32 years later, we still need safer workplaces, safer schools and safer homes. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated gender-based violence and violence against women. Our members working on the front-lines in health care and social services – most of whom are women, newcomers,  Black, Indigenous, or racialized – have reported a surge in violence and harrasment at work. Rates and risks of domestic violence have also spiked.

As we fight gender-based violence at home and at work, we also need to tackle violence within the labour movement. Too many workers – especially women and workers who experience oppression – have been subjected to violence and harassment in union spaces.

Earlier this year, CUPE’s National Executive Board established a National Safe Union Spaces Working Group, comprised of women members of the NEB. The Working Group is mandated to address serious concerns about gender-based violence and other forms of harassment and discrimination in our union. It will look at ways to make CUPE union spaces safer and more welcoming for everyone.

The National Safe Union Spaces Working Group reported to National Convention in November and has committed to making recommendations on bystander intervention and consent, anti-harassment training and education, harassment and violence complaint procedures, and more. This work is central to CUPE’s Strategic Directions 2021-2023.

On this day, and every day, we join those across the country demanding an end to gender-based violence everywhere that it occurs.

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