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View Diary: House passes fair pay bill (Updated) (195 comments)

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  •  Not a bad idea, I guess (2+ / 0-)
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    kyril, MsGrin

    I used to work for a newspaper covering a lot of local governments and school boards. My editor would insist on printing all of their salaries/wages. These were all the result of union negotiations.

    OTOH, my editor would not tell me how much he earned. Never seemed fair to me.

    It does not do to leave a live dragon out of your calculations, if you live near him.

    by Casual Wednesday on Tue Jan 27, 2009 at 03:11:13 PM PST

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    •  I Disagree (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TexMex Junkie

      Most employees don't want others to know what they make.  In my view this is a terrible invasion of privacy.  There are already and have been for many years laws against discrimination based on sex.  Employers will have no alternative but to pay "everyone the same" even if they aren't doing the same job.  There's no incentive for a worker to do any better job than the worst worker in the bunch.  I like incentives for good work.  This would end that effectively.  I get that discrimination is sometimes present.  I don't think there are many lawyers in this arena who would tell you that they have seen very many egregious ones like this.  I haven't seen a one in 28 years of practicing this kind of law.  Let's not throw the baby out with the bathwater.  Word gets around eventually.  Just as it did to Lily Ledbetter.  The misinterpretation by the Supreme Court has been fixed.  Let's let the law do what it is supposed to do before we do something else with "unintended" consequences.

      •  HOW DO WE KNOW? (4+ / 0-)

        Government jobs post saleries. It is private industry that does not unless required to by a union. We will never know how much de facto descrimination there is against women and men of colour unless everybody knows what everybody else is earning. Now if John makes more than Jill because he has put in more hours, has more experience, or attracts more clients, then his merit pay is documented and completely justified, but many of us go to work year after year and only learn that the goof-off brother-in-law of the boss has been taking home twice the salary of everybody else when he gets drunk and brags about it at the company picnic.

      •  I dealt with it for years (3+ / 0-)
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        kyril, Casual Wednesday, berrieh

        as a employee of a public university.  Employee salaries were a matter of public record and the student newspaper printed the salaries of every employee of the university once or twice a year.  Although it was mildly embarrassing to me for everyone to know what a pittance I was willing to work for, it was almost universally a good thing.  Important questions were raised as result - such as "Why are law professors paid so much more than professors in the humanities?  Are they really worth that much more?"  Every manager had to make decisions about salary so that they would be able to explain and defend them.  This is a very good thing for a public institution, and it seems that this level of responsibility would only have good effects in a private institution as well.

        •  For universities (0+ / 0-)

          there's sort of an argument for pay differentials based on field, but it almost invariably turns into de facto discrimination because of the gender split in the faculty.

          Just about any university in the country could have an overwhelming surplus of applicants for tenure-track positions in the humanities even if they paid minimum wage - heck, they could probably pay $1.90 and tell professors to collect tips for lectures - just because so many people desperately want and are qualified for the positions and many don't have opportunities in the private sector that they find intellectually fulfilling.

          On the other hand, in law, physics, or engineering, there's some question whether the would-be professors would choose to work in private industry instead, even with tenure dangled as an incentive, if they weren't paid enough to sustain at least the lifestyle of a postdoc.

          Guess which group is predominantly female and which is predominantly male.

          Math Kos runs Saturdays at midday-ish.

          by kyril on Tue Jan 27, 2009 at 09:32:32 PM PST

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