Cuomo Celebrates Women’s World Cup Victory By Signing Equal Pay Law

July 10, 2019 by Dan McCue
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo celebrated the World Cup champion U.S. women's national soccer team Wednesday by signing legislation guaranteeing women equal pay for equal work in New York State. (Photo via Governor Cuomo's Twitter feed)

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo celebrated the World Cup champion U.S. women’s national soccer team Wednesday by signing legislation guaranteeing women equal pay for equal work in New York State moments before the star athletes were honored with a ticker-tape parade in New York City’s Canyon of Heroes.

“I’m going to sign a law today that says it’s not just the right thing to do, it’s not just the moral thing to do, it is now the law in the state of New York,” Cuomo said moments before the ticker-tape parade was to begin Wednesday morning.

“There is no rationale why women should not get paid what men get paid,” he said during the signing at the Battery. “It is immoral. It is unethical. New York is going to lead the way and we say to the U.S. Soccer League, and we say to FIFA, if you don’t pay women what you pay men, then you have no business in the state of New York.”

The women’s soccer team has been vocal about the fight for equal pay for some time.

The team filed a wage discrimination lawsuit against U.S. Soccer in March, demanding pay equity with the men’s soccer team.

When U.S. Soccer stood firm on the topic, players said they looked “forward to a trial next year.”

On Wednesday U.S. Soccer Federation President Carlos Cordeiro tried to strike a conciliatory note, telling a large crowd gathered outside New York City that female athletes “deserve fair and equitable pay.”

As Cordeiro spoke, fans of the team chanted “Equal pay!”

“We hear you, we believe in you, and we’re committed to doing right by you,” he said in response.

On Tuesday, Senator Joe Manchin, D-West Virginia,  introduced legislation that would halt funding for the 2026 World Cup until the women’s team received equal pay.

The law signed by Cuomo in New York, is actually a combination of two bills originally sponsored by state Senator Alessandra Biaggi, a Democrat from the Bronx, and Senator David Carlucci, a Democrat from Westchester.

The law requires “equal pay for substantially similar work” and prohibits employers paying people differently based on their gender identity, race, sexual orientation, or other protected class.

It also closes loopholes that allow gender discrimination in pay for the same jobs and also reportedly bans prospective employers from asking about a potential hire’s salary history, a practice known to exacerbate pay inequity.

“You should get paid the same amount whatever the job is,” Cuomo said as members of the women’s soccer team gathered around him at a press conference. “These are women’s soccer players. They play the same game that the men’s soccer players play. By the way, they play it better.”

Cuomo and the team then passed around a sign that read, “Parades are cool. Equal pay is cooler.”

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