Jim Johnson Challenges the Sincerity of Phil Murphy’s Women’s Economic Agenda

Jim Johnson Challenges the Sincerity of Phil Murphy’s Women’s Economic Agenda

Questions Phil Murphy’s Commitment to Equal Pay After Decades of Serving as a Senior Executive at Goldman Sachs

Today, Democratic gubernatorial candidate and former Undersecretary of the Treasury Jim Johnson challenged the sincerity of his opponent and former Goldman Sachs executive Phil Murphy’s recently unveiled “Women’s Economic Agenda.” Johnson questioned the timing of Murphy’s support for equal pay now that he is running for Governor, after serving as a senior executive at Goldman Sachs — a company with an extensive history of paying women less than men.

“It is time for us to end the discrimination that women, mothers, and particularly women of color face each day in New Jersey and our nation. But for Phil Murphy to unveil a ‘Women’s Economic Agenda’ without mentioning the abuses by his former employer, Goldman Sachs, is disingenuous and suspicious,” said Johnson. “It is convenient that Phil Murphy supports equal pay now that he is running for Governor, but what did he do to stop the discriminatory practices while employed at Goldman Sachs?”

Goldman Sachs and Wall Street are known for their pay disparity, much of which has come to light in recent years, but the behavior has stretched back decades.  As of 2014, the wage gap at Goldman Sachs was 21%.

  • March 2017: Activist Shareholder Persuades Goldman To “Take Proactive” Steps To Address Pay Inequity In The Company. According to Bloomberg, “An activist shareholder says it has persuaded Goldman Sachs, BNY Mellon and three telecommunications companies to “take proactive steps” to address the disparities in men’s and women’s compensation, avoiding a shareholder vote on the issue. Pax World Management, which oversees about $4.1 billion, had filed proposals asking the two banks, along with Verizon, AT&T and Qualcomm, to disclose what’s known as pay-gap data and to work toward parity. Pax withdrew the proposals after all five agreed to take steps to address pay inequities, though none committed to the specific requests to make public the data or to close the gaps.” [Bloomberg, 3/23/17]
  • March 2017: Goldman Agreed To Increase Disclosures Of Gender Pay Gaps. According to Bloomberg, “Following Pax’s proposals, three of the companies — Bank of New York Mellon Corp., Verizon Communications Inc. and Qualcomm Inc. — released statements outlining their commitments to pay parity and explaining how they will monitor it. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. agreed to enhance pay equity disclosures in a report this spring, Smith said.” [Bloomberg, 3/23/17]
  • March 2017: Finance Industry Has “One Of The Largest Pay Disparities.” According to Bloomberg, “The finance industry also has one of the largest pay disparities, according to a survey by job site Glassdoor.com. Men who work at financial services firms on average earn 6.4 percent more than women, after controlling for job title and responsibilities. The gap at technology companies, for example, is 5.9 percent.” [Bloomberg, 3/23/17]
  • December 2016: Activist Investors Target Goldman Sachs “Boys Club” Of Pay Inequity. According to Fortune, “A group of investors are targeting the nation’s largest banks, pushing for a break up of Wall Street’s boy’s club. Pax World Management, Arjuna Capital, and Trillium Asset Management are asking several financial giants including Goldman Sachs (GS, -0.38%), Citigroup (C, -0.05%), Bank of America (BAC, -0.51%), and Wells Fargo (WFC, -0.52%) to disclose their pay data for men and women, Bloomberg reported. The investors, who have made headway on pay disparity with tech giants including Amazon and Apple, are trying to do the same in the finance sector.” [Fortune, 12/6/16]
  • April 2015: Goldman Forced To Settle U.K. Gender Wage Discrimination Lawsuit. According to Bloomberg, “Goldman Sachs Group Inc. settled a discrimination lawsuit hours before testimony from an analyst who’d claimed she’d been deprived of pay, bonuses and a promotion because of her gender. Sonia Pereiro-Mendez, an executive director at the bank, agreed to end the case, Richard Leiper, her lawyer, said at a London court on Tuesday. He declined to give any details. […] Goldman Sachs has been accused of having a “boys club” working culture in a separate U.S. lawsuit by two women trying to start a class action. The New York-based bank denied discrimination in the U.S. case and said it fosters diversity, at an October court hearing.” [Bloomberg, 4/21/15]
  • July 2014: Lawsuit, Which Covered Decades of Discriminatory Behavior, Alleged Goldman Sachs Typically Paid Women 21 Percent Less. According to Bloomberg, “Cristina Chen-Oster, a former Goldman vice president, and Shanna Orlich, a former associate, filed suit against the company in 2010, accusing it of discrimination against female employees in areas from compensation to work assignments and advancement. They alleged that the company routinely paid female employees up to 21 percent less than their male counterparts; that women were promoted more slowly and more reluctantly than men; and that the environment was generally hostile to women. Not surprisingly, strip clubs are mentioned multiple times. The women and their attorneys spent four years gathering evidence in a rather devastating dossier if their findings are taken at face value.” [Bloomberg, 7/2/14]

Johnson has long been an advocate for civil rights and women’s rights. In 1982, Johnson worked on Brenda Berkman’s lawsuit against New York City, which resulted in the first woman being hired by the New York City Fire Department. Last June, Jim traveled to Washington D.C. alongside his wife Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights, to lobby members of the New Jersey Congressional Delegation to cosponsor the Women Health Protection Act. To date, over half of the Johnson campaign senior leadership are women, including his campaign manager, Jocelyn Steinberg.

“Women in New Jersey deserve a Governor who will actually fight for their rights– not one who uses them as political pawns. While in leadership at Goldman Sachs, Murphy’s record proves that he has no interest in actually doing anything that will actually improve the lives of women in New Jersey. As Governor, I’ll restore funding to Planned Parenthood, sign equal pay legislation, put in place policy that supports working mothers, and place women in leadership roles in the State House.  Women don’t need a separate agenda– they need a Governor who will include them in every decision he or she makes so that all New Jerseyans, and all women, can lead full and healthy lives.”

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