Domestic Violence at Work | Canadian Labour Congress

Domestic Violence at Work | Canadian Labour Congress.

initial findings on domestic violence survey

Canadian employers lose $77.9 million annually due to the direct and indirect impacts of domestic violence, and the costs, to individuals, families and society, go far beyond that. However, we know very little about the scope and impacts of this problem in Canada.

The Canadian Labour Congress partnered with researchers at the University of Western Ontario and conducted the first ever Canadian survey on domestic violence in the workplace. We did this because there is almost no data on this issue in Canada and we know that women with a history of domestic violence have a more disrupted work history, are consequently on lower personal incomes, have had to change jobs more often, and more often work in casual and part time roles than women without violence experiences.

Being a perpetrator of domestic violence also significantly impacts a worker and their workplace. A recent study found that 53% of offenders felt their job performance was negatively impacted, 75% had a hard time concentrating on their work, and 19% reported causing or nearly causing workplace accidents due to their violent relationship. Their behaviours lead to a loss of paid and unpaid work time, a decrease in productivity, and safety hazards for their co-workers.

Here are some of the things we learned from this survey:

Experiences of Domestic Violence

prevalence and gender

A third (33.6%) of respondents reported ever experiencing domestic violence from an intimate partner, and there were differences by gender (figure 2).

Aboriginal respondents, respondents with disabilities, and those indicating a sexual orientation other than heterosexual (e.g., lesbian, gay or bisexual) were particularly likely to have reported experiencing DV in their lifetime. In terms of indirect domestic violence experience, 35.4% of respondents reported having at least one co-worker who they believe is experiencing, or has previously experienced, domestic violence and 11.8% reported having at least one co-worker who they believe is being abusive, or has previously been abusive, toward his/her partner.

The Impact of DV on Workers and Workplaces

DV in the workplace

Of those who reported DV experience, 38% indicated it impacted their ability to get to work (including being late, missing work, or both).

In total, 8.5% of DV victims indicated they had lost their job because of it.  

Over half (53.5%) of those reporting DV experiences indicated that at least one type of abusive act occurred at or near the workplace. Of these, the most common were abusive phone calls or text messages (40.6%) and stalking or harassment near the workplace (20.5%; Figure 3).

Ultimately, stronger evidence will help to shape legislation, policies, and practices that promote violence prevention and safety in workplaces, that hold abusers accountable for their behaviour, and that lift the burden from victims so they need not deal with domestic violence alone.

Disclosure of DV in the Workplace and Support Received

Overall, 43.2% of those experiencing DV reported they discussed it with someone at work. There are apparent differences according to gender, with men being particularly unlikely to discuss domestic violence at work.  Among all respondents, 28% said they had received information about domestic disclosure of dv in the workplace

violence from their employer. Among unionized respondents, 27.2% received information about domestic violence from their union.

Only 10.6% of all respondents think that employers are aware when domestic violence is affecting their workers, but among those who said yes, 62.3% believe employers act in a positive way to help workers experiencing domestic violence. Similarly, only 11.3% of all respondents think union officials are aware when domestic violence is affecting members, and among them, 86.6% believe unions act in a positive way to help members.

Where do we go from here?

This research has identified the scope and impact of domestic violence on workers and workplaces, but is only a first step. Immediate next steps include encouraging use of these results by governments, unions and employers to establish proactive practices to address the impact of domestic violence at work. Some immediate changes in the labour movement include:

The Yukon Teachers’ Association has negotiated special leave that can be used when workers need time off due to domestic violence.

The Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) has a network of social stewards who are provided training to develop listening skills, learn about available resources, and assist in prevention of a range of difficulties, including family-related problems. The program is particularly effective in Quebec.

Download the entire report and learn more about what we are doing on this issue.

CLC Pacific Winter School 2015

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Submit your application for CLC Pacific’s legendary Winter School union training today!  

YEU invites our activists to apply for Labour training offered by the Canadian Labour Congress at Harrison Hot Springs each year. We have created a short list of eligible courses which will be considered for our Yukon applicants.  Please note that the courses listed below are the only courses which the Education Committee will consider for approval.

Are you interested in attending training at Harrison?  Want to know who is eligible to participate?

  • Have you been active in your Local, your Union or your workplace as a union representative or activist?
  • Are you a member of your Local Executive?
  • Are you a member of a PSAC North Regional Committee?
  • Are you a YEU Shop Steward?
  • Are you a Confidential Advisor or Union Counsellor?

