Inspired by the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, Unifor continues to act to support women facing harassment and violence in and out of the workplace. In December, Unifor Local 114 and Clipper Navigation reached an agreement with significant gains to wages and improvements to address precarious work schedules and, importantly, Paid Domestic Violence Leave language.
“We are thrilled the company and union worked together to include paid domestic violence leave for workers at Clipper Navigation,” said Barbie Zipp, Local 114 bargaining committee member and BC Women’s Committee Chair. “Through my work with the union, I know how workplace protection like this can be life-saving and be the support someone needs to flee a dangerous situation.”
Zipp, along with fellow bargaining committee member MacKenzie Planedin and National Representative Jim Dixon, championed Paid Domestic Violence Leave during bargaining and they are hopeful it sends an important message to other employers and to the BC government that paid leave days are vital to every workplace.
Unifor Local 114 and the employer agreed to Paid Domestic Violence Leave for up to five days for cases involving an employee and/or an employee's child. Both the Union and the employer recognized that domestic violence is a workplace issue and working together to incorporate this language into the collective agreement provides employees economic security to make life-changing decisions.
A 2015 study commissioned by the Conference Board of Canada states that 71 per cent of employers have had to protect a victim of conjugal violence. Members of Unifor Women’s Committees across the country continue to push for stronger legislative protections and bring stronger supports to survivors.
“Domestic violence doesn’t end when you leave the home,” said Lisa Kelly, Unifor Women’s Director. “Our union continues to bargain Women’s Advocates and make sure domestic violence leave is paid so that more women can access the resources they need to escape and find safety. Governments and employers are coming on board, but more work is needed every day to end gender-based violence and put firm supports in place.
British Columbia was the last province to introduce Domestic Violence Leave in Labour the standards, but the leave is unpaid. All provinces have included paid days, with the exception of British Columbia and Alberta. This bargaining breakthrough will help us push British Columbia to introduce paid leave.
Unifor is committed to establishing workplace programs and working conditions that protect its members in and out of their place of work, not just on December 6, but every day.
Read more about Unifor’s ground-breaking initiatives to support workers facing domestic violence here.