April 20, 2017
Unifor expresses its profound sadness at the death of Sarabeth Anne Forbes. She was a well-loved worker at Parkland Cape Breton, an assisted living facility in Sydney, Nova Scotia and member of Local 4600. She will be missed by her co-workers and residents alike.
News reports confirm that her common-law husband has been charged with first degree murder. While we acknowledge that he is innocent until proven guilty, this event reminds us that one woman in Canada is killed every six days by their current or former intimate partner.
This epidemic of violence against women has spurred us to launch a campaign for paid domestic violence leave in the workplace. We have bargained it in our collective agreements and now we are fighting to have it extended to all workplaces through employment standards legislation. Workers should not have to choose between their jobs and being safe.
We also continue to bargain our Women's Advocate program. Women's Advocates are trained peers who assist workers in seeking support to deal with abusive relationships. The groundbreaking Canadian survey Can Work Be Safe, When Home Isn't demonstrated that domestic violence follows workers to work, affects their co-workers and can lead to the loss of employment. Our union continues to fight to put supports, like the Women's Advocate, in place to help with this reality. We know that the number one indicator of safety is economic security.
We join with Sara Beth's family and co-workers in mourning her loss. We will continue our activism to end violence against women.