Employers must step up to the plate with training, policies, and support to protect workers from gendered violence and abuse at work, and to support survivorsRead more
National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women.
We remember the 14 women killed in the Polytechnique massacre, so that we continue to fight for a world without violence against women.Read more
AFL urges comprehensive plan at event to commemorate 23rd anniversary of tragedy
Edmonton - Alberta needs to address pay gap for women, according to AFL president Gil McGowan.
On Sunday, Dec. 2, at the annual Alberta Federation of Labour Women’s Committee December 6 Commemorative Brunch, McGowan said that to tackle the problem of violence against women, we need to address economic disparity between the genders.
“Violence against women can be seen as a manifestation of inequality between women and men. The murder of 14 women at Montreal’s École Polytechnique was about power and control,” McGowan said. “Canadians need to understand that inequality still exists. Sometimes we like to think that women’s equality has been achieved, but that assumption is belied by the facts.”
The majority of workers earning minimum wage are women, and women in Canada earn just 72 per cent as much as men do. At the same time, 83 per cent of all police-reported domestic assaults are against women. On any given day in Canada, more than 3,000 women are living in an emergency shelter to escape domestic violence.
“Women who are at an economic disadvantage have fewer resources to get away from a bad situation. Decreased wages and diminished opportunities don’t just contribute to violence, they are themselves a form of economic violence against women,” McGowan said, noting that Alberta in particular is not doing enough to curb any of these problems.
“Alberta is the only jurisdiction in Canada without a Minister responsible for the status of women or an advisory council on the status of women. Unsurprisingly, we are the most unequal province in Canada on a number of very important indicators.”
McGowan noted that Alberta women working in a non-union workplace earn just 70 per cent as much as men in comparable positions, while women who belong to a union earn 89 per cent as much as men in comparable positions.
“Women do better when they are unionized. Narrowing the gap between men and women is one of the great accomplishments of our movement,” McGowan said. “But the trouble is so few people in Alberta have a union.”
McGowan also called on the federal government to introduce a comprehensive national action plan to end violence against women in Canada, and to launch a national public inquiry into missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls.
“While Aboriginal women make up only 3 per cent of Canada’s female population, they make up 10 per cent of all murdered women,” McGowan said. “It’s time that the federal government took this issue seriously, and launched an inquiry.”
Gil McGowan, President, Alberta Federation of Labour at 780-218-9888 (cell)
Olav Rokne, AFL Communications Director at 780-289-6528 (cell) or via email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Action on violence against women must include the workplace – AFL: Toolkit for workers and employers provides extensive support for better violence education
Edmonton - The Alberta Federation of Labour marked December 6th with a call for employers, supervisors, workers, professional associations and unions to take joint action on domestic violence and its impact in the workplace.
"The basis for action should be the extensive toolkit developed by the Health Sciences Association of Alberta and Alberta Council of Women's Shelters," says Nancy Furlong, Secretary-Treasurer of the Alberta Federation of Labour, representing 140,000 workers across the province.
The issue of domestic violence and its impact upon the workplace has come to light in recent years.
In a recent Alberta study, more than 20 per cent of respondents reported they had experienced the impact of domestic violence in the workplace. In an Ontario study, 38 per cent of nurses reported a history of domestic violence. Another U.S. study of Fortune 500 companies found 18 per cent of women employees had experienced domestic violence.
The Alberta Council of Women's Shelters and Health Sciences Association of Alberta developed a toolkit, Everyone's Business, as a result of a five-year partnership that saw them consult with businesses and labour leaders across the province.
The toolkit provides a guide for employers, pamphlets aimed at workers and supervisors, and information cards. The guide for employers provides protocols, draft team member functions, a model workplace policy and a sample safety checklist for the worksite.
The toolkit recognizes that domestic violence has a range of impacts on the workplace, from absenteeism and productivity losses to a domestic partner actually perpetrating violence against an employee at work.
