Staten Island's Senator Savino goes to bat for female workers

Diane J. Savino

by Staten Island Advance

State Sen. Diane Savino today headlined two Albany rallies pegged to equal rights for female workers, saying "pocketbook issues" of financial equality benefit not only women but families, especially during tough economic times.

And in keeping with the theme of the day, Ms. Savino (D-North Shore/Brooklyn) sponsored the visit of several Staten Island Girl Scout troops to the state capital, calling it a "serendipitous" confluence of events on a day that highlighted gender-equality legislation.

In observance of Equal Pay Day, Ms. Savino rallied with supporters of the New York State Fair Pay Act, meant to strengthen pay-equity laws. A co-sponsor of the bill, she said it stands a good chance of passage this year in the Democratic-controlled Senate. Its aim is to ensure equal rates of pay for women doing work comparable to their male counterparts.

"More than 40 years ago, under President Kennedy, Congress outlawed wage discrimination based on gender," noted Ms. Savino. "However, working women and people of color are still paid substantially less. This is a family pocketbook issue that transcends race, income and gender."

Women, on average, earn 77 cents for every dollar a man earns for doing the same job.

Ms. Savino also gathered with backers of a bill establishing a Domestic Worker Bill of Rights, which would protect nannies, housekeepers and elder-care workers from "exploitation" and grant them the ability to seek redress from the state Labor Department. She noted that most domestic workers, "who are overwhelmingly women and overwhelmingly foreign-born," are not covered under federal laws because many are employed by individuals.

The visit by the Girl Scout troops included a meeting with other members of the Staten Island state delegation.

"The Girl Scouts are a wonderful organization," said Ms. Savino. "They are about character, commitment, a sense of community and keeping girls grounded."

The troops in Albany were: 5068; 2268; 5304; 5020; 555; 528; 5393; 5179, and 5056.

-- Contributed by Judy L. Randall