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OPSEU pay equity win benefits lowest paid Public Health Ontario employees

Pay Equity Now: 30 years and still waiting
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A successful pay equity challenge by the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) has resulted in significant payments for approximately 180 of the lowest paid workers at Public Health Ontario.

OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas explained that this was a significant win for closing the gender wage gap. “We have put money into the pockets of workers in many of the lowest paid female job classes at Public Health Ontario. This is exactly what pay equity negotiations are supposed to do: Rectify the imbalance and ensure fair wages for all workers.”

It is unfortunately still common that women receive less than men for comparable work. Census data show that in 2015, women earned less than men at every level of education in all provinces and territories, except Nunavut.

The purpose of pay equity legislation is to improve fairness of wages for female workers. This is done by identifying male job comparators for female job counterparts, and then negotiating with the employer for fair compensation.

OPSEU went to the Pay Equity Commission in 2016 and successfully challenged the pay equity plan created by Public Health Ontario. The union fought hard to get a seat at the table and was able to negotiate revisions included in a new pay equity agreement which was signed on March 26, 2018. The jobs that are improved by this agreement include the lowest paid female job classes in the establishment which perform stereotypical female work.

President Thomas thanked the union team for their hard work and dedication throughout the process: “I especially want to recognize the union’s Pay Equity Team, who were essential to the success of this agreement.”

Thomas emphasized that the union remains steadfast in its commitment to evaluating workplace pay equity throughout OPSEU’s membership. “We will continue to negotiate and enforce pay equity plans, so that women working in Ontario are fairly compensated for their labour. It’s the right thing to do.”

For more information: 
Warren (Smokey) Thomas, OPSEU President: 613-329-1931