With the support of the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), Unifor Women’s Department Director Lisa Kelly gave a presentation to Brazil’s federal and regional Labor Courts about paid domestic violence leave and the Women’s Advocate program.
“Gender-based violence is an epidemic in Brazil, and trade unions, like airport workers’ union SINA, have brought solutions to the bargaining table,” said Kelly. “The judges of the Labor Court have the power to mediate collective agreement negotiations and to recommend items to be included, so we wanted them to know the success Canadian workplaces have had achieving paid domestic violence leave and with the Women’s Advocate program and encourage its adoption in Brazil.”
SINA is part of the ITF initiative to bring the Women’s Advocate program to their international affiliates. Women from SINA along with other unions in South America received the program training in 2018. From that training, they developed bargaining proposals that included 15 days paid domestic violence leave and awareness campaigns on domestic violence and its impact on the workplace.
SINA was successful in negotiating these clauses at the end of 2019 with the help of mediation chaired by a regional Labor Court judge. The Labor Court was interested in how to expand these clauses throughout Brazil.
“It’s important for unions to share knowledge and help each other in expanding programs like the Women’s Advocates to support workers around the world,” said Kelly. “Sharing our experiences at the bargaining table and the international trend toward recognizing domestic violence as a workplace issue can make it easier for others to make these important gains.”
Kelly’s presentation was very well received. The judges were enthusiastic with their questions and interested in workplace mechanisms to address domestic violence. The next mediation that deals with this clause in Brazil will take place on International Women’s Day and there is every expectation of success.
Read more about the ground-breaking Unifor Women’s Advocate Program and find information about upcoming program training dates through the Unifor Education Department.