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January 25, 2011 > Justice for everyone

Justice for everyone

Today, it's about justice for everyone. It's about who we are at Ohlone College... "A world of cultures united in learning." And on this wonderful day, we're a step closer to both of these things. The discussion regarding Ohlone College CEO's salary is a topic that is not about the budget and salaries, it is a matter of principle... equal pay for equal work. It's the story of women across this country still earning 78 cents for every dollar men earn - women of color even less. This means that today, in the year 2011, countless women are still losing thousands of dollars in salary, income, and retirement savings over the course of a lifetime.

Equal pay is by no means just a women's issue - it's a family affair. It's about parents who find themselves with less money for tuition and childcare. Families where one breadwinner is paid less than she deserves is the difference between buying a house or car - or not. The last thing that all of us can afford is to lose part of each month's paycheck to discrimination.

President Obama signed into legislation the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 which will make it easier for women to get the pay they deserve regardless of their gender, race, or age... equal pay for an equal day's work. This legislation helps restore protection against pay discrimination for women. In addition, the President has formed a National Task Force and National Council on Women and Girls to focus on these issues and others that impact them.

For my two children - a son and a daughter - and all those who will come after us, I want to set an example. I want them to grow up in a nation that values their contributions, where there are no limits to their dreams and opportunities their mothers and grandmothers were denied. In summary, the issue is injustice and inequality in an economically difficult time.

Equal pay for equal work - that's what Ohlone College is all about. I am not asking for special favors or exceptions, just equality for hard work done and proven by performance, deliverables and accountability. Our CEO is paid less than all other CEOs in the Bay Area. Increasing her salary elevates it to the average. Now is the time to do the right thing. Now is the time to correct this injustice.

Thank you.

This is an edited version of a personal statement made by Ohlone College Board Trustee Teresa Cox at Ohlone College Board meeting January 12, 2011

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