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Support staff workers at the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM) are proud to announce that they have finally finished the process triggered by the Pay Equity Act.

Results will be posted from October 4 to December 4, 2010, which will mark the final step of this lengthy process aiming to rectify the systemic salary shortfalls affecting predominately female jobs. As a result hundreds of UQAM employees—the majority of whom are female—will see their hourly rates increase, in addition to being subject to up to thousands of dollars in salary adjustments.

Hourly rates will end up increasing in approximately 90 predominately female job categories—by anywhere from $0.04 to $6.05, depending on the case. All employees who have worked in these job categories between 2001 and today—whether active, retired, or no longer employed by UQAM—will be granted salary adjustments retroactive to 2001.

The process was spearheaded by UQAM’s own pay equity institutional committee. The Committee was formed on April 6, 2005, and includes the support staff union (SEUQAM), senior staff members, non-unionized employees, athletic centre staff, and student employees. Over the past five years, all nine committee members conducted an immense amount of research and analysis, four of which come from UQAM’s employees’ union (SEUQAM): Ginette Benoit, Maryse Héon, Gérard Lamoureux, and Gaëtane Lemay. They worked under the guidance and expertise of CUPE’s job evaluation specialist Dominique Delorme.

The completion of the pay equity process sets a precedent in the university sector, given its complex nature, the size of the institution, and the wide range of job categories. It also means UQAM will avert the penalties for missing the deadline of December 31, 2010.

The Committee spent five hard years to achieve pay equity, five years that were riddled with tough debates. All sides have learned to work together—employer, employees and staff groups—in order to reach a common goal. Despite the highs and lows, we collectively answered the challenge and achieved satisfactory results for our members. I am proud to have had a hand in the Committee’s work,” stated Gaëtane Lemay, member ofUQAM’s pay equity institutional committee and vice‑president of SEUQAM.

The SEUQAM represents close to 2,500 support staff members working in all of UQAM’s academic and administrative units. Approximately 60 per cent are women and 40 per cent are men. They hold a wide range of positions in the trades and services, office, technical, and professional groups.

With close to 105,000 members in Quebec, CUPE represents some 11,000 members, mainly support staff and lecturers, in Quebec universities. Active in several other sectors, including health and social services, municipalities, energy, public transportation, airlines, communication, and Quebec crown corporations, CUPE is the largest FTQ affiliate.