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Custodian was a pioneer in equal pay for women

August 12, 2009
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CASTRO VALLEY, CA — A longtime veteran custodian at Canyon Middle School recently retired, but not before leaving behind a noteworthy legacy, according to the Castro Valley Forum.
Irene Malone, who first began working at the school as a substitute custodian in the late 1970s, was dissatisfied with not earning the same salary as her male counterparts who were performing the same duties, the story stated.
Malone, a trailblazer in the equal pay for women battle, contacted union representatives and after a yearlong dispute successfully persuaded Castro Valley Unified School District officials to balance the gender pay scale, the story noted.
Malone said: "The district wanted me to do the same custodial work but didn’t want to pay me the same. I was doing heavy lifting and cleaning, working right along with the men, and I figured since we were all doing the same work we should be getting the same pay. The difference between men and women custodians’ pay in 1977 was as much as $1.20 per hour."
After three decades of keeping the school clean and orderly, Malone is excited to retire and do the things she’s always wanted to do for the past three decades, simple things like gardening, sewing, crocheting and spending time with her children and grandchildren, the story added.
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