First, you have to identify wage gaps that may exist in your local. Review the collective agreement. Identify any economic disparities between men and women in wages or benefits, such as pensions. Be sure to look at part-time and temporary workers. Are they mainly women? Do they get lower pay and fewer benefits? If so, then youve got a case.
Do an informal or formal survey of the members to see how they feel about womens wages as a priority issue and why. The results of the survey will help you develop a plan that starts from the members reality.
Develop a plan of action to get womens wages on the bargaining agenda as a priority. Your plan should have clear short- and long-term goals, allocated responsibilities, and a method for evaluation and follow up. If somethings not working, be prepared to make changes.
Start with ways to raise awareness of the issue and build support for it in the local. Develop a catchy slogan for the campaign and use it on posters, leaflets, buttons, and t-shirts. Consider holding a day when all the members wear their campaign button to work in support of the campaign.
Seek out and develop allies, especially sympathetic union men and members from other equity seeking groups within the union, and other union womens committees and womens groups in your community.
Invite a speaker, perhaps an activist from another CUPE local or union that has made pay equity an issue, to come to one of your womens committee meetings and address womens wages.
Develop ways to make your point about womens wages and to put pressure on the employer. For example, use the no-discrimination clause in your collective agreement as the basis for a group grievance on gender discrimination in wages, and publicize the grievance within the local.
Always be prepared with good arguments to help others understand why raising womens wages is an issue that everyone should take on!