Equal Pay Day in Rochester

Originally published on April 4, 2017 4:45 pm

Tuesday, April 4th marked Equal Pay Day, with protests about the pay gap that still exists between women and men.

Women made about 80 cents for every dollar men earned in 2015, according to U.S. government data.  

Members of the Rochester Chapter of the National Organization Women marked the day by holding a protest at three area coffee houses, including Coffee Connection on South Avenue.

Jaclyn Richard is president of the local NOW chapter.

"It takes all of 2016 until April 4th of this year for women on the average to get paid the same as men." she said.

Richard says equal pay isn't just about more money for women.

"This is really not just a woman's issue, it's a family issue.  More and more women with children are under the poverty level because they can't take care of their family and they're not getting enough support. So, it's taking care of the children, too," she said.

In addition to the protests, Coffee Connection and two other shops were giving women a 20 percent discount on coffee on Tuesday.

Coffee Connection executive director Joy Bergfalk says the idea received plenty of support, but a lot of flak from people, too.

"Oh I got one this morning that said 'what are you seven years old?' No I said I'm 60.  And of course that it's blatant discrimination. We did have someone calling us repeatedly yesterday harassing us," she said.

Rochester City Councilwoman Carolee Conklin was picking up some coffee, and joined the protest to call for fair wages.

"I work for government, it's one of the few employers that pays people for the job, not the sex.  But I think it's an important thing we really have to get for all women," she said.

Rochester NOW, also co-hosted an Equal Pay Day Panel Discussion at the U of R on Tuesday, sponsored by the U of R's Susan B. Anthony Center, and other organizations.

Here's Jaclyn Richard of the Rochester chapter of NOW, explaining how it takes women until April 4th of the following year for them to make the same amount of money that men make in a year:

Rochester City Councilmember Carolee Conklin joined the protest in front of Coffee Connection: