Adapted from “Domestic Violence: A Union Issue. A Workplace Training Kit for Unions”, Urban, B.Y. & Wagner, K.C. (2000), San Francisco, CA: Futures Without Violence.
Unions can lend their political influence and leverage to local, state or national initiatives working to improve the lives of members affected by domestic and sexual violence and stalking. For example, some unions have testified at city government hearings to demonstrate their support for legal protections for working women who are victims of violence.
Passage of union resolutions related to domestic and sexual violence at conventions, or other forums such as the central labor council or state AFL-CIO, give visibility to an otherwise invisible problem. Unions could promote actions that include the following:
- Provide education to members, shop stewards, officers, executive boards, and union staff about domestic and sexual violence and stalking
- Negotiate contract language that supports survivors such as job security, leaves of absence, transfers, worksite security, leave to attend court hearings, seek legal advice, obtain medical care or counseling, or plan for safety
- Support funding for community-based services for victims
- Lobby for legislative initiatives to ensure economic independence for victims, such as protection from employment discrimination, leave provisions, and access to unemployment insurance benefits