SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – San Francisco has proposed lowering the pay for newly hired workers in dozens of job classifications during negotiations with several city unions.
Although the dicey issue of pay equity, sometimes called comparable pay for comparable work, will ultimately be decided in contract negotiations, labor leaders and city negotiators debated the policy’s merits at a Board of Supervisors committee hearing on Wednesday.
“We’re moving back on commitments that we made around comparable work for women and people of color,” said Supervisor John Avalos, an opponent of the city proposal.
San Francisco actually reversed course on pay equity in the 1990s.
The increased salaries for low paid jobs held mostly by women and minorities in the 1980s, only to eliminate the policy of comparable pay for comparable work a decade later under a change to the charter the city charter.
“We actually have to respond to what we’re obligated to do under the charter, and that’s what we’re doing here,” said Micki Callahan, the city’s human resources director, adding that unions supported eliminating pay equity when the charter was changed.
The proposal would affect 45 job classifications, although current city employees would not see their wages reduced. Only new hires would be offered the lower pay rate called for by the charter.
Labor unions will oppose the salary rollbacks in negotiations, said Tim Paulson, executive director of the San Francisco Labor Council.
“The entire labor movement will be with the city workers on this particular point,” Paulson said. “Anything that smacks of going backwards, we are going to be absolutely against.”
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