December 6th National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence against Women
On this Day the Canada Labour Congress leads Labour groups in Remembrance of the fourteen women murdered in 1989 on a day that has become known as the Anniversary of the Montreal Massacre. CUPE member Maryse Laganiere was felled that day in a historic act of gender violence.
Workers in every sector of the economy continue to experience workplace violence. Sadly the CLC reports that in the last 10 years there has been a 40% increase in violence in workplaces. In the Airline Industry our work life is shrouded with the possibility of violence in the form of terrorism ever since 911, yet training for this change is minimal and pay and working conditions continue to be eroded by lack of government support through Health and Safety Regulations as well as the attack on our pay and working conditions by employers in the name of turning a profit.
In terms of employee on employee violence, recent incidents show a bias in protecting the alleged aggressor’s rights which is always the male. This lengthens the emotional stresses on female victims.
Our union has negotiated, Human Rights language, as well as language to assist members who are experiencing domestic violence, but recent experience may be telling us that we will need to expand this language in order to protect members and speed resolutions when violence and harassment occur.
Government actions are now turning the clock back, which makes our job of negotiating improvements difficult. In the past few months we have seen the Conservatives:
Cancel the Court Challenges Program, which allowed women and other equality-seeking Canadians to challenge discriminatory laws under the Canadian Charter.
Cut Status of Women Canada’s budget by 40%.
Impose new federal guidelines for funding under Status of Women which will prohibit women’s organizations from engaging in research or advocacy for women’s equality using federal funds.
Eliminate the provincial federal child care agreements. 70% of women with children under the age of five are employed.
Now more than ever it is important for our union to urge members to call on their parliamentarians to restore funding for programs that will contribute to stopping violence against women in Canada.
Submitted by Sheri Cameron Chair Women’s Committee