A fight dating back several years came to a close when the Tribunal administratif du travail (TAT) ruled in favour of the union representing blue-collar workers in Montreal (CUPE 301) in a major pay equity case.

When the pay equity program was being developed in 2010, the “restaurant student” job category was designated as a female-dominated job category. However, it was excluded from the program while adjustments were being made based on the assumption it was a student category. Several of the students concerned filed a complaint in 2017.  The Pay Equity Commission subsequently ruled that it was not a student category and ordered that the latter be included in the initial program.

Rather than comply with this requirement and calculate the payments that the employees were entitled to, the City decided to give its own interpretation to the definition of “female-dominated” and termed it “neutral” some ten years later!  The “restaurant student” job category was once again kept out of the program, albeit for a different reason, which enabled the City to avoid paying out the wage adjustments.

The CUPE Job Evaluation Department opposed this interpretation, filed a dispute and was quite vocal about the fact that decisions made by the Evaluation Committee at the time were beyond challenge. The CNESST then upheld its ruling.

To no one’s surprise, the City appealed the ruling. CUPE Legal Services took over and pleaded that the Pay Equity Act already included a strict process calling for specific and essential steps to be followed to achieve true pay equity and that people could not revisit decisions made by a duly constituted committee. This was the interpretation retained by the TAT.

“We’re thrilled for the employees who will benefit from this major gain and are quite proud of our team work that went into this particular case,” declared CUPE union representative Josée Aubé.