April 7, 2015
To the Editor:
Regarding “Longtime Nursing Pay Gap Hasn’t Budged, Study Says” (March 25): While it is not surprising that female nurses make significantly less than their male counterparts nationally, there was what I assume to be an unintentional inference that unions are complicit with the current wage disparity. An interviewee implied that she must have experienced the gender pay gap in both union and non-union hospitals, leaving the reader to assume by context that labor unions participate in wage inequality.
Nothing could be further from the truth. Union contracts set the rate of pay based on experience and education. Every new hire with the same credentials starts at the same rate of pay with the same step increases. Hospital administrators cannot negotiate a higher or lower salary beyond the proscribed formulas stated in the bargaining contract; doing otherwise would be grounds for filing a grievance and an unfair labor practice complaint.
Women as a whole make less than men, women of color even less. In an environment where unions are under attack in this country, the union contract is perhaps the greatest protection from such blatant wage discrimination.