What a great week we had at work. Collective learning through understanding requires the conscious participation of the individual, an act of finding out was highly successful. It is very important that the workers make their just claims on the capitalist system of wage slavery for all the wrongs that have been committed against them, both at the place of work and within society, by the management of the bourgeois capitalist state and the state police, something which they want to continue to do relentlessly by establishing a social corporate fascist state. Everyone must be able to write their just claims for compensation and say all the atrocities that the capitalist system has done to them. All for one and one for all!
CANADA POST HAS FINALLY AGREED TO BEGIN PAYING UP THE PAY EQUITY IT OWES THE WOMEN OF THE PUBLIC SERVICE ALLIANCE OF CANADA
After more than three decades and a legal fight that went up to the Supreme Court, the Public Service Alliance of Canada and Canada Post Corporation have recently signed a memorandum of agreement that will see long-awaited pay equity cheques begin to be issued in August of this year.
“PSAC started this process in 1983 with a complaint to the Canadian Human Rights Commission and stuck with it through literally hundreds of days of Tribunal hearings and numerous court battles”, says PSAC national president Robyn Benson.
In 2005, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal (CHRT) agreed with the union that thousands of women who worked at Canada Post had been discriminated against when the employer paid them a lower wage than they should have been, simply because they were women.
The CHRT found at that time, that Canada Post had failed to pay workers in the female-dominated CR Group equal pay for work of equal value performed by the male-dominated PO Group. It concluded that this constituted a gender discrimination against women employees at the post office and the Tribunal ordered Canada Post to pay $150 million to right the wrong.
When the CHRT issued its decision in October 2005, Canada Post appealed it the very same day. The union had first filed the complaint in 1983 on behalf of 2,300 clerical workers.
From the 1983 period, the PSAC had to wage a most resolute struggle simply to have the case referred to the Tribunal for consideration. They then had to see the matter through the adjudicative process, which included over 400 hearing days spanning over a 10 year period. Canada Post won its appeal against the union at two different levels before the union achieved a final victory at the level of the Supreme Court of Canada.
On November 17, 2011 in a rare ruling from the bench, the Supreme Court justices unanimously ruled to overturn the decision of the Federal Court of Appeal, reinstating the Tribunal’s decision against Canada Post. The Supreme Court ordered Canada Post to pay equity payments to thousands of workers and retirees who had been underpaid for decades. The Tribunal ruling meant that workers would be compensated for 50% of the wage gap found to exist from August 24, 1982 to June 2, 2002. The ruling also awarded pre-judgement and post-judgement interest to be paid on the money owed to the workers.
Since the 2005 Tribunal decision, more than eight years ago, current and former PSAC members have been entitled to retroactive pay equity adjustments and interest. At the time the case reached the Supreme Court, the amount owed the workers totaled $250 million.
Further delays occurred following the Supreme Court ruling when Canada Post announced it would pay only 80% of the interest owing on the pay equity adjustments. On November 5, 2012 the PSAC accused Canada Post of refusing to implement the order and delaying payments to those who needed it the most. Other court proceedings were scheduled.
On June 27, 2013 a memorandum of agreement was announced by both parties that Canada Post will pay interest on 90% of the settlements. The union had sought interest on 100% of the payout, while Canada Post wanted to pay only 80% of the total, arguing it was generous considering employees would have had taxes and other deductions, a reduction of 30% to 35% of gross wages.
The memorandum of agreement also provides for a method of calculating the money owed the workers. Interest from August 24, 1982 to October 6, 2005 will be calculated using the Canada Savings Bond rate in effect on September 1 of that year, and after that it will be 4% per year until the date of payment.
PSAC President Robyn Benson argued that if Canada Post had quickly agreed to make the pay equity payments, it wouldn’t be faced with such a large bill today.
“I am disappointed they kept stalling even after the Supreme Court told them they had to pay”, she said. “We have folks who are retired who have passed away, but their estates will receive the payments”.
While the memorandum of agreement calls for some cheques to be issued for August 1, 2013 Canada Post says “that it will be a slow process to calculate how much each eligible individual is owed because many worked on casual shifts or short-term contracts”.
PSAC workers are to receive a statement with the cheque outlining how the calculations were made based on the individual employment record. Only Canada Post has access to these records.
All current and former (indeterminate, term, casual and temporary) or the estates of employees who were employed at Canada Post and represented by the PSAC anytime between August 24, 1982 and June 2, 2002 in the CR2, CR3, CR4 and CR5 classifications are eligible to receive pay equity and interest for the period they were in any of these classifications, including acting situations.
All paid leave of absence that occurred during the eligibility period will be included in the calculations. The pay equity adjustments will also apply to overtime pay, severance, and pension, stand by pay and other forms of payments. In the event a mistake is made, the workers will have 120 calendar days upon payment to ask for a recalculation.
In 2002, the union was able to erase the gender-based gap through contract negotiations. It is estimated that as many as 30,000 people, mostly women, could be eligible for a portion of the $250 million settlement.
In 2011, the year of the Supreme Court decision, Canada Post stated in its Annual Financial Report that this award for pay equity along with the postal dispute between the CUPW and CPC the same year accounted for the $367 million deficit it recorded for the year even though it had not even begun paying a dime.
To this date, Canada Post continues to refuse to disclose the amount of money it has spent over the 30 year period on legal fees contesting the just claims of the PSAC women workers for equal wages for work of equal value.