By Kevin Litten | NOLA.com – The Times-Picayune
Mayor Mitch Landrieu is expected to announce an executive order on Wednesday (Jan. 25) that his office said is “aimed at bringing the city of New Orleans closer to equal pay for women.”
His office said the order will ban questions about salary history during the application and interview processes for city positions and request the Civil Service Commission conduct a pay disparity study among city employees. State Sen. Karen Carter Peterson and state Rep. Helena Moreno, both of whom represent New Orleans in the Legislature, are expected to attend a 2:30 p.m. news conference announcing the order.
The order comes on the heels of a year that state officials, including Gov. John Bel Edwards, were dealt a defeat in the Legislature on a separate equal pay measure. Edwards had made equal pay a top priority of his incoming administration, and his bill was sponsored by state Sen. J.P. Morrell, D-New Orleans.
Legislators have pointed to a 2014 study that showed the wage gap between male and female workers was the highest in Louisiana when compared with all other 49 states.
It ultimately passed the Senate but was defeated in a House committee. The legislation would have affected businesses statewide, while Landrieu’s power is far more limited. His executive order only extends to city employees.
Although the issue has faced opposition from Republicans in Louisiana and nationally, it’s found a champion in President Donald Trump’s daughter, Ivanka Trump. She made a push for equal pay during the GOP convention last year, saying her father “will fight for equal pay for equal work, and I will fight for this too, right alongside him,” Time Magazine reported.
The timing of the mayor’s executive order is also notable, coming just days after women’s marches were held across the nation. In New Orleans, Peterson and Moreno delivered speeches during the demonstrations, and were joined by City Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell.