The NB Coalition for Pay Equity is demanding results for women whose work is underpaid and undervalued. “Employees, employers and the provincial government have spent time evaluating the fairness of wage rates in certain female-dominated workplaces that are partially or completely publicly funded. That’s great, but we don’t want another report gathering dust on the shelf,” says Vallie Stearns, Chair of the growing coalition of organizations and individuals. “Women have waited long enough for fair wages. It’s time that the government increase its funding to ensure that wages are brought in line with male-dominated jobs.”
In upcoming months, the Coalition plans to provide key information to New Brunswickers and assist mobilization strategies across the province to pressure the Alward government to deliver equal pay for work of equal value for four groups in the private sector, namely, child care, home care, group homes and transition houses. These services, which are delivered by private companies or non-profit organizations but funded primarily by government requisitions on a per client basis, have been targeted by pay equity programs over the past three years because wage rates are barely above minimum wage.
“We want to talk to workers across the province, the many women and also men, that provide critical care to the most vulnerable in our society,” explains Stearns. “The knowledge and experience of these workers have long been considered ‘women’s work’ and undeserving of fair pay. They need to know that together they can have a voice and make a difference. The government needs to hear from them, so we are going to tour the province and let them know what’s at stake.” The Internet, Facebook and Twitter will be other means to reach people.
The Coalition will also call upon all New Brunswickers to show their support. “Wage discrimination on the basis of gender is a violation of human rights,” states Stearns. “Women should not be subsidizing the government in delivering critical services to children, seniors, abused women and people with disabilities that New Brunswick families depend on.”
The Coalition is demanding results for women working in the public sector as well. According to the Pay Equity Act, 2009, pay equity adjustments should begin in April 2012 in health, education, the civil service and crown corporations. “We want to make sure that pay adjustments roll out on time,” says Stearns. “Wage discrimination should not be tolerated a minute longer.”
Obtaining pay equity legislation for the private sector remains a priority for the Coalition. “All jobs mostly held by women should be paid fairly. It is a question of justice,” states Stearns.
In order to reach its objectives, the Coalition will launch a second fundraising campaign in October. “Government funds supporting women’s rights have been cut, but we’re still standing,” says the Coalition’s Chair. “Thanks to last year’s generous individual and organizational donors, we were able to continue taking a stand for pay equity. This year we are again counting on the many people who believe in a better, more equal society.”
The New Brunswick Coalition for Pay Equity is a group of over 650 individuals and 83 organizations that educates and advocates for the adoption and the implementation of adequate legislation in order to achieve pay equity – equal pay for work of equal value – for all workers in both the public and private sectors.