Canada Post has a history of discriminating against Rural and Suburban Mail Carriers (RSMCs) (See Appendix A: ‘The long road to justice and equality’). There have been many serious problems and a very significant one remains. For decades, RSMCs have performed work that is almost identical to the work of letter carriers, but they have not received the same compensation or treatment because of their gender.
Currently, 8,450 RSMCs deliver mail for Canada Post in rural and suburban areas. About 70% of them are women. In contrast, 22,147 letter carriers deliver mail for Canada Post in urban and suburban settings. Approximately 68% of them are men. In spite of doing virtually identical work, RSMCs, who are predominantly female, receive wages that are 28% lower than letter carriers, who are largely male. They also receive vastly inferior benefits.
This is unjust and unacceptable for RSMCs who do the same work as letter carriers during a typical workday. For example, both classifications deliver mail to community mailboxes (CMBs). Of five million CMB points of call, about two-thirds are delivered by RSMCs and one-third by letter carriers. Often the RSMCs and letter carriers work side-by-side in the same facility before they deliver to CMBs that are located in the same communities, sometimes on opposite sides of the same streets.
Federal employers like Canada Post are responsible for ensuring that no gender-based wage discrimination exists in the workplace. They are also expected to periodically review their compensations systems to determine if there are unjustifiable gender-based pay differences. Canada Post has acknowledged that since RSMCs were recognized as employees in 2004, it has not conducted a pay equity review or study nor does it have plans to do one.
It is time to rectify what is possibly the worst case of gender discrimination in Canada’s federal public service. In our recent settlement with Canada Post, the parties agreed to a 19 month process designed to resolve the issue of pay equity for RSMCs.
Recommendation: That the government instruct Canada Post to participate in the pay equity process agreed to with CUPW in good faith and honour the timeframes contained within the agreement.