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OPSEU members out in full force for Equal Pay Day

Pay Equity Now: 30 years and still waiting
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OPSEU members in developmental services came out in full force Tuesday for the Equal Pay Day rally at Queen’s Park.

Members helped lead leafleting action on all four corners of University Ave. and College St. OPSEU Region 3 Vice-President Sara Labelle, Developmental Services sector chair Erin Smith-Rice, and Indigenous mobilizer Crystal Sinclair all delivered rousing speeches to the crowd.

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OPSEU members, joined by OPSEU Executive Board Member Ken Maclam (back right) at the Equal Pay Day rally.

Following the rally, meetings took place with MPPs Lisa Gretzky, critic for Community and Social Services; Monique Taylor, critic for Children and Youth Services; and Peggy Sattler, critic for Women’s Issues. Erin Smith-Rice, along with members of the Equal Pay Coalition, also met with the Minister of Labour Kevin Flynn.

“The success of the day will be measured in what action follows it,” said Smith-Rice. “I’m proud of the members who came out, and brought key issues facing women workers to Ontario’s political leaders. As Sara Labelle said, ‘the glass ceiling won’t be broken by one woman rising; it takes all of us together.’ 

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OPSEU Region 3 Vice-President Sara Labelle talks about how she's "seeing red" over the gender wage gap in Ontario.

 “Actions like the Equal Pay Day events, and the continuing mobilization of women all over Ontario, is how we will achieve economic justice. The gender wage gap is a human rights crisis – especially for racialized and Indigenous women, who face greater wage gaps. It’s high time everyone recognizes that, and joins the movement to end it.”

OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas thanked members for their efforts Tuesday. “My members are not only fighting for justice for themselves; they’re fighting to win it for all women. As the leader of a union that’s two-thirds female, I extend my sincerest gratitude.”

See Sara Labelle and Erin Smith-Rice speak at the rally by clicking here

For more pictures, see below.

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Stephen Woods, OPSEU Local 448, poses with the Equal Pay Coalition sign.

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The rally drew a large crowd of activists from a number of unions and organizations. 

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(Left to right) OPSEU Indigenous mobilizer Crystal Sinclair stands with Region 5 Vice-President Myles Magner, Equal Pay Coalition co-chair Fay Faraday (centre), and other labour activists.

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Developmental services chair Erin Smith-Rice draws attention to the pay equity battles raging on in her sector.

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Crystal Sinclair talks of how the wage gap impacts Indigenous women, and how closely tied economic justice is with environemtnal justice.

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MPP Peggy Sattler talks of the need for legislative change, and for the government to embrace the Equal Pay Coalition's '12 steps to closing the gender pay gap.'

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Equal Pay Coalition co-chairs Fay Faraday (left) and Janet Borowy emcee the rally.

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Myles Magner chats with Crystal Sinclair.

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Members of OPSEU's developmental services sector pose with their signs.

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Sara Labelle is interviewed by City TV following her speech at the rally.