Monday, June 30, 2008

McCain Treats Female Staffers More Equally Than Obama

For many weeks now, female supporters of Sen. Hillary Clinton have maintained that Sen. Barack Obama is a sexist who repeatedly disparaged Sen. Clinton based on her sex. An analysis of the employment practices of both Sen. Obama and his Republican opponent, Sen. John McCain, shows that women on Obama's staff are paid less than their male counterparts, whereas Sen. McCain paid female staffers slightly more than their male counterparts on average. According to the analysis prepared by Cybercast News Service, women on Obama's staff earn about $6,000 less than their male counterparts on average. By contrast, McCain pays women on his staff about $2,500 more on average than their male counterparts. Here are the numbers:

On average, women working in Obama's Senate office were paid at least $6,000 below the average man working for the Illinois senator. That's according to data calculated from the Report of the Secretary of the Senate, which covered the six-month period ending Sept. 30, 2007. Of the five people in Obama's Senate office who were paid $100,000 or more on an annual basis, only one -- Obama's administrative manager -- was a woman.

The average pay for the 33 men on Obama's staff (who earned more than $23,000, the lowest annual salary paid for non-intern employees) was $59,207. The average pay for the 31 women on Obama's staff who earned more than $23,000 per year was $48,729.91. (The average pay for all 36 male employees on Obama's staff was $55,962; and the average pay for all 31 female employees was $48,729. The report indicated that Obama had only one paid intern during the period, who was a male.)

McCain, an Arizona senator, employed a total of 69 people during the reporting period ending in the fall of 2007, but 23 of them were interns. Of his non-intern employees, 30 were women and 16 were men. After excluding interns, the average pay for the 30 women on McCain's staff was $59,104.51. The 16 non-intern males in McCain's office, by comparison, were paid an average of $56,628.83.

CNS News' Fred Lucas points to the hypocrisy in a recent speech by Sen. Obama wherein he criticized Sen. McCain for not supporting equal pay for women. Sen. Obama said:

"Mr. McCain is an honorable man, we respect his service. But when you look at our records and our plans on issues that matter to working women, the choice could not be clearer," Obama told the audience in New Mexico, a voter-swing state. "It starts with equal pay. Sixty-two percent of working women in America earn half or more than of their family's income. But women still earn 77 cents for every dollar earned by men in 2008. You'd think that Washington would be united it its determination to fight for equal pay."

He continued, saying that he is proud to have supported the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration Act, which would extend the limit on how long an employee can wait before suing an employer for pay discrimination . . .

"Sen. McCain thinks the Supreme Court got it right," Obama said. "He opposed the Fair Pay Restoration Act. He suggested that the reason women don't have equal pay isn't discrimination on the job - it's because they need more education and training. That's just totally wrong."

Obama tries to make it seem like McCain opposes equal pay for women. The question in the Ledbetter case is what the appropriate statute of limitations should be for such claims. The Supreme Court's ruling, setting the time period for filing an equal wage complaint at 180 days, is based on the same time period for filing other claims under the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Obama wants to extend the time period for these claims beyond that provided for other civil rights claims. McCain thinks the current law is sufficient. In practice though, it is clear that Sen. McCain treats women who work for him more fairly than Sen. Obama treats women who work on his staff--at least in terms of pay.

Cybercast News service sought comment from the Obama campaign through the submission of written questions. The Obama campaign did not respond.


Anonymous said...

Question that is conveniently not covered: Is the disparity in wages between men and women's pay in Obama's office having anything to do with the fact that they are not of similar position? I did not see this in your reporting and I think it is important to know in order to properly analyze your claims. It would appear that way since, according to your reporting, there is at least one women making over $100,000. Just some thoughts your readers might want to consider.

Gary R. Welsh said...

As the news report indicates, Josh, Obama's campaign was affored an opportunity to respond to written questions. It chose not to respond. That is very telling.

Chris Worden said...

I think Obama's failure to respond "tells" only that Obama doesn't respond to every critical story. Were he to do so, he'd do nothing else but respond to Advance Indiana.

I've always been suspicious of these wage studies. Even if you have the same job title, you don't always have the same experience. If you want "clean" studies, show me new hires fresh out of college with identical job titles and duties. Show me that Obama pays the male legislative aides fresh from college more than the women, and then I'll go, "Hmmmm!"

I haven't confirmed this, so take it with a grain of salt, but an AZ atty friend of mine (R) says that McCain has had some of his female staff a lot longer than the men.

georgie said...

If it isn't a critical story, one would think the Obama campaign wouldn't make an issue of the gender issue in the first place. The fact that McCain has had women on his staff longer could also indicate greater female turnover on Obama's staff, if you would like to look at factors...