As New York City paid tribute to the world champion U.S. Women's National Soccer Team on Wednesday, there were repeated calls for equal pay, since members of the women's team make less than their male counterparts.
And just before the parade, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed pay equity legislation, passed this year by the state legislature, requiring both the public and private sector to pay each gender the same in New York state.
"Equal pay for equal work. These women soccer players deserve every dollar that the men's soccer players receive," Cuomo said during the celebrations. "They are right, we stand with them in solidarity, and New York will once again lead the way."
But pay equity is not uniform in New York state, at least when it comes to the minimum wage. Here in the city, workers receive a $15 minimum wage unless an individual, such as waiters, bartenders, and car wash workers, earns tips.
Last month, the legislature passed a bill guaranteeing car wash workers the minimum wage in the city and in its immediate suburbs.
"The car washers were some of the most exploited people in New York City," Stuart Applebaum, the president of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU), said at a rally. "They worked hard, in all sorts of conditions, and yet their work was not being recognized."
Cuomo has not yet committed to signing the bill, but the sponsors say they've had no indication he will veto.
"Right now we feel really good, and all indications are that the governor understands the importance of this, and hopefully will support it," Marcos Crespo, a Democratic state Assemblyman representing parts of the Bronx, said at the RWDSU demonstration. "We expect that to happen as soon as possible."
Cuomo's labor department set up a second tier for tipped workers to receive the minimum wage, but, for many of those workers, that isn't enough and they feel the state must do more to bring them in line with other workers.
The sponsors of the car wash legislation say they plan on taking up other tipped worker rights in the next legislative session beginning in January.