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Challenging sexual harassment and other abuses

As a result of recent events, the CMG has been trying to find more effective ways to help members who suffer harassment at work.

While formal complaints of sexual harassment are rare, we have learned some of the obstacles that keep people from coming forward. Those targeted, often women, may fear an investigation and subsequent loss of privacy will be more damaging than not reporting a problem.  We also know that temporary, insecure work is an aggravating factor. We are committed to working on solutions, including creating work environments where people are empowered to speak up.

We ask that you work with us to fight for job security and a voice at work for everyone, and to speak up and report inappropriate behavior or comments you witness.

What abuse looks like: many behaviours, from leering to comments to placing conditions on employment, can constitute harassment. Here is a list from the provincial human rights commission (http://www.cmg.ca/en/2014/12/16/defining-sexual-harassment/)

While employers are ultimately responsible for ensuring a safe, healthy, and harassment-free workplace, as union and community members we also have essential roles to play.

-When a line is crossed – it is up to each of us to speak up.  That means everything from making immediate interventions to registering a report that might lead to a formal investigation;

-Let’s make this a priority – Each workplace and department is different. You know best what is required where you work.

Here is what the CMG is working on:

-Creating new options for members/employees to report abuse in their work area (in addition to existing formal complaints processes). We need a reporting process that protects privacy and addresses fears of negative impacts;

-Establishing a larger formal network of Guild volunteers / stewards;

-Training for Guild activists, volunteers and members, on identifying and addressing workplace abuses effectively;

-More opportunities for members to connect, support and learn from other (including meetings, drop-ins, training sessions);

-Demanding our employers take steps to create healthy and harassment-free work environments;

-We can challenge abuses of power by working together. Fostering a culture of respect and supporting healthy workplaces requires we all hold our employers accountable, and speak up in support of each other;

-We continue to work with our employers on setting up better processes.

If you have questions, suggestions or concerns, please get in touch. You can start by reaching out to our national director of human rights and equity, Kam Rao (kam.cmgto@gmail.com – please note corrected email address) or CMG staff Representative Terri Monture (terri@cmg.ca) .

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