What can Unions do?
Adapted from Domestic Violence: A Union Issue. A Workplace Training Resource Kit for Unions.1
Unions have a key role to play in dealing with the workplace effects of violence by educating and assisting members, employers and policymakers.
In 2001, the AFL-CIO’s Executive Council issued a resolution recognizing domestic violence as a workplace issue, and that employment is the key to victims’ economic self-sufficiency. Some unions have pledged to address domestic and sexual violence as a part of their social justice and political agenda. (See suggested Pledge to Address Violence on this website.) Others have led the way by developing innovative educational materials and training programs, for union staff, officers and rank and file members. Model contract language has been drafted to ensure job security and to meet the needs of members affected by domestic and sexual violence.
Central labor councils and unions have passed resolutions in support of union efforts to fight domestic and sexual violence through education, collective bargaining and political action. Other unions have joined with domestic and sexual violence experts and elected officials in city and state governments to support legislative initiatives to expand protections and services for working women who experience domestic and sexual violence.
An early leader on this issue, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) and its International and Women’s Rights Department implemented a domestic violence awareness campaign for members in 1988. AFSCME and Futures Without Violence, formerly Family Violence Prevention Fund, created an important union domestic violence resource guide, applicable to all unions. For more information, please see the AFSCME guide: Domestic Violence: What Unions Can Do.
Click on each item below on this website to explore some concrete information and ideas on what your union can do.
- Regional and National Initiatives
- Advocating for Policy and Contract Language
- Education Training and Support
- Finding a Balance: Responses to Members Who Perpetrate Violence
- Urban, B.Y. & Wagner, K.C. (2000). Domestic Violence: A Union Issue. A Workplace Training Resource Kit for Unions. San Francisco, CA: Futures Without Violence. (415) 252-8900.