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Members rally for women’s wages

We the North
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A boisterous throng of OPSEU members and friends had a message for Kathleen Wynne this week: Fix the gender wage gap.

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Local 586 President Jessika Sikora turned up the volume on gender wage parity. Ontario’s wage gap is 31 per cent – and even higher for Indigenous women, racialized women and women with disabilities.

On March 7, members rallied outside the Toronto Reference Library to take the Premier to task for pushing down women’s wages relative to men’s. Wynne was speaking there to mark International Women’s Day.

“Kathleen Wynne says she wants to fix the gender wage gap,” OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas said. “But in reality, she’s done everything she can to drive down the wages of over half a million women who work in the Ontario public sector. “That’s making the wage gap worse, not better.”

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Warren (Smokey) Thomas said Premier Kathleen Wynne is making the wage gap worse.

At the rally, members talked to passers-by and women waiting in line to hear the Premier, and a number of OPSEU women went in as well. Among them were Sara Labelle, Region 3 Vice-President, and Laura Thompson, Vice‑Chair of the Provincial Women’s Committee.

Questioned by Labelle on government cost-cutting that has hit women harder than men, the Premier responded vaguely, alluding to spending increases in certain areas. In response to a question from Thompson on a timeline for narrowing the wage gap, the Premier hesitated at first, then said that something would be forthcoming “in the spring.”

OPSEU radio ads on the gender wage gap continue to air on radio stations across the province. See OPSEU’s gender wage gap webpage for more information.

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OPSEU Region 3 Vice-President Sara Labelle minds the gender wage gap – and we’ve got the picture to prove it.

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Giant puppets demand gender wage parity.

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"Right now, women’s salaries are so low, single women can’t survive on their own,” said Local 528 President Pamela Serrattan.

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“Kathleen Wynne needs to understand single women can’t afford child care or housing on their salaries,” said Local 502 Unit Steward Carole Auguste.