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Cheh urges PEPCO to adopt domestic partner benefits
February 23, 2007
Mr. Thomas Graham
PEPCO Region President
701 9th Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20068
Dear Mr. Graham:
I write regarding testimony provided by the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance (GLAA) of Washington, D.C., during a hearing that I held on Wednesday, February 21, 2007, on Mayor Fenty’s nomination of Betty Ann Kane to serve on the Public Service Commission.
Craig Howell, who spoke on behalf of GLAA, stated that Washington Gas Light and PEPCO, “are among only a handful of local firms ranked in the Fortune 500 that do not offer (domestic partner health insurance coverage). They both refused to remedy the problem. We believe such stubbornness violated these companies’ own stated commitment not to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation and is incompatible with the District’s very clear public policy in favor of ‘equal pay for equal work.’” I have enclosed a copy of Mr. Howell’s testimony.
I agree that this is a serious issue concerning equal pay for equal work. It has been estimated that almost 40 percent of an employee’s total compensation package is provided through fringe benefits. Therefore, I urge PEPCO to provide health insurance benefits so that domestic partners have the same benefits that married couples receive. With many domestic-partner benefit programs now in place for as long as 15 years, there is ample evidence to suggest that these programs have low costs (often in the 1 percent to 2 percent range) but reflect a major step toward fairness and equality. As domestic-partner programs have become well established, the number of insurance carriers offering these benefits has also grown.
Please let me know of PEPCO’s intentions regarding this matter, and thank you for your consideration.
Mary M. Cheh
Committee on Public Services and Consumer Affairs