Mayor of Keene dismisses equal pay from local issues

The Mayor of Keene, Kendall W. Lane, declined to sign a proclamation declaring April 8 Equal Pay Day in the City of Keene. Lane has stuck his head in the sand on this national issue.

According to an article by Alyssa Dandrea in the Keene Sentinel, representatives from the Keene chapter of the American Association of University Women asked Mayor Lane for his signature to make this a recognized holiday.

Lane told the Keene Sentinel, “I’m not going to get involved in national issues. I’m the mayor of the city of Keene, not the President of the United States.”

Erin D’Aleo / Graphics Editor

Erin D’Aleo / Graphics Editor

We question why Lane is implying that equal wages are not a local problem — we think the exact opposite.

The public should be aware that not only is equal pay a national issue, but a local one as well. Anyone anywhere could be confronted with this type of inequality.

It is important for the public to understand why April 8 is considered Equal Pay Day by many. According to the National Committee on Pay Equity, April 8 marks the timeframe it takes an average woman to catch up to wages a man earned the previous year.

We can not assume that women and men in the Keene community are receiving a fair and equal wage, as we can’t be sure it is the same for the state of New Hampshire.

New Hampshire recently passed House Bill 1188, an act to paycheck equity which will take effect January 1, 2015.

According to House Bill 1188, “No employer, employment agency, labor organization, or person seeking employees may discriminate between employees on the basis of sex by paying employees of one sex at a rate less than the rate paid to employees of the other sex for equal work that requires equal skill, effort, and responsibility and is performed under similar working conditions. No employer who is paying wages in violation of this section shall reduce the wage rate of any employee in order to comply with this section.”

Struggle with equality in the workplace is not a new or foreign issue. Not only is Mayor Kendall’s response to the Equal Pay Day proclamation unwarranted, but it is also inconsiderate. The state and nation level put forth efforts just this year to ensure equal pay and this is how he follows.

Although we do not know his intentions, the comments made by the mayor leave us concerned for those experiencing economic disparities and injustice locally.

“We only do proclamations for local issues. Once we start doing them beyond that, there’s thousands of national issues we could do proclamations for,” Lane told the Keene Sentinel.

In a press release by Keene State College’s Feminist Collective, the group tried to raise awareness on campus by holding a bake sale on April 8, where female students paid 75 cents for a cupcake and male students paid a dollar. Their intention was to represent the gap between wages. We applaud KSC students who recognize inequality in the workplace after graduation.

According to the website,, for every dollar men earn, women make 77 cents. The 23-cent difference adds up to thousands of dollars worth of wages women miss out on.

Gender, class, race and sexual orientation do not affect performance, therefore, the wage one receives should be equal. This is a serious issue not just for women — but for all — both locally and nationally. The Equinox believes Lane really missed the mark when he stated he thought otherwise.

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