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For Immediate Release: May 15, 2012 Contact: Gary Ginsburg | garykginsburg@gmail.

com | 518-817-6193

Senator Liz Krueger, Democratic Conference Hold Roundtable On Economic Issues Facing New York State Women Event Highlights Need for Bipartisan Legislative Action to Confront Inequality in the Workplace
(Albany, NY) The Senate Democratic Conference today held a roundtable discussion, hosted by Senator Liz Krueger, to discuss the challenges women face in the workplace. Experts and advocates joined Senator Krueger to discuss legislation sponsored by members of the Democratic Conference and designed to promote fairness and help stimulate and strengthen our states economic recovery. As our state continues its fiscal recovery, we must do everything within our power to strengthen our economy and put New Yorkers back to work. That is why it is astonishing that the Senate Republican Majority has refused to pass legislation ensuring that New Yorks women have equal opportunities to contribute in the state workforce, Conference Leader Senator John Sampson said. The national Republican partys radical anti-woman agenda has no place in New York, and I call on my Senate colleagues across the aisle to stand with us to advance New Yorkers rights, not restrict them. We showed up today ready to discuss any and all legislation to strengthen our economy and promote equality for women in the workplace, said Senator Krueger, ranking Democratic member of the Senates Finance Committee. Unfortunately, our Republican colleagues refused to come to the table and talk today, sticking with their obstruction of progress on crucial initiatives like fair pay, the minimum wage, and accommodations for pregnant workers. Legislation discussed at todays roundtable included Senate Bill S. 2200, the New York State Fair Pay Act, which would prohibit wage discrimination on the basis of sex, race and/or national origin. Despite existing federal and state antidiscrimination laws, unfair wage gaps between employees jobs that are the same or involve the same skills, effort, responsibility and working conditions. In addition, Senator Krueger and roundtable participants discussed many other bills designed to help women enter or remain in the workforce and achieve equal rights, equal opportunities, and fair pay. These bills included commonsense legislation such as S. 6273, which would require employers to provide reasonable accommodations for pregnant workers, thereby promoting healthier pregnancies and reducing the unnecessary displacement and turnover of pregnant

workers. This bill also includes occupational training programs which help women access higher-wage career paths. Commonsense legislation helping women enter and remain in the workplace will strengthen the foundation for New Yorks long-term economic prosperity by growing the workforce, ensuring more family-friendly workplaces, and providing funds for training opportunities. Todays roundtable discussion was part of the Democratic Conferences ongoing efforts to highlight issues facing New Yorks women that demand legislative action in Albany. The Conference will conduct two additional forums on pending legislation that has been introduced but has not yet been allowed to move to the Senate floor for a vote. Senator Ruth HassellThompson will host the next forum on Wednesday, May 30, which will be focused on providing necessary protections for victims of domestic violence. Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins will host the following forum on Tuesday, June 5, which will focus on pressing issues concerning womens health in New York State. Barb Thomas of the League of Women Voters of NYS and a Pay Equity Specialist and New York State Upstate Pay Equity Coordinator Lois Haignere said, After a generation of pushing for pay equity there is no excuse for the current disparity between mens wages and womens wages. We applaud the Senate Democrats for highlighting this issue and advocating for true equality in the workplace and end this injustice immediately. Dina Bakst, Co-Founder and Co-President of A Better Balance, said, Advocating for equality in the workplace should not be seen as a partisan issue. Women have a fundamental right to equal opportunity and fair pay and I thank the Senate Democrats for their leadership and advocacy on these issues. The bills which would help end this injustice must be brought to the Senate floor and deserve a vote. Michelle Caiola, Senior Staff Attorney for Legal Momentum, said, The proposed pregnancy accommodation legislation is particularly important for women working in low wage jobs that provide few benefits, and in jobs that are physically strenuous. In the last few years Legal Momentum has represented women who have lost income and other job benefits because the law as it exists lacks clarity and common sense provisions to address the realities of pregnancy.