KIMBERLEY, B.C., – United Steelworkers (USW) Local 1-405 reached a three-year agreement with Trickle Creek Resort and parent company Resorts of the Canadian Rockies that includes domestic violence leave provisions for the first time.
“For the first time, there is language that specifically deals with domestic and family violence,” said Jeff Bromley, lead negotiator for Trickle Creek Lodge employees. “In a workplace that is predominantly female, that process and protection outlined in their collective agreement is a good resource to draw on should the employee and the employer ever encounter it.”
The union was also able to negotiate wage increases of 5% over three years along with improvements in vacation, health-care coverage and bereavement leave. Members voted to ratify the new deal on Jan. 18.
“Steelworkers are having success and building momentum around domestic violence leave provisions,” said Steve Hunt, USW Western Canada Director. “Provincial governments will have to follow suit, so all employees will have these protections.”
Workplace domestic violence leave provisions provide those experiencing violence with time off for legal, medical, counselling or other appointments without jeopardizing their employment. Leave provisions maintain confidentiality while reducing the stigma often experienced by those in domestic violence situations.
The Province of Manitoba added domestic violence leave provisions to employment standards legislation in 2016. A private member’s bill is under consideration in Ontario. Members of USW Local 1-207 at Rivercrest Care Centre in Fort Saskatchewan, Alta., negotiated domestic violence leave provisions for the first time, ratifying their contract Jan. 18.
Since March 2016, Steelworkers have successfully negotiated domestic violence leave provisions in seven contracts in three provinces: B.C., Alberta and Ontario.
The focus on domestic violence leave provisions is the work of an anti-violence initiative by the USW National Women’s Committee – Let’s End Violence Against Women and Girls. The initiative includes a presentation, brochures, white ribbon pins and posters.
Members of the Steelworkers across the country are presenting the materials at membership meetings and in bargaining with employers to raise awareness, break the silence and take steps to end violence against women and girls.
Domestic violence against women and girls continues to be a problem in Canada, with one in three Canadian women over the age of 16 experiencing sexual assault in their lifetimes. Recent research found that domestic violence often follows people to work, putting safety and jobs at risk. Collective bargaining can play an important role in keeping people safe and supported at work.
USW Local 1-405 based in Cranbrook, B.C., is a diverse union representing over 1,200 workers in sawmills, pole plants, credit unions, insurance services, hotels, ski resorts and municipal workers in the East and West Kootenays.
For further information:
Steve Hunt, USW District 3 Director (Western Canada), 604-683-1117
Jeff Bromley, USW Local 1-405, 250-426-4871, 250-489-8995 (mobile), firstname.lastname@example.org
Bob Gallagher, USW Communications, 416-544-5966, 416-434-2221, email@example.com