Statement of Solidarity with Trans Workers

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PSAC local 901 Response to March 5th Jordan Peterson Talk

Given recent events on campus, PSAC local 901 would like to take this opportunity to express our
solidarity with trans people in our campus community who may be experiencing heightened stress or
forms of harassment and discrimination in the wake of the March 5th Jordan Peterson Talk on campus.
Given the ways in which talks of this kind are liable to embolden those who would engage in these
behaviours, the 901 Executive would like to take this opportunity to:
a) Remind our members that our union meetings are governed by a harassment policy which has
language forbidding forms of harassment and discrimination on the basis of, among other
things, gender identity and expression; and
b) Inform our membership that the newly ratified Collective Agreement for Unit 1 (Teaching
Assistants and Teaching Fellows) includes language about workplace discrimination and
harassment.

 

a) PSAC local 901 begins each of its meetings with a Statement on Harassment, which is read aloud by either the Equity Officer or another union member. This statement is read in order to set a tone and a standard for respectful and non-discriminatory conduct within the context of our meetings and includes the following claim:

“Every member is entitled to be free from discrimination and harassment, both in the union and at the workplace, on the basis of age, sex, colour, national or ethnic origin, race, religion, marital status, criminal record, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, language, class or political belief.”

Let it be known that to refuse to use a member’s preferred gender pronouns in the context of a union meeting is a form of harassment that undermines the solidarity and cooperation which are the cornerstones of our union. We invite members who experience this form of discrimination to speak to that meeting’s designated harassment officer so that we can work together to find a resolution. Our approach is to start by working to informally resolve issues of this kind, but If this is not successful or possible, the Constitutional and policy mandates on the issue of harassment will be fully and quickly enforced.

b) Unit 1’s recently ratified collective agreement includes language covering workplace discrimination and harassment, particularly from one’s employment supervisor. This includes the use of “vexatious language” such as the persistent refusal to use the preferred pronouns of a Unit 1 worker. A worker who has been subject to harassment or discrimination in the workplace has the opportunity to either pursue their complaint with the University Human Rights Office, or to pursue a grievance with the support of the union.

“Workplace Harassment” is defined under the Occupational Health and Safety Act as engaging in a course of vexatious comment or conduct against another person or persons in the workplace or work-related third-party premises that is known or ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcome.  “Workplace Harassment” may include a pattern of behaviour, such as bullying, that causes humiliation, embarrassment, or intimidation.
Our union would like to do what we can to ensure that our workplaces and union meetings are
environments of mutual respect and solidarity. If you are experiencing discrimination on the basis of
gender identity or any other grounds of discrimination, please reach out to your department steward,
one of the chief stewards, or the equity officer so that we can work together to pursue a resolution.

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