Pay Equity

Resolution No. 8
27th International Convention
June 23-27, 1986
Chicago, IL


AFSCME has mounted a national effort to eradicate sex-based wage discrimination through collective bargaining, legislation and litigation; and


Through AFSCME's efforts hundreds of millions of dollars have been committed to raise pay for women and men in undervalued, female-dominated jobs; and


AFSCME has successfully negotiated money for pay equity adjustments with a number of state governments — including New York, Connecticut, Minnesota, Iowa and Michigan — and with many local governmental units, including two of the largest cities in the United States (Chicago and Los Angeles), and has successfully lobbied for pay equity increases in New Jersey and Wisconsin; and


The decade-long struggle of AFSCME Council 28 has successfully been resolved by a settlement of the lawsuit providing more than $100 million in pay equity for Washington State employees' adjustments; and


The drive to achieve pay equity continues to gain momentum. AFSCME is putting pay equity on the negotiating table across the country. Numerous state and local governments are doing studies to determine the extent of pay discrimination in their workforces including all units of government in the state of Minnesota. The appeals court decision in AFSCME v. State of Washington, while disappointing, has had minimal effect on other wage discrimination activities, and pay equity litigation is pending in other circuits which have yet to take a position; and


The successes to date clearly demonstrate that pay equity is feasible and can be accomplished without the dire consequences predicted by opponents. In no instance has a pay equity jurisdiction found it necessary to raise taxes to pay for the adjustments. Pay equity has been implemented without men's jobs being downgraded. Job evaluation has been demonstrated to be a useful tool in identifying pay inequities. Nevertheless, the progress thus far is but a beginning. Public employees working in traditionally female-dominated jobs are being systematically underpaid in thousands of state and local governments throughout the country; and


The opposition, led by the Reagan Administration and the business community, has launched an all out effort to thwart pay equity. The EEOC has adopted a policy of dismissing sex-based wage discrimination complaints. The Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department, consistent with its general hostility to civil rights law enforcement, has opposed pay equity. In its brief filed in ANA v. State of Illinois the Justice Department took a position that, had it prevailed, would preclude a cause of action under Title VII for most sex-based pay discrimination claims. The Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers, and other business organizations are waging a major campaign which includes anti-pay equity lobbying, filing amicus briefs in pay equity lawsuits and disseminating propaganda.


That this 27th International Convention reaffirm the achievement of pay equity as one of AFSCME's major priorities. AFSCME urges all affiliates to work for pay equity through collective bargaining, if feasible, since collective bargaining is the most direct and expedient way to address pay disparities. AFSCME congratulates those councils and locals which have fought for and won pay equity at the bargaining table; and


That AFSCME will continue to work for appropriate legislation to achieve pay equity where negotiation is not possible; and


That AFSCME will continue to use the courts strategically to develop favorable case law on the issue in state and federal courts in appropriate instances where the employer has refused to implement pay equity voluntarily; and


That AFSCME will continue to provide training and technical assistance to affiliates and will continue to work with and support other organizations including the National Committee on Pay Equity to increase public awareness and support.


Joe Forbes, President & Delegate
Local 858, Council 36

Betty Ballard, Treasurer & Delegate
Local 3090, Council 36
Los Angeles, California

Sue King, President
Bev Hermanson, Secretary
Local 443, Council 28
Olympia, Washington

Marion Porro, President and Delegate
Local 1930, District Council 37
New York, New York