On December 6, 2014, Unifor recognizes the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women. We remember all women who have died as a result of gender-based violence. We remember the 14 women who were singled out and murdered on this day 25 years ago – 14 engineering students murdered solely because they were women.
And this December 6 – we recognize that although much has changed, violence against women still permeates our society. As people gather in communities across Canada to remember those who have died as a result of gender-based violence and to reflect on those still living with the daily reality of violence in their lives, Unifor recommits to taking concrete action to eliminate violence against all women and girls.
As a result of sustained, committed efforts towards changing attitudes within our workplaces and our communities, our union has made many positive changes at the bargaining table in the 25 years since 1989.
We have negotiated anti-harassment policies, complaint procedures, right to refuse work based on harassment, harassment prevention training, and the ground-breaking, internationally-recognized Women’s Advocate program. All have assisted women experiencing gender based violence in their lives.
But as a union, we know that violence against women cannot be resolved at the bargaining table alone. Our efforts will continue to extend beyond the workplace and we will challenge ourselves to do more.
On December 6, 2013, Unifor, in collaboration with the Canadian Labour Congress and Western University’s Centre for Research to End violence Against Women and Girls, jointly launched a nationwide survey titled ‘Domestic Violence at Work: Can Work be Safe When Home Isn’t?’. Unifor pledges to use this research and recommendations to help inform our strategies around bargaining language to support those dealing with domestic violence, including negotiating the Women’s Advocate program.
We will use these findings to advocate for progressive legislative change and in challenging governments, particularly around our call for a national action plan on violence against women, which must include an inquiry into missing and murdered aboriginal women and girls. We must hold governments of all levels to account on the issue of violence, particularly as it relates to missing and murdered aboriginal women. Federal action is needed, but without it, other action can still be taken locally.
On the 25th anniversary of the Montreal Massacre, we must not only speak up against the most horrific acts of violence but confront all forms of sexism and violence. Every day.
If equality is ever to be achieved, it means ending all forms or violence against women and girls.
Unifor Local 1359 has over 1359 members and represents the City of Sault Ste. Marie Paramedics, Sault Area Hospital, Pathways Retirement Residence, Extendicare Van Daele and Maple View Long Term Care Homes, Brinks Canada, USW Admin and Support Staff, Carillion Ellis Don, Lady Dunn Health Centre Wawa, St. Joseph’s General Hospital Elliot Lake, Camillus Centre Elliot Lake and Hillside Park Retirement Residence Elliot Lake.