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February 11, 2019

Building Worker Power: The Ya Basta Center

In 2015, the Frontline documentary Rape on the Night Shift exposed the widespread vulnerability of women janitors to sexual assault and rape on the job. As an organization that represents janitors, we at Service Employees International Union-United Service Workers West (SEIU-USWW) had to ask ourselves where these cases were, and why weren’t women coming forward to report to them to the union? Our janitor leaders, many of whom were survivors of rape and assault, developed a plan to screen the documentary with union members across the state to open up a dialogue. What they found was that many of the survivors of rape and sexual assault faced significant barriers when trying to report these crimes. These janitor leaders realized that they were in a unique position to change the industry because they understood the particular issues that janitors were facing. They called themselves Promotoras and said “ya basta” to rape on the night shift.

February 11, 2019

Teen Experiences with Workplace Sexual Harassment

Early employment experiences shape future career pathways. For young workers, adolescent girls in particular, early experiences of workplace sexual harassment can have negative ripple effects throughout their careers resulting in changed career paths, lower lifetime earnings, and increased vulnerability to workplace harassment and violence in the future.

The Top 10 Things Unions Can Do Right Now to Address Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

Unions were established to promote dignity, equality, and respect for all workers. As such, unions have an important role to play in creating safer, and more supportive and accountable workplaces. Unions are in a unique position: they have the power to influence how employers address harassment in workplaces where they have collective bargaining relationships or where they are organizing.

Honoring Workers This Labor Day and Ending Sexual Violence

We are proud to work with a coalition of anti-violence advocates, union leaders, worker advocates and women worker leaders—the Ya Basta! Coalition—to advance the workplace safety and dignity of women and other workers vulnerable to experiencing sexual violence and harassment in the janitorial industry, and improve conditions for all workers.

Let’s Snatch Violence and Intimidation Out Of Congress

Passionate disagreements are a normal and acceptable part of our discourse. But harassing, intimidating, or threatening a colleague is wrong, even within the throes of political debate. The use of abusive tactics of fear and intimation to scare an opponent into agreement cannot be tolerated.

Domestic Violence: What Workplaces Don’t Know Can Hurt Everyone

In my role with Workplaces Respond to Domestic and Sexual Violence, a National Resource Center funded by a Department of Justice grant through the Office on Violence Against Women, I talk with managers, supervisors, and workers about how domestic violence impacts their workplaces. During these discussions, I am often asked “What does my coworker’s private life have to do with me and our workplace?”

May Day: Honoring Our Workers

Workers make up the backbone of the American economy, yet continue to face dangerous work environments. The fight for safer workplaces includes traditional protections like access to safety equipment and training, but should also include protections from the workplace effects of sexual and domestic violence.

Tackling Workplace Violence: A Recap of our #Saferatwork Convening

My voice quavered as I read those words aloud and asked more than 70 union leaders and workers’ rights advocates who attended Reimagining Workplace Safety to assume the role of a vulnerable woman worker. I knew that I was about to read unsettling descriptions of violence and exploitation arising from and affecting the workplace. And the expressions on the participants’ faces showed that they were already starting to empathize with the lack of options available to women who have no choice but to work for low wages and are particularly vulnerable to domestic violence, sexual violence, sexual harassment, and stalking both at the workplace and at home.