About the Committee
To gain equality and achieve their goals, women must work with and through their unions. History demonstrates that by organizing into unions, working people have achieved better wages, working conditions, benefits, job security, human rights and equity protection.
The OPSEU Constitution guarantees the foundation – a Provincial Women's Committee (PWC). Delegates in each region elect a representative to serve on this committee.
Each union local is also encouraged to set up an active women's committee (LWC). Its job is to highlight issues of particular concern to female OPSEU members.
For more tips on building a local women's committee, 10 things a local women's committee can do, PWC events and PWC key issues, download the Provincial Women's Commitee brochure 2015_pwc_brochure.pdf
The PWC is an advocate for women within the union, and especially at the local level. We often act as advisors, mediators and investigators under OPSEU’s Harassment and Discrimination Prevention policy. The PWC also initiates campaigns in the workplace and community for women's rights.
The PWC is also available to work with the bargaining teams on contract language regarding equity issues. Equality for women and other equity-seeking groups is a central thrust of all our work, both in the workplace and our communities.
Terms of Reference
Download the Provincial Women's Committee Terms of Referencepwc_terms_of_reference_-_approved_december_2015.pdf
Local Women's Committee
Listed below are seven things that a local women's committee can do:
- Inform members about OPSEU's policy against Harassment and Discrimination.
- Seek out sisters who will run as stewards and officers
- Identify and dissolve the barriers that block sisters from participating. This means everyone, including sisters of colour, First Nations sisters, lesbian sisters, disabled sisters and those with families.
- Work with the PWC rep in the region.
- Organize educationals at lunch or after work on issues like "bargaining for a family-friendly workplace" or health and safety.
- Support women in other workplaces and other unions.
- Develop strategies to encourage your community to support public services.
PWC Conference 2015: The F-Word-Reclaiming Feminism
Equal Pay Day and the Gender Wage Gap
Equal Pay Day marks how far into the next year a woman has to work, on average, to earn the same amount a man made in the previous year. This year, Equal Pay Day is April 19, 2016.
The Ontario gender wage gap is now 31.5 per cent – one of the biggest reported gaps in the world. This means that the average annual income of female workers in Ontario is 31.5 per cent less than the average annual income of male workers. Of particular concern is that racialized, First Nations, Metis and Inuit women, and women with disabilities are disproportionately impacted by the gender pay gap. Systemic discrimination is “built in” to the labour market.
Equal Pay Day is an international day of action. On Equal Pay Day, we will once again focus on the continued struggle for women’s equality and the push to end gender discrimination with respect to pay.More information about Equal Pay Day and the gender wage gap.
Every year, the OPSEU Provincial Women’s Committee joins equal pay coalitions and labour organizations around the world to mark Equal Pay Day and to take actions to close the gender pay gap.
Pay equity is the law in Ontario. The Ontario Human Rights Code prohibits discrimination of any sort based on gender. The continuation of lower pay to women who possess comparable skills and competences with men is therefore a denial of women’s basic human rights.
The Gender Wage Gap Strategy
For a few months now, the Gender Wage Gap Strategy Steering Committee has been consulting with Ontarians on how to close the pay gap between men and women. Co-sponsored by the Minister of Labour and the Minister Responsible for Women’s Issues, the committee has prepared consultation papers for individuals and organizations. They have also been holding town hall meetings across the province. Two meetings remain.
If you live in or near St. Catharines, plan to attend the town hall meeting on February 16. If you live in or near Brampton, there is a meeting on February 22. Town hall details and other information about the Gender Wage Gap Strategy
On January 15, 2016, OPSEU sent its written submission to the Gender Wage Gap Committee. Read it here.
For more information, read A Growing Concern: Ontario’s Gender Pay Gap
PWC Equal Pay Day Campaigns
OPSEU is therefore proud of the Provincial Women’s Committee’s (PWC) role and relentless push to advocate for women’s equality through Equal Pay for Equal Work Campaign. This is a PWC initiated grassroots campaign that this Committee is coordinating as one of the main highlighted events for the year.
As we continue to create awareness on the importance of Equal Pay Day in Canada, below are seven bulleted dates regarding the origin of this day for your further information.
- 1988: Red Purse’ US Equal Pay Day Campaign initiated by the U.S. Business Professional Women’s Clubs.
- 1996: U.S. National Committee on Pay Equity declared an Equal pay day.
- 1998: U.S. President Bill Clinton proclaimed Equal Pay Day
- 2008: Equal Pay Day brought to Europe by Germany
- 2009/2010: Equal Pay Day expanded throughout Europe
- 2010: E.U. organizes Equal Pay Day
- 2011: E.U. follows the calculator formula and organizes the first European Equal Pay Day on March 5th 2011.
Some Fun Facts
- The colour for Equal Pay Day is Red.
- On Equal Pay Day Women and supporting men wear Red.
- Red stands for the fact that women are “in the red” due to their underpayment.
- The Red Bag stands for red numbers in women’s pockets.
For more information, please visit the website links below.