LACCD votes in support of equal pay for district employees

The district’s Board of Trustees voted to approve equal pay for all district employees.

By Marcos Franco, News Editor

The LACCD Board of Trustees voted in support of an equal pay resolution in early March. (Graphic Illustration by Vickie Guzman/The Valley Star)

The Los Angeles Community College Board of Trustees unanimously approved a resolution Wednesday, March 3, regarding equal pay for district employees in order to mend the wage gap between men and women.

The resolution was presented to the board during Women’s History Month by Trustees Andra Hoffman and Nichelle Henderson. Hoffman is a founding member of the California Community College Women’s Caucus, which was formed last fall to advocate for change and enact policies that will advance opportunities for women across CCC. The district plans to move forward with the resolution by conducting annual district gender pay analyses and comparing data to similar educational institutions. LACCD will also revamp and reassess the recruitment and promotion process in order to reduce gender bias.

Before the board voted on the resolution, community members chimed in to voice their overwhelming support for the move, sharing both concerns of pay parity as well as heartfelt and empowering poetry outlining the achievements of women in modern history.

“I am in support of this resolution,” said Phyllis Braxton, former district administrator and current counseling member at Trade Technical College. “I want to encourage the board to take action to start the process of reviewing how women are paid in our district in order to eliminate a lack of parity in pay and opportunity.”

In 1963, The Equal Pay Act was signed into law by President John F. Kennedy. This piece of legislation was a milestone for women across the country that would advocate for equal pay among men and women. Although the wage gap has steadily narrowed since the law was implemented, women are still shortchanged in their earnings 58 years later.

According to a recent statement by ABC News, over the course of a 40-year career, women will make $500,000 less on average than men, with Black, Latina and Native American women earning about $1 million less.

California has the most extensive equal pay laws in the country, leading the nation with the narrowest gender pay gap. At its peak in 2005, women in California earned 90.2 cents for every dollar earned by men at the same level. However, the number has since declined to 89 cents per dollar in 2019.

“It saddens me that in the year 2021 we continue to fight for pay equity but it is wonderful that there are women and male allies that understand how detrimental gender pay and equity is not only to the female employees but to their families and our communities overall,” Trustee Henderson said.

Before 1974, banks could legally deny credit card applications from women if they did not have a man to co-sign for them. It was not until the Equal Credit Opportunity Act of 1974 that financial institutions were prohibited to discriminate against applicants based on race, religion, sex and marital status.

Up until 1978, women who were pregnant or who had a pregnancy related illness were not protected under law and could be fired for their inability to work. Since the Pregnancy Discrimiation Act, it is illegal for employers to discriminate against pregnant women in the hiring, promotion or termination process.

The LACCD is the largest community college district in the United States and one of the largest in the world, covering more than 882 square miles of Los Angeles. Women account for 48 percent of the district’s employees across faculty and administration.

“So often we pass resolutions — month after month — that sort of become shelf documents,” said Trustee Hoffman. “I really feel that this resolution is something that we can take action on right away.”