Saturday, July 14, 2007

Overdue: Pay Equity for Library Workers

"The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) represents more than 2,500 public library workers in communities throughout British Columbia. Those workers are the lifeblood of community libraries, providing vital information and education services such as cataloguing, document processing, research, children’s services, information technology support, binding, mending, graphics and much more."

"Unfortunately, the wages paid to library workers in communities across B.C. are chronically low given the importance of the services provided, the educational requirements for many positions and the wages paid to library workers in some other provinces. Library workplaces in B.C. are predominantly female- dominated. The sad truth is that, as in other female-dominated workplaces, the jobs in B.C. libraries are woefully underpaid."

"This report will illustrate how poorly paid library jobs are in comparison to male-dominated municipal and educational jobs. We believe that the low wages are the result of gender discrimination and that employers must take action to reverse this discrimination. Pay equity adjustments are long overdue for library workers in B.C."

"Over 3 years, entry-level library jobs are paid between $21,000 and $41,000 less than comparable municipal jobs. This income is enough for a down payment on a house or condominium, or for putting 1 or 2 children through university."

"Library workers have benefited from pay equity elsewhere in Canada for over a decade. Pay equity legislation in Ontario led to job evaluation in Mississauga in the late 1990s. There, a Library Assistant II saw a $5,000 increase in salary, while Senior Librarians, received a $10,000 increase in salary. In Toronto, entry-level library workers received pay equity improvements of 24%, while other positions improved by 17-20%. Similar pay equity gains applied to Ontario provincial library employees. Federally, library workers benefited from the PSAC Pay Equity court settlement more than any other group in PSAC: averaging more than $5,000 more per year."

"Municipal librarians in Vancouver and Toronto have seen an increasing gap in their wages after Ontario pay equity legislation, as Table 6 indicates. There is a $7/hour wage gap for librarians in these locations. Further, it takes 25% longer for GVRD librarians to reach the maximum wage level than librarians in Toronto."
Original report released, June 2007, revised July 2007 (see link below)

Full report by CUPE BC


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