Alberta's Occupational Health and Safety (OS&S) code (Part 27, section 390) requires employers to develop policy and procedures respecting potential workplace violence. Section 391 of the Code requires employers to provide instruction on recognizing, response and reporting of violence.
"It is unclear if the province actually enforces this section of the code and how many employers in Alberta actually take domestic violence and its effect on the workplace seriously," says Furlong.
"This is why Alberta's unions are exercising leadership on violence prevention in the workplace. On December 6th, we must remember that violence against women affects us all, and in every aspect of our lives - including our workplaces," concludes Furlong.
Nancy Furlong, Secretary Treasurer, Alberta Federation of Labour - 780-483-3021; cell 780-720-8945
EDMONTON - The AFL will commemorate December 6th by holding an annual workshop to strategize concrete actions to eliminate violence against women.
This year will mark the 11th anniversary of the massacre of 14 women at L'ecole Polytechnique in Montreal. The women, all engineering students, were killed by a gunman on December 6, 1989.
"It is important that we honor these young women. Their deaths now symbolize the experience of so many women whose lives have been shattered by gender-based violence," says AFL President, Audrey Cormack.
"Each year, this day serves as a reminder that we need to resolve to end violence against women," says Cormack.
Cormack adds, "when 51% of Canadian women are victims of violence, it sends a clear message that there is still a lot of work to be done."
Since 1990, the Alberta Federation of Labour's Women's Committee has made a commitment to holding annual workshops to develop practical strategies that address the problem of violence against women. This year's workshop, "Action and Healing: It Starts With You" will be held on December 7th in Calgary.
"By bringing men and women together in these workshops to look at ways to end this violence, we are creating change. We are, in effect, giving people the tools they need to actively fight violence against women," says Cormack.
"It is through education, activism and collective action that we can begin to make some inroads - for the prevention and elimination of all forms of violence against women," says Cormack.
For further information contact:
Audrey M. Cormack, President @ 499-6530 (cell) / 483-3021 (wk) / 428-9367 (hm)
EDMONTON -The Alberta Federation of Labour (AFL) will be holding its fourth annual workshop dealing with violence against women on December 6, 1999 - the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women.
"Each year the Alberta Federation of Labour strives to bring the terrible social consequences of violence against women to the forefront of Albertans' minds," says AFL President Audrey Cormack. "Only by continuing our efforts to end violence against women can we truly commemorate the National Day of Remembrance and Action."
This year, the AFL is sponsoring a workshop that examines the workplace consequences of domestic violence. Delegates to the workshop will be presented with a panel discussion on various aspects of domestic violence. Panelists will include Sylvia Hawkins, Vice-President of the National Action Committee on the Status of Women (NAC); Heather Richards, Director of the Strathcona Shelter Society; and Glenda Malina, Staff Sergeant with the Edmonton Police Service.
"Our delegates will learn about different types and cycles of violence," says Cormack, "They will examine the legal ramifications of domestic violence, and they will learn how to identify and assist co-workers who are experiencing abuse at home."
The delegates will also participate in the unveiling of the new Edmonton Women's Monument at 12:00 noon on December 6, 1999. The monument, entitled A Vision of Hope, is located in Mary Burlie Park, 97 Street & 104 Avenue in Edmonton.
"I'm very proud of the role labour has played in making this monument a reality," says Cormack. "The Alberta Federation of Labour and its Womens' Committee, the Canadian Auto Workers Union, the Canadian Union of Postal Workers, the Canadian Union of Public Employees, the Communications Energy and Paperworkers Union, the Edmonton & District Labour Council and the United Food and Commercial Workers Union all contributed to the monument."
But, Cormack warned that we still have a very long way to go as a society. "When you consider that 51% of women over the age of sixteen in Canada have experienced at least one incident of violence as defined in the Criminal Code, it is evident that we in labour and all Canadians must continue to educate and agitate and organize to put an end to domestic violence," she concluded. "We need to be active - not just on December 6th, but on every single day of the year."
For more information call:
Audrey Cormack, President @ 499-6530(cell)/483-3021(wk)/428-9367(hm)