Postal workers win 28-year pay equity fight

Canada Post workers in Corner Brook, N.L., are participating in a series of rotating strikes on June 13.

The Supreme Court of Canada ruled in favour of workers Thursday in a pay equity case involving women at Canada Post that was originally filed 28 years ago.

The case, first brought forward by the Public Service Alliance of Canada in 1983, could mean millions of dollars in retroactive payments for several thousand workers, mostly women — and most of them by now retired.

The PSAC complaint alleged wage discrimination against workers in a predominantly female group compared to wages received by a male-dominated group.

After lengthy proceedings, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal ruled in the workers' favour and awarded $150 million in damages plus interest in 2005.

In 2008, a federal court overturned that decision in a ruling that was upheld by the Federal Court of Appeal.

But the Supreme Court last year agreed to hear an appeal and on Thursday ruled in favour of the workers.

PSAC national executive vice-president Patty Ducharme told CBC News that with interest, the decision could mean up to $250 million in damages for 2,300 clerical staff — mostly women — who worked at Canada Post between 1983 and 2002.

"We respect the decision of the Supreme Court of Canada and will abide by their ruling," Canada Post said in a statement Thursday.

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