Unifor continues to make community connections to work towards solutions to workplace sexual harassment. Véronique Prévost, Ontario Women’s Committee chair and Vice President of Local 6004, is part of an Ottawa-based movement, Order’s Up, a collective that focusses on equipping employers and workers with the tools to prevent and address workplace harassment.
The Order’s Up initiative began with anti-violence advocates, service industry workers and community activists like Prévost joining forces in response to the prevalence of the harassment in the service and hospitality industry. The precarious nature of the work make reporting difficult, inaccessible and risky. “When women speak up and try to talk about the harassment at work, they feel scared and alone. As a union we believe that by working together collectively, we can bring positive changes to these workplaces,” said Prévost. “It’s about working together in solidarity to change the culture in these institutions, which are perpetrating sexual harassment. But in order for this to work, we need owners and managers to step up and do what’s right.” Prévost’s union experience was helpful in pointing out the need for clear policies, reporting structures and support for workers.
Order’s Up goes beyond headlines, shaming and blaming, and focuses on solutions to the everyday experiences of sexual harassment and gender-based violence that plague food service workers. A partnership with Erin Gee of the feminist Bad + Bitchy Podcast, and Karen Cocq, from Fight for $15 and Fairness helped to establish the Order’s Up platform that offers anonymous reporting options and a pathway to community resources for affected workers. Funding was made possible through a grant from the Status of Women Canada brought together the Sexual Assault Network, the Ottawa Coalition to End Violence Against Women and Unifor in an alliance.
“By staying silent, we risk people’s mental health deteriorating, which means a loss in productivity and a decrease in their self-worth,” said Gee. “We all deserve to feel safe in our workplaces. We have a responsibility to keep this conversation going and we all have the power to make a difference.”
Learn more about Order’s Up at: https://www.ordersupottawa.com