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School crossing guards plan pay-disparity lawsuit

Published: October 27, 2014

Publication: NY Post

By Carl Campanile

The union representing New York’s 2,000 mostly female school crossing guards plans to sue the city for discrimination, citing pay disparity with NYPD traffic-enforcement cops, The Post has learned.

The federal lawsuit will argue that crossing guards are paid $4 less per hour than the city’s primarily male traffic-enforcement agents for comparable work, which they argue violates the federal Equal Pay Act and the city Human Rights Law.

Both traffic-enforcement agents and school crossing guards work for the NYPD. Traffic-enforcement agents are full time workers, while crossing guards are part-time, typically 25 hours per week.

“This lawsuit is our first step to raise the pay of thousands of public-school and NYPD employees who don’t make $15 per hour, and don’t work a 40-hour week. Fighting inequality must start with the city’s own employees,” said Local 372 president Shaun Francois, who represents crossing guards and other school support workers.

Traffic-enforcement agents make $17.40 an hour.

Local 372, part of District Council 37, has a new contract through 2016.

Under the prior contract, crossing guards made $10.26 to $13.43 per hour, depending on when they were hired. The top crossing-guard salary will jump to $14.30 in 2016.

“School crossing guards are largely women and are limited to 25 hours per week. They suffer not only from a pay rate which the city won’t allow contractors to pay, they get treated worse than the largely male traffic cops simply because they are female,” said Local 372 lawyer Arthur Schwartz. “It is a vestige of past discriminatory practices that Mayor de Blasio has to address.”

One veteran crossing guard said enough is enough.

“We have crossing guards who get hit by cars to keep kids safe. We navigate potholes and breathe in fumes that make us sick. We should be considered equal to the traffic agents,” she said.

City Hall downplayed the dispute.

“We’re proud to have negotiated a fair contract with DC37 that respects our workforce and protects taxpayers,” said de Blasio spokesman Wiley Norvell.

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