Union slams ‘sexist, inaccurate’ portrayal of Tillsonburg pay equity win

Developmental Services: We can afford to care

Tillsonburg – The union representing workers at Community Living Tillsonburg (CLT) is criticizing a local media outlet for its “sexist and inaccurate” report on a recent pay equity win there.

The agency agreed to pay the six years of pay equity adjustments it owed to 232 employees after the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) threatened legal action last month, but Tillsonburg News portrayed the win as a “bad news” story, OPSEU Regional Vice-President Len Elliot said.

“This is a victory for the workers at CLT,” said Elliott. “The employer was illegally avoiding paying workers what they were owed. But this article – published on International Women’s Day, of all days – framed it as some crisis for CLT, quoting the board member who referred to employees as ‘wolves at the door.’ It featured a picture of this same man, rather than of the mostly-female staff who finally won equal pay for work of equal value. It featured the employer’s outlandish ‘math’ – $1.5 million owing annually for 23 years – rather than voices of the workers.”

Elliott pointed out that if CLT owed $1.5 million annually in pay equity adjustments, it would mean a $150 million payroll each year. “Even if the agency had 1,500 employees, each would be making $100,000 a year, which obviously isn’t the case,” he said.

“It’s not just inaccurate. It’s a bald-faced lie. They’re demonizing the workers by inflating the math and playing on sexist rhetoric, and what really saddens me is, the reporter fell for it.”

OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas slammed Tllsonburgnews.com and CLT as well: “Most of these workers are women, doing work that has been historically undervalued because it is gendered. These so-called ‘wolves’ aren’t asking for company-sponsored trips to the Caribbean. They’re asking for justice, and they won it. That is the story we should have been reading about on March 8.”

For more information: Len Elliott, 519-857-4000