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Ottawa Attempts to bridge the wage gap may be moving at a snails pace but CUPE, Canadas largest union, is turning up the heat and moving full steam ahead with a campaign aimed at raising womens wages.

Fifteen years ago, women earned 64 per cent of what men earned. Today its 72 per cent! At the rate were going, its going to take 70 years before the gap is closed our grandchildren will be in their rocking chairs. The women in CUPE are simply not prepared to wait, says CUPE National President Judy Darcy.

CUPE has launched a major initiative renewing its fight to raise womens wages on all fronts in legislatures, courts, on picket lines and union local by union local. Darcy says CUPE women are leading fights across the country and striking for better wages.

In Toronto, 200 SPRINT home care workers, most of them women, are on strike. CUPE 3896 members make less than $12 an hour caring for seniors and want better wages, sick leave and an employer-paid benefit plan.

In New Brunswick, CUPE 1840 members who work as provincial court stenographers have voted 100 per cent to go on strike. The 65 women are the lowest paid stenos in Canada and make $10,000 less than others doing the same work for the province.

In Melville, Saskatchewan two dozen group home workers all women, members of CUPE 3481 have also voted to strike for better wages. The women say they earn peanuts $7 to $9 an hour providing care, training and support to mentally and physically challenged residents at Rail City Industries.

In Ontario, CUPE and four other unions are launching a Charter challenge against the Harris government for refusing to fund proxy pay equity adjustments. The proxy provision allowed the use of an outside group in cases where the female dominated group had no male comparator. In British Columbia, CUPE is appealing a human rights tribunal decision that denied female police dispatchers pay equity with male fire dispatchers.

CUPE represents 485,000 women and men working in health care, emergency services, education, municipalities, social services, libraries, utilities, transportation and airlines.

For further information please contact:
Doreen Meyer, Communications
(613) 237-1590, ext. 266

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