·  Media Release

Twenty-five Years Since December 6: We Must Do More, say Steelworkers

TORONTO – On the 25th anniversary of the Montreal massacre, violence is still too present in the lives of Canada's women and girls, says the United Steelworkers (USW).

"Recent newscasts are full of stories of physical violence against women," said Ken Neumann, USW National Director in a statement marking December 6, the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence against Women. "Canadians are engaging in a vigorous and progressive debate about how to end all these forms of violence."

Last week, Canada's unions, including the United Steelworkers, released results of a nationwide survey looking at the impact of domestic violence on our work lives, the first-ever Canadian survey on domestic violence in the workplace. 

"The initial results from this study are shocking and demand action," said Neumann.

One third of the workers surveyed, predominantly women, have experienced domestic violence in their lifetimes. Of these, just over half say that the violence followed them to the workplace. Almost 10 per cent of workers who experience domestic violence say it contributed to them quitting a job.

"With all that unions have won over the years - anti-harassment policies, amendments to health and safety laws aimed at eliminating workplace violence - obviously much more needs to be done," said Neumann.

"Together with other Canadian unions, the Steelworkers will use the national survey results to develop new strategies and programs," he added.

Steelworkers are activists in the struggle to end violence against women. Women of Steel committees and local unions support their community women's shelters. The USW has helped fund the development of a blueprint for a national action plan to end violence against women.

The USW endorses the call for a national inquiry into missing and murdered aboriginal women. And we will call on political parties to do their part to make Canadian society free of violence and harassment against women and girls.

The USW is participating in the YWCA's #NOTokay campaign, encouraging our members to speak out against violence against women, to call out incidents or behaviour that is not okay.

"As long as students like Rinelle Harper spend time in intensive care, rather than in school, we all must do more. As long as girls lower their hopes for the future because of sexist insults and demeaning media images of women, our work must continue," said Neumann.

"This is a struggle that we must take on at the ballot box and at the bargaining table, in our living rooms and in our meeting rooms. I'm up for the struggle. I ask you to join me."


Ken Neumann, USW National Director, 416-544-5951
Denis St. Pierre, USW Communications, 416-544-5990, dstpierre@usw.ca
Kim Hume, USW Communications, 416-544-6002, khume@usw.ca

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