Austin leaders to consider action on income inequality

AUSTIN (KXAN) — In the midst of the Civil Rights Summit in Austin this week, Tuesday was “Equal Pay Day.” President Obama signed a pair of executive orders he says will boost equal pay efforts for women.

Locally, some leaders are wanting to take similar action.

A trio of Austin City Council members, including Laura Morrison, Bill Spelman and Mike Martinez, are sponsoring a resolution to look deeper into income inequality. They want to require companies that contract with the city to reveal how much they pay men and women.

That mirrors the two executive orders President Obama signed Tuesday.

“When woman succeed, America succeeds,” Obama said to applause at a White House ceremony Tuesday following the signing of the orders.

One order bans federal contractors from punishing employees who discuss their compensation. The other requires federal contractors to submit pay data to the labor department, including gender statistics.

That department says woman make 81 cents for every dollar men make. The president says it’s more extreme.

“Here’s the challenge: today, the average full-time working woman earns just 77 cents for every dollar a man earns. For African American woman and Latinas, it’s even less. In 2014, that’s an embarrassment. It’s wrong.

“And it’s not just an issue of fairness. It’s also a family issue and an economic issue, because women make up about half of our workforce,” the president added.

Some Republican leaders say Democrats aren’t respecting choices of women, saying consideration has to be given to the fact many women seek jobs that provide more flexibility for their families over more money.

Austin City Council will consider the resolution proposed the three members on April 17 at their regular meeting.

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