If you can answer yes to any of the above questions, you are eligible to apply.

We have some expectations of those who are sent to Winter School for training, as the cost of travel, tuition and loss of salary comes from member dues. Our responsibility to those members means we expect trainees to participate in union activities and help share what they have learned while away.  A letter outlining what you’ve learned and how you intend to put that learning into practice upon your return is a requirement of the process.

Deadline to apply is Thursday December 11, 2014

How to Apply:

DO NOT APPLY DIRECTLY TO CLC PACIFIC. WE DO NOT USE THEIR ONLINE REGISTRATION PROCESS! (this is VERY important! (If you apply directly using their online forms we will not be able to review your application for approval.)

Please complete

1. THIS YEU EDUCATION APPLICATION FORM linked here for printing 

and return it to YEU by Thursday December 11th with the

2. CLC WINTER SCHOOL PAPER APPLICATION FORM linked here for printing.

Return both to Yukon Employees’ Union by mail, by hand, by fax to 667-6521 or by email to contact@yeu.ca .

Schedule of courses  HERE  (Each course takes the full week; please select  your first and second choices.)

Week 1 ~ January 18 – 23
Week 2 ~ January 25 – 30
Week 3 ~ February 1 – 6
Week 4 ~ February 10 – 13 (Professional Development Week; runs Tuesday to Friday)
Week 5 ~ February 15 – 20

Eligible Courses:

Collective Bargaining Level 1: This course develops a solid understanding of the bargaining process and the factors that affect collective bargaining. The course provides opportunities to practice preparing for and negotiating parts of a collective agreement. The course covers a working knowledge of the laws and rules that structure the bargaining process. This course will be of interest to new bargaining committee members and local union officers. You may want to bring a calculator for this course.

Facing Management: This course offers an opportunity to learn new skills, tactics, and strategies for unions to use in joint labour-management committees. This is a perfect course for newer activists that want to learn more about union-management relations, traditional and modern management theories and systems, and the history of work organization. Communication skills, group dynamics training, and conflict resolution skills will be emphasized. The course offers hands-on practice sessions in skill-building techniques so that you will be as comfortable in the boardroom as you are at a union meeting.

Bullying and Harassment: Responsibility for bullying in the workplace is shared between workers, the employer, and the union.  This course will explore different approaches and tools to address bullying in the workplace, from education programs, legislation, workplace policies and procedure, grievances, and other means within the collective agreement language like labour management committees.  The course will also explore the relationship and differences between legislation covering bullying and harassment.  We will also look at what the rest of Canada is doing on the topic of bullying and pull examples and lessons from their experiences.  Finally, we will review the new BC Legislation put out by WorkSafe and the implications of this language for OHS Committees and WorkSafe WCB claims.

Parliamentary Procedure and Public Speaking: This is a two-part course. Parliamentary Procedure covers how to run a meeting effectively, the duties of a chairperson and secretary, and how rules of order can provide a democratic and fair process to get the business of the union accomplished. Public Speaking covers how to speak persuasively to various groups and how different formats are used to speak at convention, debates, and impromptu gatherings.

Return to Work: This course is designed to equip participants with tools and strategies for successful work reintegration outcomes.  Participants will explore leading research and learn the principles of good work reintegration practices and the duty to accommodate.  The course has a strong focus on the analysis and interpretation of human rights obligations and particularly the duty to accommodate.  Barriers to successful work reintegration are addressed with a focus on attitudinal barriers and their elimination using the social model of disability and therapeutic return to work principles.  An in-depth comparison, between older methods of disability management and the newer, progressive disability prevention model, is presented and participants learn about the paradigm shift from management to prevention.

Steward Training Level 1: The steward is often the main point of contact between the union, its members, management, and the larger labour movement. This course builds the skills, confidence, and knowledge a steward needs to represent their members. Participants will learn the roles and responsibilities of their position as stewards, the handling of grievances and complaints, problem-solving skills, protecting contractual provisions in the collective agreement, and current issues for stewards.

