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public and private sector workers make equal wagesOTTAWA – Claims that public sector workers make significantly more than their private sector counterparts are simply untrue. The Canadian Union of Public Employees, representing over 630,000 workers across the country, mostly public sector workers, says its own research disproves recent claims by a right-wing interest group.

“The Canadian Federation of Independent Business’ so-called ‘research’ doesn’t stand up to scrutiny. It is a cynical fantasy to further their ideological goal of driving down the wages of every Canadian worker,” said Moist, national president of CUPE. “There is ample evidence, backed up with reliable methodology, the wages of public and private sector workers are quite similar. The CFIB’s myth of the overpaid public sector worker is simply baseless.”

CUPE’s own study, Battle of the Wages, shows a small overall premium for public sector workers – less than two per cent – when comparing workers in similar occupations. But this is entirely due to a smaller pay gap for women in the public sector than in the private sector. 

“The average wage of a CUPE member is around $45,000 per year. These are fair wages for workers who provide valued, quality public services that our communities, and small businesses, depend on everyday,” said Moist. “Public sector workers provide the services and maintain the public infrastructure that fuel local economies. And public sector workers are the customers independent businesses depend on. It is baffling that the CFIB would so ruthlessly attack the public services so vital to their supposed constituents.”

There is other research that back’s up CUPE’s findings. Most recently, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternative’s analysis, Narrowing the Gap, shows that slightly higher public sector wages are attributed to higher wages for workers most discriminated against in the private sector. This analysis shows women, radicalized and Aboriginal workers are the ones seeing higher, and much fairer, wages in the public sector. 

“Just recently, the head of the CFIB attacked the United Way for that groups anti-poverty advocacy. This group rails against raising minimum wages to a living wage. Now they come back to attacking the modest salaries of public sector workers,” said Moist. “It is widely acknowledged that the growing gap between everyday Canadians and the very wealthy must be addressed. But the anti-worker agenda of the CFIB does nothing to fix income inequality – it only makes it worse.”