Is Equal Pay the Next Union Battle Cry?

equal payThe public and very messy firing of the New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson has been likened to a “lightning strike to dry tinder.”   As Amanda Bennett (former editor of the Philadelphia Post who was also fired) points out in her opinion piece in today’s The Washington Post, women across America are openly furious about unequal pay for equal work.   Many who have weighed in on this situation have highlighted how difficult it is for even well-educated, female top executives to challenge unequal pay.

Today’s guest blog by an attorney in Atlanta, Jennfer Keaton, offers a different perspective.  She asks the question — is equal pay the next battle cry of unions?

Savvy employers, of course, will not wait for a union to place pressure on them for equal pay for equal work.  They will proactively conduct compensation self-audits and remedy any pay disparities not attributable to one of the exceptions to the Equal Pay Act.


Is Equal Pay the Next Union Battle Cry?
Guest Blog by Jennifer Keaton, Esq.

Cue the Unions!

Jill Abramson’s recent, swift dismissal from the apex of the New York Times could not have been timed much better.  The Obama White House has seen the signing of the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and its own disclosures that pay for White House staff may not be equitable across the genders.  Now a major player in Corporate America is admitting some less than stellar news about its own pay disparities.

If they’ll do it at the top, you have to suspect that there are no qualms about doing it at the bottom….or at least to the middle where subjectivity of performance evaluations and merit raises and bonuses thrive.

So, somebody cue the unions!

Union membership has been on a downward trend over the past two decades.  Opinions vary on the reason, but there is no denying that many employees do not see the value in the dues.  But perhaps this writing off of unions is unfair in light of these recent pay issues coming to light.

Unionize the Middle!

Let me define the Middle for you.  The Middle are college educated, largely white collar, salaried employees that are females.  They generally believe unions are for factory workers and “beneath them.”  They also believe that they can negotiate job duties, pay, and professional status for themselves, thank you very much. Yes, they believe they are the “upper middle class,” but they are living paycheck to paycheck most months due to the retail race with the Joneses or the nannies employed to enable the career and lifestyle.  They also came of age thinking that Women’s Lib was over and had achieved its objective well before they entered the workforce.

Middlers Unite!

Well, well, well, Middlers.  Looks like your cynicism about lifetime employment needs to extend a little further to your measly paycheck.  Yes, you earn six-figures, but it still may be four to five figures less than the jack-wad down the hall….but you’ll never know for sure.  So, how are you going to be sure you’re not left behind like Jill Abramson and her Times tattoo?

You won’t do anything, will you!?

But, what if you didn’t have to do anything to get your hands dirty or risk retribution for being the one nail that would get hammered down?  Yes, Middlers….your talent agent can do the messy business of negotiating your deal so that you can focus on closing business!  Your talent agent can ensure that the jack wads don’t make you look like a dolt on the P&L sheets.  Yes, show me the money!!

Your Talent Agent Will Do Something!

Middlers, get smart. Get negotiating.  And get your talent agent lined up.  Nowadays, you can get that talent agency lined up without a big fuss at all.  In fact, you can secure your collective talent agency without your company even knowing it and that talent agency can just march right into headquarters tomorrow and demand a reckoning, a negotiation, and restructuring of terms. That’s right Middlers, just like actors on hit TV shows, all this dirty work of pay negotiations and such can be done without you having to be troubled with it or damage those interpersonal relationships you’ve worked on for years.

Talent Agents Are Just A Phone Call Away

Middlers, faster than you can pull together a jewelry trunk show at your suburban house, you can hold a meeting amongst you and a Talent Agency ready to get you all signed up.  Want to send a message, it can be a simple exercise that won’t require you to stand on a street corner clamoring for cars to honk at you or to be a sweaty Norma Rae.  Ewwww.  A Talent Agency is your answer, or at least a really fast answer with a proven track record of paying jack wads a going rate.

So, why not give a local Talent Agency a try?  Just give a quick Google to the SEIU or AFL-CIO to get started.   You are worth it!

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