Teamsters in Canada are active with a number of initiatives and efforts to improve the lives of women and their families.
Make it Mandatory: Teamster youth in Canada have launched an important social media campaign on mental health. The campaign seeks to raise awareness and make mental health support in the workplace mandatory. As women also often act as caretakers, they are disproportionately impacted. The campaign has already reached over a million people through social media and its website www.makeitmandatory.ca.
Taking Pregnant Workers’ Rights to the Supreme Court: Teamsters Canada is fighting for working women, bringing forward a case for review by the Supreme Court of Canada. The union claims that pregnant women working under federal jurisdiction who can’t perform their duties, and whose employers do not accommodate them with other tasks, should receive benefits from the Workers’Compensation Board.
“If a woman can’t fly as a flight attendant because of the air pressure, or a nurse can’t stand for hours in a hospital and expose the fetus to bacteria and illness, she can’t work. If her doctor says she cannot continue in that position during pregnancy, she can ask her employer for accommodation, but if it’s unavailable, she goes without pay. That’s not right,” said François Laporte, President of Teamsters Canada.
Laporte explained that women working under provincial laws in Québec receive benefits, however, in Canada, workers in trucking, rail, aviation and other essential industries fall under federal law.
“Two women can be neighbors, and one is protected and the other one isn’t. It’s injustice and we are fighting to change that for all women,” Laporte said.
Teamsters in the U.S. are also standing in support of pregnant workers. The Teamsters Union supports the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act to help ensure employers provide reasonable accommodations to pregnant women and end discrimination in the workplace that forces pregnant women out of their jobs.
Women on the March: March is Women’s History Month in the U.S. and Teamster women will be celebrating throughout the country, while Teamster sisters to the north will join us in commemorating International Women’s Day on March 8. Women’s History
Month is celebrated in October in Canada. Teamsters Women’s Caucuses in Québec and Ontario are organizing conferences to celebrate International Women’s Day.
More than 800 women will have a chance to meet and share their experiences with other Teamster sisters.
This article originally appeared in the February 2016 Teamsters Women’s News.