May 9, 2013
At Tuesday night's Mayoral Forum, sponsored by the National Organization for Women (NOW), Democratic Mayoral contenders, including Christine Quinn, Bill Thompson, John Liu, Bill deBlasio, called upon Mayor Bloomberg to settle the long-fought class action lawsuit brought by School Safety Agents to end pay inequity they suffer in comparison with other peace officers performing substantially identical duties. Each vowed to work on resolving the issue if it is not settled by the current administration. Republican Joseph Lhota and Independent Adolfo Carrion said they were not familiar with the case but indicated that they support pay equity for people in the same job classification.
This pay discrimination case has more than 5,000 claimants and is currently the largest case of its kind in the nation. 70% of School Safety Agents are women who earn 20% ($7,000) less than other peace officers, of which 70% are male. Teamsters Local 237, which represents the agents in collective bargaining, has sought to have Mayor Bloomberg engage in settlement discussions, which he has declined to do. The commitment by the various mayoral candidates to work with Local 237 to resolve this issue is a much welcome sign that settlement, after three years of mayoral inaction, could be in the offing.
Gregory Floyd, President Local 237 said: "I am grateful to NOW and its NYC Chapter President Sonia Ossorio, for making this issue, an important part of the discussion with mayoral candidates. It sends a strong message that of the many areas of concern the next administration must address, is pay discrimination of women. Additionally, hearing these candidates not only agree, but commit to end the pay disparity and work with our union to resolve this injustice, makes me and my members hope that the next mayor will be responsive to the problems of working families."
Hercules Cornish went to work for the Housing Authority as a caretaker J in 1952 and retired 24 years later as a stores worker. He died the year following this interview, which was conducted in June 1999.
Originally I was from Harlem, but when I came out of the service in 1945 my wife had moved to the Bronx, so I moved there, too. I went to work for the New York City Housing Authority in 1952.