Steward Training Level 2: This course is for chief stewards, business and assistant business managers, local officers, and stewards with considerable experience handling grievances. You will practice more advanced grievance handling skills using real life case studies and role plays. Participants will discuss discipline grievances, harassment, drug and alcohol issues, and different styles of management. The course will deal with procedures before the process of arbitration. Knowledge of the first stages of the grievance process will be assumed. (Steward Training Level 1 is a pre-requisite)

Successful Meetings: Parliamentary Procedure: This course focuses on the nuts and bolts of how to run union meetings at the local level.  Not only will you learn the basics of Parliamentary Procedure but we’ll also discuss how to make committees and other small groups work more effectively.  We’ll also explore new meeting formats and how to use our time in meetings to get tasks done.

Transforming Conflict into Union Activism: Transforming Conflict into Union Activism approaches conflict in a novel way.  It recognizes that conflict isn’t always negative but that it is the outcome of the conflict that is negative or positive.  The course will teach participants how to listen to people involved in a conflict, get to the root causes of a conflict, and how to coach people involved in a conflict to identify shared interests.  Participants will learn how to use those shared interests to help people involved in a conflict find solutions and turn the conflict and shared interests into union activism.

Union Activism for a Green Economy: The labour movement wants a prosperous green future for ourselves, our members, and our families.  This new and innovative course examines how we can work together within the labour movement and with our social justice partners to advance economic and environmental initiatives that provide good, greener jobs in both the public and private sector.  We will develop strategies to work in coalition with environmental groups and examine new negotiating challenges being faced at the bargaining table around climate change and the developing green economy.

Using Modern Tools to Talk with your Members: Beginning with an internal union communications audit, this course will teach participants how to use a variety of communications tools in order to reach union members with the union’s message and culminate with a custom internal communications plan.  The course will take a look at websites, newsletter/bulletin design and writing skills, crafting effective emails, starting and managing email lists, and basic poster design.  Participants will also learn the basics of taking great photos and producing short, engaging videos to better communicate with their union members.

Women’s Health & Safety in the Workplace: All workers face health and safety issues at work – injuries, workplace hazards, disease, and stress. Many of these issues also have a gender dimension – they affect women’s bodies in particular ways. In this course, participants will discuss and learn abut how women’s health (including reproductive health) is affected by toxic workplace substances, the way work is often designed to fit men’s bodies, and workplace stresses such as violence and harassment. The program gives participants skills for assessing workplace hazards, and provides participants with key health and safety principles (hazard control, precautionary principles, right to refuse, right to know, and the right to participate). This program is geared to women who are health and safety committee members, and to all women who want to know more about how to make our workplaces and lives safer and healthier.

Women in Leadership: This course offers union women an opportunity to develop and enhance their leadership skills and knowledge in a variety of current and emerging labour issues. A major component of the course will cover communication and motivational skills that are important for women activists.

Young Workers in Action: This course is designed to give young union activists the skills they need to be effective in their workplace. The course will cover public speaking, how meetings are run, how to read your contract, grievance handling, and basic collective bargaining process. Participants are requested to bring a copy of their collective agreement.

Critical Incident Stress: Although we hope that incidents and accidents in the workplace never occur, quite often they do and the Union is challenged to help its’ members deal with the impacts and aftermath. This course develops an understanding of critical incident stress and how it can affect people. From there, the course helps unions develop a critical incident stress response system which can be implemented in the workplace. Participants will examine key elements of critical incident response systems, including a review of collective agreement language covering emergency responders and other workers. Finally, the course will look at what challenges exist within the health and WCB system which requires our advocacy action, to make change happen.

Candidate Development for Women: Are you a women who has been elected in your local union, provincial, or community organization? Are you looking to increase your support base and engage a wider audience? Have you run or considered running in a municipal, provincial, or federal campaign? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then this course is for you!  This course is a next step for women leaders, designed to address the real challenges women candidates face and will introduce ways to balance the day to day challenges in the face of high stress campaigns. Bringing together leaders from various sectors, communities, and levels of government, participants will take away new ways of campaigning, strategic planning, and framing our message. By building on communication and presentation skills, participants will leave with tools to best communicate their message in on camera interviews, face to face debates, and with new media.

Campaigning in a Modern Era:  The evolution of campaign techniques is a continuous process.  From time to time it is imperative that we look at what has worked in the past and what has not.  This course will analyze the effectiveness of traditional campaign tactics.  Additionally, the course will look at new communication and organizing tactics implemented in Canada and other jurisdictions and offer an open discussion on how we can create modern, effective tools to help us win.

Contact YEU if you have any questions about your eligibility, the application process or any other query related to Winter School 2015.  Thank you!