Educational support staff at the Edmonton Catholic School Board, members of Unifor local 52A, recently voted to accept a new collective agreement.
“We took an important step forward with this deal,” said Wilma Ellenburgh, President of Local 52A. “It’s a very difficult job and this collective agreement helps to address concerns that the workers aren’t paid or treated as well as they should be.”
The 1,132 members, 97 per cent of whom are women, notably secured Unifor’s Women’s Advocate Program, where specially trained workplace representatives assist women with concerns such as workplace harassment, intimate violence, and abuse. The four-year agreement also consists of a one per cent wage increase in September of this year and a two per cent wage increase the following year.
“We had lengthy discussions about how members are treated and what they deserve,” said Ellenburgh. “We really believe we achieved something with the contract’s language on violence in the workplace and the Women’s Advocate.”
Unifor’s groundbreaking Women’s Advocate program has been negotiated in numerous workplaces across the country and has proven to be instrumental in creating and working towards healthier and safer workplaces, harassment-free workplaces. A Women’s Advocate is a specially trained workplace representative who assists women with concerns such as workplace harassment, intimate violence and abuse. The Women’s Advocate is not a counsellor but rather provides support for women accessing community and workplace resources.
Dating back to 2013 the union has received international recognition for the program that is established with employer in bargaining. Unifor was asked to present to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women and has since seen other unions around the world interested in adopting this program. To learn more about the program and how you can negotiate Women's Advocate language, click here.