Wednesday Dec. 10, is the 64th anniversary of the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We pay tribute to Article 23 (2) of the declaration which states: “Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work.”
While considerable progress has been made over six decades to achieve this goal, the reality remains that we have a long distance to travel before equal pay for equal work is fully realized by all peoples around the globe.
Sadly, even in a country like Canada and in a province like Ontario, those words fall short of matching deed.
Those of us who work at the LCBO know only too well that the UN’s declaration has little currency in our day-to-day workplace reality. With its multi-tier wage structure the LCBO should be ashamed of itself for not demonstrating good corporate social responsibility on the issue of inequality in the workplace..
That’s why our union, OPSEU, took this issue to the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario 18 months ago. It’s been a slow process to date but we will begin to see action in 2015. In February our application will go to a preliminary hearing and in July, 2015, we expect the case to go to a full hearing.
Liquor board employees’ chair, Denise Davis, said this week’s anniversary of the UN declaration on human rights also serves to draw attention to other forms of discrimination at the LCBO.
“Wage discrimination is well-known by our members, but it’s not the only way employees are treated differently from one another” she said. “At the LCBO retail casuals – a group in which women predominate – have inferior benefits compared to male-dominated groups; less job security and weaker guarantees of hours of work. They have to work years longer to reach the top of their pay grid or get a permanent job.”
OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas said he is anxiously looking forward to the union’s day before the human rights tribunal.
“I’m proud of the fact that more than 1,400 liquor board employees have signed on to our application,” said OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas. “That number amounts to more than 20 per cent of all unionized LCBO workers. That should send a pretty powerful message to the corporation that their own employees are dissatisfied with a discredited wage grid more reminiscent of the early 1900s.”
On the occasion of the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights please send this message to friends and colleagues and post to Facebook and Twitter. The more people who learn that discriminatory wages are still a fact of life in Ontario the sooner change will arrive.