Union against Two-Tier Minimum Wage
Posted March 11, 2010
The President of the Union of Public Sector Employees, Shelley Ward, says that “the Union is firmly against the Province establishing a minimum wage system that allows for lower wages for inexperienced workers, students and/or workers earning tips. Such changes to the wage rate are unnecessary and allow businesses to pay low wage earners even less. The proposed changes are an unconscionable attack on the most vulnerable segment of the Island’s labour force.”
President Ward says that “in 2008, 5.6% of workers in P.E.I. were working for minimum wage or less. The current minimum wage in P.E.I. is $8.40, the third lowest minimum wage in the country. Statistics Canada data also shows that average weekly earnings in P.E.I. are the lowest in the country. Instituting a sub-standard minimum wage for some workers would only serve to exacerbate the poor situation low-wage earners in this Province already find themselves.”
“What is clear about a two-tiered minimum wage system,” asserts Ward, “is that it discriminates against workers, de-values workers, is open to abuse by employers, and presents challenges in recruiting and retaining workers.”
“A two-tiered minimum wage is not the type of change to the minimum wage that would be beneficial, effective or productive for the Island. Our Union firmly believes that the Province should focus its efforts to ensure that every Islander earns a livable wage and maintains a certain standard of living. A two-tiered minimum wage system does not accomplish either goal. Continuing to pursue such an objective is a reprehensible and shameful attack on low wage earners,” argues Ward.
President Shelley Ward (PEI UPSE) will deliver a presentation to the Standing Committee on Community and Intergovernmental Affairs as part of the consultation process on different minimum wage rates on March 11, 2010 in Charlottetown.
Please contact Mark Barrett at 892-5335 (or toll-free at 1-800- 897-8773) to arrange an interview.