PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The state court system that administers the courts of common pleas has settled a pay equity case with two local women employees.

The women charged that they were paid less than a male co-worker doing the same work.

Equal pay for equal work seems pretty obvious.

“It was actually President Kennedy who signed the Equal Pay Act in 1963,” said Maggie Jensen, CEO of the YWCA of Greater Pittsburgh.

That was 52 years ago when women made, on average, 59 cents for every dollar a man made in the same job.

Despite some progress, Jenson told KDKA money editor Jon Delano that the last decade has not been good.

“In 2004 it increased to 77 cents, and we’ve been stalled at 77 cents for the last 11 years.”

That’s the background to a lawsuit brought by two female employees of the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas, Andrea Dodasovich and Christine McKelvey, who were paid $7,000 a year less than their male co-worker, says their attorney Scott Hare.

“Repeatedly the supervisor and others said it was well-deserved that they would have pay equal to the male worker,” said Hare. “Repeatedly they were told something would be done, but nothing ever was.”

Just before the trial began, the state court system agreed to pay the women the difference in wages from their male co-worker.

“They were made whole and then a little,” noted Hare.

But in a great irony, the women had to agree to keep their lower salary. Since their male co-worker is retiring, their employer will reclassify his job to the lower pay of the women.

Jensen says women employees need to speak up more.

“Men generally always negotiate when they take a job for their salary, and it’s rare that women do,” said Jensen.

That may be changing.

“Women in my age bracket, they don’t negotiate,” observed Jackie Leisie of Cranberry. “I would think younger women who have us behind them — I would hope they’re negotiating.”

To help women do just that, the local YWCA has a website – “Closing the Gap” – located at this link.

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