Atlantic Regional Director Lana Payne spoke with CBC’s Island Morning in PEI about Unifor’s groundbreaking Women’s Advocate program. Citing the need for safer workplaces free from harassment, Payne spoke about the recent agreement with Bell Aliant to train four advocates, one in each Atlantic Province, to be able to respond and intervene in cases of workplace harassment or domestic and intimate violence against women.
“[Women’s Advocates] are really instrumental in creating and working towards healthier and safer workplaces, harassment-free workplaces,” said Payne in an interview with CBC’s Laura Chapin. “They have received significant training to be able to support women with resources and to be able to intervene with the employer where needed."
Unifor has negotiated 311 Women’s Advocates in workplaces across the country, including the four most recent in the Bell Aliant workplaces. Unifor was also asked in 2013 to present on this program to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women and has seen other unions around the world interested in adopting this program.
“Some great women in our union suggested that If we started having workplace representatives that dealt with this issue of violence and harassment against women, it would prompt a discussion at the collective bargaining table and a deeper conversation with employers but also with our members,” Payne said, emphasizing how important these conversations are toward changing society’s understanding of this all-too-common issue.
Bell Aliant has demonstrated interest in the program and told the CBC: “We are pleased to support Unifor’s Women’s Advocate program as part of our new collective agreement and we look forward to collaborating to implement this important and progressive program in our workforce."
To listen to a podcast of this interview please email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will send you a link.