At McGill University and across Canada, women are still paid less than men, and continue to be disproportionately affected by the casualization of labour. As a feminist and labour organizer, I am disgusted by this sickening trend, and urge women and our allies to support the $15 and Fairness campaign at McGill - it’s the right thing to do.
Many young women working at McGill are replacement workers that do the exact same amount of work but are paid significantly less than their permanent, full-time predecessors. Why does McGill want to justify the payment of 80% of the salary for the same work on short-term replacement contracts of less than 6 months? The persistence of this problem through good financial times as well as bad makes it doubtful that McGill is acting on the basis of greed alone. Something more insidious is happening.
The continued discrimination faced by women workers is really a war on the economic and social progress of society as a whole. Consider the vast amount of unpaid work women do that is under-recognized and made invisible, and how this inequity is intimately tied to the devaluation of paid women’s labour.
In Canada, the gender wage gap is tied to the predominance of women employed in part-time, casual positions and an uneven labour market distribution that concentrates women in lower-paying jobs. Since the 1990s, the average annual income for women has been 71% of the wages earned by men, a figure that includes both full-time and part-time workers. In a recent article published on International Women’s Day, union organizers at McGill assert that women bear the brunt of labour casualization, and underscore the effects of this ghastly trend:
“...low pay, low hours, lack of job security, and the lack of access to the basic benefits enjoyed by other McGill staff (health care, parental leave top-ups, raises, vacation, sick days) leaves casual workers trapped in a cycle of stress and precarity that contributes to marginalization and vulnerability in both their personal and professional lives.”
Let’s face it, it has been really friggin’ hard for many women to find full-time, permanent positions with benefits, job security and wages that are comparable to their male counterparts. It’s even more difficult for racialized, disabled, and LGBTQ2IA women who experience an even larger pay gap.
Seriously, on a very basic level, everyone should be paid a living wage. If we fight for $15 minimum wage and fairness in the workplace, we are standing in solidarity with all women to improve the quality of their lives.
McGill University can set a better standard and ensure that every worker earns a reasonable and fair wage, it’s a pretty basic thing to do. Join our campaign and share our posts and events on facebook!. You could use that money!
This blog is a new initiative of the 15 and Fair McGill Coalition. Curated by MM and MB. This piece written by MM.