Like many of you here, I receive a raise with my annual review. I was curious and looked at the pay scale book to see how much more I would be getting. As I flipped through it to get to my page, it occurred to me that I can see what everybody else earns as well. No matter the position, I’m able to see the wage and progression from entry level to the most senior union level. It may never occur to everyone what a big deal this is but for me, it’s black and white proof of something: The Gender Pay Gap does not exist in my CBA pay scale book.
According to a Stats Canada 2017 report, a woman earned $0.87 on average for every dollar a man earned. Did you know our country, like many countries, has an Equal Pay Day? Equal Pay Day is used in several countries to raise awareness about the gender pay gap. Based on the country’s gender pay gap, Equal Pay Day is the date which symbolizes when women would stop getting paid for the rest of the year in comparison to men. For Canada, the gender pay gap of $0.87 would translate to the equivalent of 47 days women work without pay in 2018, assuming women worked the same number of hours as men in the year. In 2018 – taking these 47 days into account – Equal Pay Day in Canada would have been November 15
Some things have improved for women since 2011. Women have joined the workforce with more education, particularly university degrees at the bachelor’s level or above. Women’s participation in the labour force has increased significantly and has seen a decrease in the propensity of employed women to withdraw from the workforce upon marriage or motherhood. Women have also reduced the duration of their family-related work interruptions such that they have more work experience than was the case in the past. But if we’ve come so far, why are we still behind?
I’ve heard negative comments from people about unions, specifically how it protects some people that shouldn’t be protected. To that I would say this: a union protects individuals who can’t protect themselves. It helps to preserve legislation that our country says all people are equal. A good union negotiates a CBA that guarantees all people in the same position are paid equally, whether they are a man or a woman. A union ensures equality. It ensures dignity. It ensures fairness. You just can’t put a price on that.
Heather Bell, 594 Women's Committee Chair