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More than 30 CUPE group home workers from Melville and Redvers, Saskatchewan marked Person’s Day on October 18 by filing formal human rights complaints against the provincial government for wage discrimination.

Other workers in community-based agencies represented by the Saskatchewan Government and General Employees’ Union joined them.

The complaints were filed at the Regina human rights commission office to protest the discriminatory wages paid to employees in group homes and vocational training centres – who are nearly all women – by the Department of Social Services, which funds these community-based agencies.

The department has been getting away with paying us much less than government employees doing work of equal value for decades,” says Joanne Mountney, a CUPE group home worker in Melville. “We decided that Person’s Day was an excellent date to take action to put an end to this discriminatory practice.”

Person’s Day celebrates the legal action taken by five Canadian women to have women declared “persons” under the law. Their actions were rewarded on October 18, 1929, when the Privy Council of Britain ruled the word “persons” must also apply to women as well as men.

Another 30 CUPE members are expected to file human rights complaints in the coming weeks