City of Pittsburgh wouldn’t ask job seekers about salary history under new bill

It’s one way to close the wage gap for women and minorities, says its introducer, Councilman Dan Gilman.

Sarah Anne Hughes

The City of Pittsburgh wouldn’t ask job seekers about their salary history under a bill introduced this morning by Councilman Dan Gilman.

“Looking into a job applicant’s wage history perpetuates wage inequity for women and minorities. A salary offer should be based on the duties of the job and a candidate’s qualifications,” Gilman said in a release.

The bill would only apply to the city government, its agencies, departments and divisions. It “encourages private companies to create policies matching those of the City of Pittsburgh.”

As a second-class city, Pittsburgh’s elected officials are limited in their ability to dictate the actions of private businesses. A 2009 ruling by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court determined that the home rule law prohibits Pittsburgh from “regulating businesses by determining their ‘duties, responsibilities or requirements.'” That ruling has so far put the brakes on the city’s paid sick leave law.

Pittsburgh City Council will discuss and preliminarily vote on the salary history bill Wednesday, Jan. 18, and will take a final vote Tuesday, Jan. 24.

The gender wage gap in Pennsylvania is slightly worse than the national average. Women in the state are paid 79 cents for every dollar paid to men, according to an analysis by the National Partnership for Women & Families. “The wage gap can be larger for women of color,” the nonprofit wrote in a fact sheet. “Among Pennsylvania’s women who hold full-time, year-round jobs, African-American women are paid 68 cents, Latinas are paid 56 cents and Asian women are paid 81 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men.”

Gilman’s bill follows the approval of one by Councilwoman Natalia Rudiak that adopts the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women and creates a Gender Equity Commission “to study discrimination against all women, including intersectional discrimination and including trans women, and to identify gender equity problems in the City of Pittsburgh.”

At today’s regular meeting, council also voted 8-0 to approve a plan to send 13 police officers and two supervisors to assist with the inauguration of Donald Trump.