OPSEU members rally for women’s wages

“But in reality, she’s done everything she can to drive down the wages of over half a million women who work in the Ontario public sector. That’s making the wage gap worse, not better.” — Warren (Smokey) Thomas, OPSEU President
 
Toronto (11 March 2016) — A boisterous throng of members of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU/NUPGE) and supporters had a message for Kathleen Wynne this week: Fix the gender wage gap.

Shot of sidewalk lined with demonstrators led by a woman using a megaphone

Jessica Sikora, President of OPSEU's Local 586, turned up the volume on gender wage parity. Ontario’s wage gap is 31 per cent — and even higher for Indigenous women, racialized women and women with disabilities.

On March 7, members rallied outside the Toronto Reference Library to take the Premier to task for pushing down women’s wages relative to men’s. Wynne was speaking there to mark International Women’s Day.

Women lose with Wynne

“Kathleen Wynne says she wants to fix the gender wage gap,” OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas said. “But in reality, she’s done everything she can to drive down the wages of over half a million women who work in the Ontario public sector. That’s making the wage gap worse, not better.”

At the rally, members talked to passers-by and women waiting in line to hear the Premier. A number of OPSEU/NUPGE women also went in to hear the Premier speak.  Among them were Sara Labelle, Region 3 Vice-President, and Laura Thompson, Vice‑Chair of the Provincial Women’s Committee.

OPSEU women leaders questioned Wynne about her plans to fix wage gap

Questioned by Labelle on government cost-cutting that has hit women harder than men, the Premier responded vaguely, alluding to spending increases in certain areas. In response to a question from Thompson on a timeline for narrowing the wage gap, the Premier hesitated at first, then said that something would be forthcoming “in the spring.”

"Right now, women’s salaries are so low, single women can’t survive on their own,” said Pamela Serrattan, President of Local 528. 

“Kathleen Wynne needs to understand single women can’t afford child care or housing on their salaries,” said Carole Auguste, Unit Steward for Local 502. 

More information: 

Listen to OPSEU's radio ads on the gender wage gap

Visit OPSEU’s gender wage gap web page 

NUPGE 

The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 360,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE

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