UTFA Instrumental in Securing 3.9% Salary Increase to Remedy Gender-Based Salary Gap for Female Librarians

December 6, 2019
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Effective December 1, 2019, all librarians who identify as women will receive a 3.9% increase to their base salary, retroactive to July 2, 2019

The 3.9% increase to base salary for female librarians, both permanent status stream and CLTA, comes as a result of an UTFA Association grievance filed on June 4, 2019, alleging discrimination in salary for faculty and librarians who identify as women and/or as members of other equity-seeking groups. Aside from information on gender, the University Administration has thus far been unwilling to share with the Association any salary data relating to other social identities. While we continue to push for this information, UTFA’s approach has been to begin with a focus on gender-based salary discrimination. We are also pressing the Administration to improve its collection of data regarding the salaries of equity-seeking groups.

Addressing Discrimination in Librarian Compensation

In preparation for the grievance, UTFA conducted an analysis of librarian salaries. This analysis revealed:

  • Significant gender bias in compensation for librarians, evident in particular in annual PTR awards.
  • That male librarians are more likely to be hired at a higher rank and to be promoted to a higher rank, with correspondingly higher salaries.

Subsequently, the Administration conducted its own analysis of gender bias in compensation and found a 3.9% gender-based pay gap. The salary adjustment announced on December 6 is designed to address this discrimination.

Next Steps Regarding Librarian Compensation

UTFA and the Administration have agreed to take steps to periodically audit salaries over the next three to five years. This will allow us to ensure that a gender-based pay gap has not re-emerged at the time of those audits.

In order to identify the root causes of the gender-based pay gap, UTFA and the Administration have also agreed to strike a joint Working Group. The Working Group will begin its work in January 2020 and will make recommendations to address the impact of any systemic or structural barriers and/or unconscious or implicit bias on librarian compensation. Among the issues that this Working Group will consider will be any barriers or bias that exist in relation to:

  • Librarian PTR,
  • The 5% Chief Librarians Award,
  • The promotion rate and process,
  • Rank at hire, and
  • Stream of hire (i.e., CLTA versus permanent-status stream).

Moving Forward for the Salary Discrimination Grievance

UTFA’s June 4, 2019 grievance related to the Administration’s decision last April to implement a 1.3% salary increase for female tenure stream faculty only. UTFA argued that approach was deeply flawed because it:

  • Failed to address gender-based discrimination experienced by librarians, or teaching-stream, part-time, and CLTA faculty;
  • Did not address discrimination in compensation experienced by faculty or librarians who identify as members of other equity-seeking groups; and
  • Is inadequate to address the significant and pervasive gender-based discrimination experienced by women faculty in the tenure stream.

UTFA’s grievance with respect to discrimination in faculty compensation continues despite significant objections that have been raised by the University Administration. On October 30, the Chair of the Grievance Review Panel rejected the Administration’s attempt to have the grievance thrown out on a preliminary motion. As a result, the Administration is now engaged in providing UTFA with relevant data to enable a careful and comprehensive examination of patterns of compensation at UofT.

As part of its ongoing efforts to eradicate salary discrimination, UTFA will also continue to proceed with its grievances under the Pay Equity Act. Through those grievances, UTFA is arguing that female-dominated job classes, including Librarian and teaching stream faculty roles, are themselves underpaid due to gender bias.

Terezia J. Zoric
UTFA Vice-President Salary, Benefits, Pensions, and Workload