By MIKE LEE
The union is backing a legal effort to equalize pay for the more than 2,500 school crossing guards with the city’s Traffic Enforcement Agents, both of whom perform the same work.
Board of Education Employees Local 372 held a rally and press conference in front of the federal Court House in Foley Square in lower Manhattan on May 16, shortly before an important hearing in a lawsuit against New York City stating it is in violation of the Equal Pay Act. The case, Miller v. New York, was filed on behalf of the union’s school crossing guards, workers who are predominantly female and paid substantially less than the city’s Traffic Enforcement Agents who perform similar job functions—and are mainly male.
The goal of the lawsuit is to equalize pay between the SCAs and TEAs, given that the latter is often called upon to work as crossing guards, but at the same rate as their other work.
“We’re not comparing school crossing guards to traffic enforcement agents. We are talking about a traffic enforcement agent assigned the post of a school crossing guard. That’s the issue,” said Local 372 General Counsel Roger Archibald, who is arguing the case before the federal court.
At the rally, Archibald spoke passionately about the stark difference in pay. “The average school crossing guard made approximately $14.67 an hour, while the average traffic enforcement agent working at a school crossing was paid $20.76 an hour—six plus dollars more per hour for doing exactly the same job,” he said. “The only difference was one was a man and one was a woman. And that is unfair and that’s a violation of the Equal Pay Act that mandates equal pay for equal work.”
Local 372 President Shaun D. Francois I made it clear that it was time to address the issue in court and push harder for pay equality. “We’ve been fighting a long time for our members to be paid equally for doing the same work,” said Francois, who is also DC 37’s president. “What we are doing today is to make sure for a better tomorrow. We will not be denied.”