Mayoral candidate Kathryn Garcia says she helps pay fairness, however throughout her six years as metropolis Sanitation commissioner she presided over a two-tier system that funneled women and minorities into lower-wage enforcement jobs whereas white, male counterparts did comparable work for increased pay and higher advantages, a federal discrimination complaint expenses.
“She has a good campaign going, but in the department when she was working with Sanitation, she didn’t help with women or help with equal work or equal pay,” Dameka Dowdy informed The Post.
“She was in a position to bring it to light, and she did nothing.”
Dowdy, a 48-year-old Bronx resident, is one in every of 13 Sanitation enforcement brokers who’ve filed a U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission declare towards the company claiming unequal pay.
The complaint was filed in February, months earlier than Garcia scored the endorsement of The New York Times and started rising in the polls. She’s now within the prime tier of candidates for the June 22 main alongside Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and entrepreneur Andrew Yang.
The brokers say within the EEOC declare that one other company division, the Sanitation police, additionally problem summonses, examine complaints and implement laws — however they get paid twice the salaries, have limitless sick time, prescription drug protection and extra beneficiant pensions.
Unlike the enforcement brokers, the police carry weapons and maintain business drivers licenses.
“We’re different groups inside the department but when we’re doing the same job, it’s crazy that the disparity is there,” Dowdy stated.
Sanitation police are political appointees drawn from the pool of current Sanitation staff, making them largely white and male. Enforcement brokers are civil servants employed from outdoors the division. They are predominantly women and minorities.
The division launched enforcement brokers in 1981 to open up a brand new entrance in its “war on grime.” The brokers have been tasked with fining retailers and householders for filthy sidewalks.
Sanitation police have been alleged to get freed as much as deal with extra severe violations like unlawful dumping probes, however they nonetheless deal with lots of the identical duties carried out by their enforcement counterparts from offering safety at division amenities to ticketing canine walkers for failing to scrub up animal droppings.
The police are paid a mean of $77,000 after 5 years on the job, in line with a duplicate of the EEOC complaint. Dowdy, a black lady, makes simply $50,000 after 15 years. Black and Hispanic male colleagues with over 30 years on the job earn at most $57,000.
As a mayoral candidate Garcia has known as for fairer therapy of feminine staff.
“Women need #EqualPay now. Full stop,” she tweeted on March 24 in observance of Equal Pay Day.
A month later Garcia known as out one other company for discriminatory practices.
“NYC’s foster care system disproportionately impacts Black and low-income families and deepens the cycle of poverty. When a system produces racist and economically discriminatory outcomes, that system must be redesigned to serve all with justice and dignity,” she tweeted in April.
“I just find it quite funny that she’s running for mayor and even saying that because when enforcement came to her for some assistance, she just brushed it off like we were nothing,” stated Carmelita Gordon-Fleetwood, one other black agent concerned within the EEOC case.
When the brokers held a rally in 2017 to push for equal standing with Sanitation police, a spokesman for then-Commissioner Garcia stated that wasn’t potential as a result of they take a separate civil-service examination, in line with an article within the Chief Leader.
“I think that’s very unfair, and I feel like at least some of us should have been given an opportunity if you’re not going to make the pay at least close, give us an opportunity to join that realm,” stated Sandra Castro, who can also be a black enforcement agent.
Philip Seelig, an lawyer for the brokers who plans to file a category motion lawsuit towards the Sanitation Department this summer time after the EEOC evaluations the declare, stated Garcia had the ability to push for change.
Seelig, onetime president of the Correction Officers Benevolent Association, labored with former Correction Department Commissioner Benjamin Ward under Mayor Ed Koch within the early Nineteen Eighties to push for pension reform for his largely minority workforce.
“Commissioners can advocate and they can speak up,” Seelig informed The Post.
“She either turned a blind eye or wasn’t watching the store and that’s her obligation as commissioner,” Seelig stated.
A spokesman for the Sanitation Department stated the 2 jobs are very completely different.
“Sanitation Police are peace officers who carry firearms, and should maintain business driver’s licenses in order that in a snow emergency, they are often pulled from their regular duties and assigned to drive a plow.
“None of these things are the case for Sanitation Enforcement Agents, who play a vital role by observing conditions and issuing citations but cannot compel changes in behavior and are not authorized to operate heavy machinery,” stated spokesman Joshua Goodman.
Goodman stated Garcia labored to shut the pay hole by advocating for enforcement brokers to get further factors on the Sanitation employee civil service examination so that they could possibly be eligible to grow to be division police and earn a better wage.
“As a woman leading a majority-male workforce, Kathryn Garcia worked hard to change the system to recruit, promote and retain a diverse team that reflects New York City,” her marketing campaign spokeswoman, Annika Reno, informed The Post.
“The numbers speak for themselves; under Commissioner Garcia the number of chiefs of color nearly doubled to become a quarter of the department’s leadership. She also overhauled the department’s recruitment process to do more outreach to underrepresented communities and as a result more Black applicants took the last Sanitation exam than any other ethnic group,” Reno stated.
“As mayor, Kathryn will direct the City’s Office of Labor Relations to enter into negotiations with the SEA union to work toward equal pay,” Reno stated.