November 25 marked the start of the 12 Days of Action to End Violence against Women,1 an initiative to raise awareness of the scourge of gender-based violence. The APTS took the occasion to talk with Ingrid Falaise, multimedia artist and author of the bestselling book Le Monstre, who was generous enough to discuss her own experience of intimate partner violence and offer insights that foster greater understanding of the issue as well as a sense of solidarity.
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.