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November 24, 2016

No One Should Need to Choose Between Their Safety and Their Job

The Ontario labour movement has a strong tradition of fighting for social and economic justice for the workers they represent and the broader community. In addition to a higher standard of living, unions fight for respect, equality and freedom from violence.

As a movement, we have worked hard to make work safer for women by addressing sexual harassment and violence in the workplace. Domestic violence affects the lives of our members both on and off the job. In the same way workers need protections for heath and safety and equality, they need protections from domestic violence.

Leaving an abusive relationship is a time-consuming and financially burdensome task. To escape domestic violence, survivors must navigate the complexities of the legal system, find transitional housing, and access medical services and counseling. This takes time and resources. Survivors must often miss work as a result. Without paid domestic violence leave and sexual violence leave, that essential time away from work can limit their ability to ensure their own safety by putting their employment and financial independence at risk.

We, the undersigned trade unions, are committed to negotiating paid leave for survivors of domestic and sexual violence and negotiating workplace training on the effects of domestic violence in the workplace and domestic violence prevention.

By bringing sexual and domestic violence issues to the bargaining table, we will ensure that survivors of domestic and sexual violence do not have to choose between their safety and their job. Further, workplace training and education for employers and workers is critical to the protection and support of workers trying to escape abuse.

We, the undersigned, pledge that negotiating provisions related to domestic and sexual violence will be a bargaining priority.

Language should include:

  • Ten days of paid leave;
  • The right of victims to flexible work arrangements; and,
  • Workplace training and education of managers and workers.

Unions that have signed on to the pledge include:

COPE Local 468 – Jim Yurkiw
CUPE – Fred Hahn, President
ETFO – Sam Hammond, President
IAMAW – Stan Pickthall, Canadian General Vice-President
IBEW Local 353 – Steven Martin, President
OECTA – Ann Hawkins, President
OPSEU – Smokey Thomas, President
OSSTF – Paul Elliott, President
PSAC – Robyn Benson, National President
UFCW – Paul R. Meinema, Canada National President
UNIFOR – Jerry Dias, National President
USW – Marty Warren, Director District 6
WORKERS UNITED – Barry Fowlie, Director

COPE 343


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