On March 8, 37 more workers from community-based agencies filed wage discrimination complaints with the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission.
Veronica Erickson, a community integration worker at the Vocational Training Centre in Preeceville, says she decided to file the complaint because “I’m sick and tired of being paid such a pitifully poor wage for doing work that is so important in our community.”
Erickson, a CUPE member, makes $8.69 an hour. “I have to work at a second job just to keep my family’s financial head above water,” she says.
The complaints by group home and vocational training center workers were filed on International Women’s Day to highlight the discriminatory wages paid to employees in this female-dominated sector.
They follow 60 complaints filed last October as part of a strategy to secure equal pay with government employees for work of equal value.
The community-based workers want the provincial government to provide an additional $40 million to their agencies over three years, beginning with the budget expected later this month.
“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 group home worker in Melville, who filed her complaint last fall. We’re demanding the government end this discriminatory practice and pay us what we’re worth.”
“It’s a textbook example of pay discrimination against working women,” says National President Judy Darcy, who joined the group home workers at a Saskatoon news conference Friday. “It’s a right. It’s not fair. And it violates the human rights code.”