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The Federal Budget must NOT be passed with the Conservatives “Public Sector Equitable Compensation Act” language within the budget. Read on why and act now.
Globe and Mail February 2, 2009
The Conservative government proposes to radically change the rules governing pay equity in the federal public sector and it constitutes an attack on womens equality.
The Public Sector Equitable Compensation Act – included as part of legislation accompanying the January 2009 federal budget – will remove the right of public sector workers to file complaints for pay equity with the Canadian Human Rights Commission. The legislation provides for a $50,000 fine on any union that encourages or assists their own members in filing a pay equity complaint.
Workers will have to negotiate for pay equity at the bargaining table. Forcing workers to bargain for their human rights is not an appropriate way to ensure womens right to equal pay for work of equal value and is completely unacceptable.
The legislation disregards the recommendations of the Federal Pay Equity Task Force Report that called for proactive, inclusive, and timely legislation, which would ensure union involvement, and be supported by a new pay equity agency.
If the budget legislation passes, workers will lose the right to challenge gender-based wage gaps under Human Rights law. This provision will never survive a challenge under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. This is a backlash against women’s equality and we have to organize against it.
The Job-share Committee that was struck following Brian Foley’s recommendations will be at the General Meeting to discuss the progress and process of creating job-share language that may be included in the Collective Agreement. Job-sharing is part of the solution to lift women out of poverty through increased access to pensions and the ability continue to work while coping with child-care or elder-care. Female-dominated workplaces also policies and bargaining language on universal daycare, job-sharing, converting auxiliary hours to part-time hours, pay equity and sexual harassment. We have language on sexual harassment and are attempting to get better and more equitable job-share language.
Classification Issues Committee
The Classification Issues Committee was also struck following Brian Foley’s recommendations. Shortly after the election, The Employer informed us that it was time to start discussing a Job Evaluation plan, that we should have this bargaining before the next contract comes up for renewal. Our committee, is, of course, embracing this opportunity to participate in the development of this plan and will keep you informed.
The Union is asking the question, “how long”? Our auxiliary workers and part-time workers are suffering from this policy through lack of shifts. The Full-time employees have increased workload. Female dominated workforces have far more auxiliary workers and part-timers than male dominated workforces. This is another area where we are under attack and need improved contract language. We sympathsize with the new municipal council’s difficulties with the operating budget shortfall due to fallout from globalisation and its market capitalists proponents operating without government regulations. This is why we, CUPE 391 Vancouver Public Library Workers, have so far been patient as the the City wrestles with how best to present an operating budget that will enable the people of Vancouver to continue to benefit from the public service to which they are entitled. CUPE 391 continues to deliver our mandate, which is to make sure that our public has equitable access to their historical and cultural collections and to provide direct public service by selecting, acquiring, processing and make accessing to VPL’s services and collections. The Union is awaiting an answer on the above question and will post information on union and management meetings.