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.
What can you do?
- Use CUPE’s Stop Workplace Sexual Violence guide to raise awareness, support survivors and challenge sexual violence.
- Download and share CUPE’s Violence Prevention Kit.
- Organize or attend a December 6 event in your workplace or neighbourhood.
- Take part in the CLC’s campaign and write to your MP demanding the ratification of ILO C-190 – the world’s first global treaty on violence and harassment in the world of work.
- Bargain for paid leave and other protections for workers facing domestic violence. See CUPE’s Domestic Violence and the Workplace Bargaining Guide.
- Use the CLC’S Domestic violence at work resource centre, including a Canadian map of legislated leave.
- Push for a comprehensive, intersectional, fully-funded National Action Plan on gender-based violence.
- Lobby your provincial elected representative for domestic violence measures in occupational health and safety legislation. Currently, only Quebec, Ontario and Alberta have those protections.
- Support organizations like women’s shelters, Native Women’s Association of Canada, Canadian Council for Refugees, Migrant Workers Alliance for Change, or the Canadian Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity.
- Read the Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls and Answer The Calls by personally committing and participating in the Native Women’s Association of Canada’s 16 days of action campaign to challenge this genocide. Help CUPE hold governments and our own union to account on implementing the calls to justice.