OPSEU Celebrates International Women’s Day
A message from OPSEU’s President and First Vice-President/Treasurer:
On this International Women’s Day we honour all women both inside and outside of OPSEU – including women in the province of Ontario, across Canada, and around the world for the endless contributions they make to their workplaces, families, and to their communities. Women move mountains and we see this every day in the work our sisters do as members of OPSEU and as OPSEU staff. Thank you to the women in leadership roles who been instrumental in making OPSEU relevant, progressive, and a force to be reckoned with. We have been greatly inspired by you during these past decades as you have broken down barriers in Canadian workplaces. We have stood with you during those years and will continue to pledge our unwavering support in surmounting the obstacles that lie ahead. We all face a Premier and a Conservative government that looks to turn back the clock on the many victories you have won. OPSEU won’t let that happen because we know that policies that cater to the interests of big business at the expense of women are wrong. Common sense tells us that good jobs for women mean good jobs and a better economy for us all. To us, every day is International Women’s Day because we fight for women’s rights 365 days a year. There is so much more work to do, and we promise to do that work together with you.
Warren (Smokey) Thomas
Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida
A message from OPSEU’s Provincial Women’s Committee (PWC):
A few days ago, the Ford government announced it would gather feedback on legislation aimed at eliminating the gender pay gap, including asking businesses how onerous pay transparency reporting would be.
Last year, the Ford government stalled implementation of legislation that aimed to increase pay transparency in Ontario. The legislation that was set to take effect on January 1, 2019 is now delayed indefinitely.
The Pay Transparency Act promotes gender equality and equal opportunity in the workplace and disclosure of inequities related to employment compensation. The legislation would require all publicly advertised job postings to include a salary rate or range, bar employers from asking about past compensation and require large employers to track and report compensation gaps.
The gender pay gap, based on all women and men’s average earnings continues to be 30 per cent, meaning that women earn 71 cents for every dollar that men earn. Racialized and immigrant women face a gap between 37 and 39 per cent. This is worse for women who have recently immigrated, who earn on average 57 per cent as compared to white men, and women with disabilities who face a 46 per cent pay gap. https://opseu.org/news/times-gender-pay-gap-action-you-can-take
Carol Mundley, Chair of the Provincial Women’s Committee says the gender pay gap is a result of direct sexism, racism and ableism in the labour market.
“Pay transparency is one way to ensure women are compensated based on work performed and not on discriminatory factors related to sex or ‘race, “ Mundley said.
The Provincial Women’s Committee (PWC) is also concerned about the gender pay gap because of the link between low-paid and insecure jobs and violence against women.
“The gender pay gap is a measure of women’s victimization in the workplace,” Mundley said.
About one third of women will face domestic violence in their lifetimes, and without adequate income, leave provisions and flexible working arrangements, women will remain in violent relationships. At the same time, women are more likely to fall into poverty and insecure employment after leaving abusive relationships. Without the protections like minimum wage, equal pay, and specialized funding – all of which the Ford government has rolled back in recent months, women will continue to face the devastating impacts of violence.
The PWC works with partners like the Equal Pay Coalition to advocate for Pay Transparency and the elimination of the Gender Wage Gap. It is also working for better legislation on domestic violence protections and entitlements, especially flexible working arrangements and domestic violence leave, and for bargaining language that promotes leave and supports for women. The PWC is developing education and public awareness campaigns and is in the process of developing support programs and training for members, stewards and Local Presidents on domestic violence.
A list of events marking International Women’s Day can be accessed here.