Albuquerque ahead of nation when it comes to equal pay

Updated: 02/01/2014 10:31 AM | Created: 01/31/2014 10:34 PM
By: Jen Samp, KOB Eyewitness News 4

Gender equality was a hot topic in the president's State of the Union Address.

"A woman deserves equal pay for equal work. She deserves to have a baby without sacrificing her job. A mother deserves a day off to care for a sick child or sick parent without running into hardship – and you know what, a father does, too. It's time to do away with workplace policies that belong in a 'Mad Men' episode."

The city of Boston is now asking companies to voluntarily sign pledges saying they'll provide equal pay.

The city of Albuquerque is way ahead. It already has a bill in place, signed three months ago, that favors vendors that do business with the city when they pay women fairly.

"If you can prove to us that you are taking gender pay seriously and you're paying women the same as you are paying men for doing the same job, we want to make sure you have an advantage when you bid against companies who don't take it seriously," said Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry.

For decades--federal and state laws have failed to make equal pay happen.    

Nationally, for every dollar a full-time working man makes, a woman makes 77 cents.  

In New Mexico, it's only 75 cents.

Mac's Steak in the Rough owned by Fresquez Inc. is one of the many vendors the city contracts out to. They hope other businesses that aren't with the city will voluntarily follow suit.

Darlene Sanchez has been a cook for Mac's for the past 20 years she remembers when it was hard for women to even get a job.

"I don't think they (employers) wanted us to work. They would look at us like we weren't allowed to work," she said. "They looked at you like is she actually looking for a job?"

Now there are more women supervisors at the restaurant than men.

Pay is based on performance not gender.

"It's not really that hard," Sanchez said, "If you want to work you can, if you have it in you can do it!"

In August of 2008 President Barack Obama was in Albuquerque and gave a speech on women's equal pay.

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