Date: Fri, 26 Feb 1999 22:33:41 -0600 (CST)
From: Agent Smiley <>
Subject: Union study: equal pay cuts poverty
Article: 56155
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Union study: equal pay cuts poverty

UPI, 23 February 1999

WASHINGTON, Feb. 23 (UPI)—A study by the AFL-CIO and the Institute for Women’s Policy Research says that if women earned the same as men then the U.S. poverty rate would be cut in half.

The state-by-state study says that 36 years after Congress passed the Equal Pay Act, inequalities in pay is costing the families of working women in the United States some $200 billion a year.

The study being released Wednesday says if married women were paid the same as men, their family incomes would rise nearly 6 percent, and their poverty rate would decline from 2.1 percent to 0.8 percent.

If single working mothers had equal pay, their incomes would go 17 percent and their poverty rate would be slashed from 25.3 percent to 12.6 percent. And if single women earned the same as comparable men, their incomes would rise by 13.4 percent, and poverty rates would drop from 6.3 percent to 1 percent.

The study says the average loss for families of working women is $4,000 a year. Economist Greg Tarpinian of the Labor Research Association in New York said: If women were paid equal to men the 25-year decline in real wages probably never would have happened. If women were paid equal to men, there would be little left of the feeling that working people have that the economic recovery has passed them by.

He said the cost of gaining equality is truly mind-boggling. In order for women and working families to win, corporate chieftains and Wall Street elites will have to give something up. Now we know, they have to give up about $200 billion, he said.

Using data from the Bureau of Census and the Bureau of Labor Statistics researchers found the smallest wage gap—the difference in median weekly wages not adjusted for education, experience or hours of work—to be in Washington. There, women earn 97.1 percent of what men earn, and minority women earn 82.4 percent of men’s wages. However, the study says the figures are skewed somewhat by the low wages for minority men in Washington.

The largest gap for all women was 62.9 percent in Wyoming and for minorities 51.5 percent in Rhode Island. Nationally, the some 4 million men who work in jobs typically considered women’s work— clerical, child care, librarian, etc.—lose $6,259 per year in income because of pay inequality.

That part of the study compared workers in female-dominated jobs to workers in male-dominated jobs in companies of the same size and industry where gender, age, race, education, marital and parental status, demographics and hours were comparable.

The study also concludes that union membership makes a significant difference in wages, increasing wages for minority men by as much as 44. 3 percent, or $177 per week, and for minority women by 38.6 percent, or $135 per week.