On the provincial APTS executive committee, Mélanie Bernier is our national bargaining and pay equity co-officer. In the current public-sector contract talks with the Treasury Board, she’s right there in the thick of the discussions.
Being a union activist is about exercising leadership and influence. But because of sexist socialization, too many women underestimate their ability to take on the decision-making, mobilizing and representation roles that are part and parcel of union responsibilities.
A recent study reveals a 23% pay discrepancy between personnel in the public service (i.e., the civil service, education, and health and social services), 72% of whom are women, and personnel in Crown corporations like Hydro-Québec, Loto-Québec and the Société des alcools du Québec, a majority of whom are men.
The kind of in-depth reform of the Labour Standards Act that women’s groups and unions had been hoping for didn’t happen. Still, there are a number of changes that constitute progress for women who aren’t protected by a collective agreement , as well as for APTS members.