No one should have to face violence at work.
Unfortunately, for many CUPE members—who work in schools, hospitals, social services and other public services across Alberta—this is an everyday reality. But violence should never be “just part of the job,” in public services or anywhere else.
It’s time to shine a light on the experiences of our membership and take action to address and prevent violence in the workplace. Here are three things you can do right now to help:
1. TAKE ACTION
Break the silence around violence in the workplace. Print or order CUPE’s “It’s not part of the job” poster to post on your union notice board. You can also order stickers and buttons for members of your local.
2. TELL YOUR STORY
Have you experienced violence in the workplace? Your experience and insights are important to us! We’re collecting real stories from members across Alberta in order to break the silence around workplace violence and to help us all better understand this important issue—and employers’ obligation to prevent it.
3. KNOW YOUR RIGHTS
Your employer has a responsibility to ensure a workplace free of violence, but first you need to know your rights. Workers in Alberta saw dramatic and positive changes to health and safety legislation come into effect on June 1, 2018. With the passage of Bill 30, the Alberta government has overhauled the Occupational Health and Safety Act for the first time in over 40 years. Find out what this means for CUPE members and other workers:
- Your Rights and Employer Duties – The Alberta government has enshrined the basic rights of workplace health and safety in the updated OHS Act. Get to know the Four Rights workers have under the law.
- The Right to Refuse – The language and process for dealing with work refusal has changed in Alberta’s updated OHS Act. Find out more about the new rules.
- Response to a Violent Incident – Employers have an obligation to provide a safe workplace and must take steps to prevent violence. If there has been an incident of violence in your workplace there are specific steps established by Provincial or Federal Legislation an employer must follow—find out what they are.
Violence: It’s not part of the job
CUPE has many practical resources to help prevent violence in the workplace and help members advocate for better working conditions. Want to get more involved? Here’s where to start:
Put it on the agenda. Your employer has a responsibility to ensure a workplace free of violence. It’s our job to make sure they fulfill that obligation. Put the issue as a standing item on the agenda of health and safety committee meetings. If you don’t have a committee, establish one. If that isn’t enough, put it on the agenda for labour-management meetings, too.
Request training. Make sure your local executive, stewards and other activists have the skills they need to help address concerns in the workplace. Browse CUPE’s Health and Safety workshops and find CUPE Education opportunities in your area.
Empower your health and safety committee. CUPE representatives on your joint health and safety committees have a big role to play in identifying workplace hazards that increase the risk of violence. Make sure they have the tools they need, like our guide to preventing violence and harassment in the workplace.
Get to know Alberta’s updated OHS Act. In June 2018, the Alberta government overhauled the province’s Occupational Health and Safety Act for the first time in over 40 years. Find out more about the updated Act and how it impacts CUPE members and other workers in Alberta.
About this campaign
This campaign is an initiative of CUPE Alberta’s Equality and Justice Committee. All members have the right to work in a safe environment, and CUPE Alberta is committed to addressing and preventing violence in the workplace.
We hope this campaign brings attention to the lived experiences of our members, provides our membership with practical tools for addressing workplace violence, and empowers all CUPE members to become advocates for their working conditions.