United Steelworkers: More than just business unionism.
The United Steelworkers who represent the Rivercrest Care Centre workers in Alberta have negotiated a very interesting paid leave for its members. They have negotiated paid leave for domestic violence.
Is this a good thing or bad thing? Does it force the employee to disclose too much? Is good to get it so out in the open?. It is hard to answer the above questions when you do not know what the issue is.
The issue is domestic violence.
Ray White, president of Local 1-207, said that “the contract language is a first for the union in Alberta.” In 2016, Manitoba passed a law that allows “workers who have been with the same employer for at least 90 days to take leave to seek medical attention for themselves or their children, to contact police or a lawyer or to move to a safe place.” Unions in Alberta have been trying to get the Alberta Government to do the same, but they have decided to take the matter to the collective bargaining table. As a result, they have been able to negotiate a better deal that provides for not just any leave but a paid leave for domestic violence.
From an employee wellness perspective it seems a very sensible and reasonable benefit for employees. It will be interesting to see the usage of this domestic violence leave. On one hand it is great for the employee to have the support of the employer and to have financial resources that may assist the individual to deal with the domestic violence. On the other, if it has significant utilization there is a bigger issue in the community which may be greater than the employer can be responsible for.
It is good to see that unions and employers are still willing to sit down, talk and create some innovative language that could be very beneficial for those employees who need social, moral and financial support on this particular issue.
- Partner up and debate this issue of paid domestic violence leave in the workplace. Is it needed? Does it force the employee to discourse too much personal information? Could this type of leave be provided under other existing benefits?