We already know that Premier Wall and his SaskParty government do not have the best interests of women in mind. In not creating gender balance on the board of Enterprise Saskatchewan and in refusing to name a Minister Responsible for the Status of Women, he has made it clear that the status of women is not a priority for his government. And that’s sad, because women continue to be paid unfairly in this province. Despite working equally alongside men, women still earn about 70 cents for each dollar a man earns. But, new research shows that if women are in a unionized job, they will earn about 90 cents on the dollar earned by men.
So, what is the SaskParty going to do about that? Well, with the introduction of Bills 5 and 6, women will see no improvements in the pay gap. The legislation, which has been called anti-union and anti-worker can also be called anti-woman; it will negatively impact women in their workplaces.
Bill 5, the so-called Essential Services legislation, will fundamentally change collective bargaining for public sector workers. It is within the public sector that women have been able to secure unionized jobs, jobs which pay women decent wages, and provide for benefits and pensions. With a union, a woman can contemplate supporting a family.
Bill 6 makes union organizing extremely difficult. In industries where low-wage jobs are often filled by women and workers of colour such as in the retail and service sectors, more unionized jobs are needed in order to address the pay gap. We already know that employers aren’t going to voluntarily raise women’s wages; women have been waiting for that for decades to no avail.
But through their unions, women have been able to secure decent — if not yet fair wages for the work they do. It will be a good day for women when employers recognize the value of women in their workplace and actually pay up!
So, today I’m attending the May Day Rally on the steps of the legislature at noon. I’ll be there to remind the government and the opposition that women are people, too!
See you there!