Every worker deserves fairness, respect and dignity on the job. And every worker deserves a union that will see to it that these rights are upheld.
Our message is strong and clear: harassment will not be tolerated. That is why when union representatives are sworn in, each of us commits to “promote a harassment and discrimination-free environment in our workplaces, union and community.” It is why our oath of office commits us to “ensure the human rights of all members are respected.” Speaking out for social justice in broader society starts with ensuring every member’s safety and dignity is protected in the workplace.
When a worker experiences harassment it can have devastating and long-lasting effects on the individual and her/his family. If harassment is not dealt with properly, this adds to the hurt. Left unchecked, harassment can also poison the workplace and undermine solidarity. Our union, Unifor, is committed to dealing with any and all incidents of workplace harassment, violence and bullying.
But just as we are committed to dealing with harassment, Unifor is equally committed to decreasing the likelihood that harassment will occur. Workplace harassment isn’t an ill wind that ‘blows in from the outside’ – it’s produced in our workplaces and we need to address factors that contribute to it – whether that’s speed-up; stressful, dangerous or hazardous conditions; job insecurity; unnecessary overtime; excessive supervision; job ‘ghettoes’ or discriminatory hiring. Reducing or eliminating working conditions that contribute to poisoned work environments and conflict is part of our overall workplace harassment prevention strategy. When we bargain vacation time and longer rest periods and job security we reduce the chances that our workplaces will become powder kegs. When we negotiate employment equity and seniority provisions we resist employer attempts to scapegoat, stereotype, or favour one group of workers over another. Preventing workplace harassment includes all of the work we do each day as a union to improve the lives of our members, build solidarity amongst workers, and develop respectful workplaces.
Our new union is tremendously diverse. We represent more women, workers of colour, religious minority members, lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans members, and people with disabilities than ever before. Our differences strengthen us. When all our members know that the union belongs to them and is there for them, we are a powerful force for creating greater equality in the workplace and society.