Equal Partners for Change - Women and Unions

Publisher:  Women's Bureau - Canadian Labour Congress, Ottawa, Canada
Year Published:  1979  
Pages:  22pp  
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX1088

Abstract:  This kit contains a number of sheets each of which contains information on the struggles of women in the labor force. One of these sheets, entitled "To Seize the Good - The History of Women in Unions", charts a history beginning in 1886 when Elizabeth Wright became the first woman delegate to the Trades and Labor Congress in Toronto. The sheet outlines the role of numerous women who have contributed to the status of women in the union movement.

Today there are 750,000 organized women workers in Canada; yet women are not adequately paid for their work, for on the average, working women earn $6,900 less than men, per annum. The sheet also points out how unions are attempting to bring about the enforcement of equal pay for equal work of equal value, through the use of no-discrimination clauses and other methods. The authors recommend that unions with job evaluation programs in their contract must be sure that the program is not used to justify paying less to women. To deal with the equal opportunity issue, the sheet recommends the formation of affirmative action programs centred in the workplace.

"All women work. Whether they are doing the unpaid labor of child care and housework, or paid labor in business or industry, women and their work are an essential part of Canada's economic life", write the authors. The sheet "Here to Stay" shows how women are often considered a temporary part of the economy. Actions to counter this prevailing notion are proposed, for the use of both unions and women.

Other sheets in the kit deal with benefits, health, sexual harassment on the job, the CLC and "Using Your Union" as well as a national list of Federations of Labor - Women's Committees. The final sheet also lists the Federal and Provincial government branches dealing with women's issues and a resource list of audio-visual materials, books and pamphlets.

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