CAW Reaffirms Commitment To Stop Violence Against Women

December 6, 2008

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CAW Reaffirms Commitment To Stop Violence Against Women
CAW Reaffirms Commitment To Stop Violence Against Women
dated December 6, 2008

Toronto Ontario
December 6, 2008

       On the 19th anniversary of the Montreal Massacre the CAW Council discussed the urgent need to continue its fight to make violence and harassment occupational hazards. The union has played a key role in advocating for women to have the right to refuse work when faced with threats of violence or harassment. Ontario is now close to enacting new workers' safety legislation.

Ken Lewenza
CAW President

       "We are close, provided we keep the momentum and we don't rest until we finally have legislative protection for women in the workplace. And then we expand that legislation protection and make sure we go into our homes and we just stop this insane violence against women once and for all. We owe it to the sisters in the union. We owe it to our daughters. And we owe it to women in society."

       Speaking at the CAW Council in Toronto December 6, Barb MacQuarrie, community director of the Centre for Research and Education on Violence against Women and Children at the University of Western Ontario said funding shelters, while important, is not enough.  

Barb MacQuarrie
University of Western Ontario

       "For a long time shelters were promoted as the primary community based response to domestic violence. But as advocates and counsellors have engaged with women who have experienced abuse and learned from them we began to understand the need to broaden the response. We need to reach out to the women who do not access shelter services. We need to better understand how to support poor women, women with mental health problems, immigrant and aboriginal women. We need to understand how to support healthy supportive relationships within families. We need to understand how we can prevent abuse."

       Sari Sairanen CAW Director of Health and Safety said the union has made progress with the government of Ontario to enact legislation but needs the union membership to finish the job. 

Sari Sairanen
Dir. CAW Health & Safety

       "I do urge all of you to put more pressure on the government. Keep the pressure constant so that they finally recognize this and in our lifetime we can walk away and say that violence has been eradicated from our workplaces and it is considered a hazard that has to be acted on. And the next level is going to be the Workers' Compensation Board to recognize violence."

       CAW members made it clear where they stood. 

Gary Parent
CAW Local 444

       "We have to commit ourselves in the Province of Ontario to make sure that women have the right to refuse the harassment and violent situations in any workplace across this province. And in fact right across this country once we get the legislation that is needed in the province of Ontario."

       The stress of job loss is also adding to the threat of violence against women. 

Mickey Bertrand
CAW National Representative

       "Where do they go when they leave the workplace when they are laid off? They go home. You've got the spouses, you've got the children, and you've got the family that sometimes bears the brunt of those unfortunate circumstances. So I ask you to do something and that is speak to your family. Speak to you friends. Speak to your brothers and most importantly speak to your sons."

       The delegates also unanimously endorsed a renewed effort to have women's advocates in every workplace to stop violence.

Cheryl Robinson
CAW Local 2002

       "A women's advocate in your workplace can absolutely help a sister that is dealing with that type of a situation. I highly recommend that everybody in this room go back to their workplaces and get it negotiated into your collective agreements.

Al Loyst
CAW Local 222

       "I challenge every man in this local. I've been in this local for 36 years, in this union, to go back to their workplaces and not just end the physical abuse, but the psychological abuse; make sure we get women's advocates in every plant because we need them."

CAW Fighting Back Makes A Difference.

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