An estranged husband shoots and kills a teacher in the parking lot of her school. A nurse is stabbed to death by her former boyfriend, a doctor working at the same hospital. The reality is domestic violence goes to work every day.
Although we sometimes think of domestic violence as a private family problem, the effects of domestic violence do not stop when our members come to work. Like other struggles for health and safety and equality, domestic violence affects the lives of our members both on and off the job.
Domestic violence can affect your workplace in many ways, ranging from disruptive phone calls, harassing emails, threats, inappropriate visits from an abuser and violent confrontations. As recent workplace incidents have proven, domestic violence can have deadly consequences.
Many union members are victims or survivors of domestic violence. Unions have an important role in supporting members, challenging domestic violence and ensuring employers live up to their obligations. One way unions can do this is by negotiating collective agreement language on domestic violence. Another is to provide education and training that breaks the silence about partner abuse.
The Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) recognizes that domestic violence is a trade union concern. Unions must ensure that work is safe for everyone. Unions protect the rights of all workers, and if one worker is vulnerable, then all workers are affected.
This guide sets out some actions unions can take in addressing domestic violence with a focus on bargaining protections on domestic violence.