Toronto – It should be just as easy for a woman to join a union as it is for a man, the President of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union said today.
“Under Ontario law, the only workers who can unionize using the fastest and fairest method are the workers in the most male-dominated sector of the economy,” Warren (Smokey) Thomas said. “Construction workers, 88 per cent of whom are male, can use the ‘card-check’ method to organize, but everyone else has to use a far more onerous process.
“To mark Equal Pay Day, I’m calling on Premier Kathleen Wynne to recognize that the best way to reduce the gender wage gap is to help women unionize, and that means allowing all workers to use card-check certification,” he said. “What’s good for the gander is good for the goose.”
With card-check certification, workers can certify a union in their workplace when they demonstrate that a majority have signed union application cards. Most Ontario workers are required to follow a different process involving card-signing plus a vote. The public process of the vote opens the door to employer involvement, which has been known to include harassment and intimidation of potential union supporters.
OPSEU President Thomas said the union was studying its legal options with respect to the pro-male bias of the Ontario Labour Relations Act.
“The Ontario Human Rights Code and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms make it clear that gender discrimination is both illegal and contrary to Canadian values,” Thomas said. “I can’t see any reason why we should tolerate a labour law that is so blatantly skewed in favour of the most male-dominated sector of our economy.”
For more information: Warren (Smokey) Thomas, 613-329-1931