Worth the Whole Dollar: Latinas Rally for Pay Equity


Patti Singer

Annette Ramos adovcates for the next generation of Latinas to learn how to negotiate their worth in the workplace. Provided by Annette Ramos.

Annette Ramos advocates for the next generation of Latinas to learn how to negotiate their worth in the workplace. Provided by Annette Ramos.

Annette Ramos knows firsthand about pay inequity.

“You’d be surprised what they want to pay you,” said Ramos, a teaching artist and consultant for cultural competency within arts institutions.

Events Nov. 20 and Nov. 21 are aimed at helping Latinas speak out against unequal pay and helping working women speak up to get equal wages for equal work.

Nov. 20 is Latina Equal Pay Day, marking how far into the current year, in addition to 2018, Latinas worked to earn what white non-Hispanic males earned in 2018 while doing the same job. A rally is scheduled for 11:45 a.m. at Workers United, 750 East Ave.

On Nov. 21, women can attend a free workshop to learn the skills and confidence to advocate for themselves. The event runs from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. At 75 College Ave. Registration is required and can be done online at bit.ly/32sUL13. The workshop is sponsored by the Pay Equity Coalition, which also holds Latina Pay Equity Day, in conjunction with American Association of University Women.

Both events are about giving women power in the workplace, said Ramos, who volunteers with the Pay Equity Coalition.

“Let’s say a Latina and a White male come in with the same skills,” she said. “He is more likely to get a management position and she is more likely to get a lower level position. It equates to less money for her to take home.”

Latinas make 55 cents on the dollar that white non-Hispanic males make for the same job, according to data from New York state cited by the Pay Equity Coalition, which is organizing the rally.

Latina Equal Pay Day is one of a series of days throughout the year that marks, in general, the earnings of women of different racial and ethnic groups catch up to the earnings of white males.

The rally includes calls for Gov. Andrew Cuomo to sign two bills, S6436 and S456B, which would protect workers in the public sector from wage discrimination. Cuomo has signed bills that protect workers in the private sector. The AAUW rates New York as moderate in the strength of its equal pay laws. The organization rated only four states – Illinois, California, Washington and Oregon – as having strong equal pay laws.

Rally organizers also want County Executive-elect Adam Bello to set a standard in New York by requiring public and private sector employers to post salary ranges. Bello attended the Black/African American Equal Pay Day Rally in August, when he was a candidate for the county executive position.

According to the Pay Equity Coalition, he said that he would hold employers accountable and “work to make sure the deck is no longer stacked and rigged.” He said he would use the county’s purchasing power to certify equal pay and make sure county contracts do not reward gender and racial pay gaps.

The event includes an Unfair Bake Sale, a way to show unequal buying power of the wage gap. The rally also is to teach the next generation about current inequity and the need for change. Attendees are expected to include a group of Rochester City School District students who made a video about pay inequity, other school-age and college students.

“If we’re not talking to our youth about this inequity, how will they be prepared to enter the workforce and be successful and make not a decent living but a thriving living?” Ramos said.

After taking an online training in salary negotiation, Ramos said she reworked her fee  schedule. “I was undervaluing my work as an independent contractor, thinking, oh, you can pay me that.”

Ramos now cites national, regional and local trends when she sets her rates.

“I’ve said no to work, and they’ve come back and met my salary range.”