Reevaluating Comparable Worth: AFSCME’s Pay Equity Campaigns of Yesteryear and Today

In celebration of Equal Pay Day on April 2, 2019, podcast host and American Federation of Teachers archivist Dan Golodner recounts a time 100 years ago when male teachers tried, and failed, to prevent female teachers from bargaining for pay equity with their male peers. AFSCME archivist Stefanie Caloia discusses AFSCME’s groundbreaking equal pay campaigns for public employees in the 1970s and 1980s, particularly in Local 101 in San Jose, California and Council 28 in Washington state. To alleviate the large pay disparities between male and female public employees, the “comparable worth” of jobs typically held by men and jobs typically held by women were reevaluated. City managers and politicians got cheap, librarians got tricky, union members got cheeky with a barbecue grill, and eventually female AFSCME members got a raise, although not enough to completely erase pay inequity between women and men. Producer and archivist Troy Eller English threatens to celebrate Equal Pay Day by editing out just 80 percent of Dan’s cursing, but scolds him for mouth breathing, instead.

More Information
Pay Equity and the Public Employee

Related Collections
AFSCME Communications Department Records
AFSCME Office of the President: Gerald W. McEntee Records
AFSCME Office of the President: Jerry Wurf Records
AFSCME Office of the Secretary-Treasurer: William Lucy Records
AFSCME Program Development Department Records
AFSCME Women’s Rights Department Records
Coalition of Labor Union Women Records
Susan Holleran Papers
SEIU District 925 Records
SEIU District 925 Legacy Project

Episode Credits
Producers: Dan Golodner and Troy Eller English
Host: Dan Golodner
Interviewees: Stefanie Caloia
Sound: Troy Eller English

With support from the Reuther Podcast Collective: Bart Bealmear, Elizabeth Clemens, Meghan Courtney, Troy Eller English, Dan Golodner, and Paul Neirink