October 2014 - Pay Equity Tribunal: SEIU v. Participating Nursing Homes

In the July newsletter, we did a spotlight on our former Secretary Treasurer, Cathy Carroll, who recently retired. In that article we talked about Cathy’s fight for a better wage for working women. As an avid advocate for pay equity1, it’s no surprise that in her final days in the job, Cathy sat for the closing arguments of the Pay Equity Tribunal hearings: SEIU v. Participating Nursing Homes, which affects many of our members.

As some of you know, this Pay Equity case began in August 2011, after failed attempts at meeting with the employer to discuss the issue of pay equity maintenance from 2007-2010. SEIU Healthcare filed a case, arguing that our members were entitled to pay equity maintenance. (Pay equity maintenance requires parties to re-look at the relevant job classifications to ensure that they were not entitled to more pay equity in light of job changes that had occurred since 1993.) However, as mentioned, the employers refused to meet and discuss this.

From 2013-2014, there were 26 hearing dates, with closing arguments heard the week of June 23rd of this year. We are now awaiting the Tribunal’s decision. It could come at any time, but isn’t likely to come until at least November or December of 2014. It may well not be released until early 2015.

SEIU Healthcare is committed to pay equity and have been fighting this battle for years because we are dedicated to ensuring that the work our members do is fairly valued and compensated. The decision in this matter will affect thousands of workers, both union and non-union, including thousands of our members. We are committed to raising awareness and educating the public on the matter of valuing women’s work. The worth we give to these hard working individuals, will decide the fate of future generations to come.

1After recognizing the existence of system-wide wage discrimination, the government implemented the Pay Equity Act to remedy discrimination in the compensation of female employees in Ontario. The success of ‘pay equity’ depended on comparing similar jobs & job titles between men and women. However, the Act didn’t provide a remedy for workers, such as nursing home workers, who work in female-dominated workplaces. And so in 1993 the Act was amended to add the “proxy” method which provided a remedy for such workers (by comparing their wages to those at an external organization that has male-dominated jobs).

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