Equal Opportunity at Work
Publisher: Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), Canada
A CUPE Affirmative Action Manual
Year Published: 1977
Book Type: Handbooks/Manuals
Resource Type: Book
Cx Number: CX350
" Equal Opportunity at Work" provides a comprehensive and detailed approach to dealing with the continuing inequalities faced by CUPE women members in their various employment situations.
Abstract: " Equal Opportunity at Work" provides a comprehensive and detailed approach to dealing with the continuing inequalities faced by CUPE women members in their various employment situations. It uses, as an exemplary model, a union local at a City Hall working to develop equal opportunity in the work force there. The process can be adapted to focus on equal opportunity for almost any kind of group. While many women have been able to achieve considerable improvements in some areas of equal opportunity, especially in stopping the more blatant discriminatory practices of employers, the manual addresses itself to remedying the more hidden barriers to equal opportunity that continue to keep men and women in job ghettos with unequal access to training, promotions, benefits, career mobility and so on.
The manual will assist in locating these barriers and formulating an attack which is best suited to the circumstances. It is the result of a focussed effort during International Women's Year.
The name "Affirmative Action" originated in the U.S.A. to promote the interest, first, of racial minorities and then of women. It was pushed by strong civil rights legislation that insisted women be present in an establishment in roughly the same proportions as in the general work force.
By way of affirmative action plans, these employers committed themselves to break down job segregation and get more women and minority workers hired and promoted. In Canada, affirmative action committees made exhaustive reports and intelligent recommendations which have, for the most part, been applauded by management. However, the committees often stepped back afterwards and watched their reports gather dust on shelves. For as long as there is no legislation or other power to force employers to move they will rarely change a situation.
For this and other reasons, affirmative action programs in Canada must be backed up by the binding power of the collective agreement. In Canada, collective bargaining must play the role that legislation plays in the States.
Historically, in fact, most good labour legislation in Canada first made its appearance as articles in collective agreements. Union practice has usually pointed the way and legislation has followed later.