Bell clerical workers ratify agreement that includes paid domestic violence leave
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TORONTO — Nearly 5,000 Unifor members at Bell Canada's clerical division have ratified a new collective agreement that gives Unifor jurisdiction over more current employees and includes paid domestic violence leave.
The national private-sector union says the four-year agreement includes wage increases, protections against job erosion and outsourcing, and adds more than 600 jobs to its bargaining unit that were previously not unionized.
Unifor says that over the past 10 years, clerical employees at Bell experienced a concerted strategy to cut the workforce that eliminated more than half of the jobs in the bargaining unit.
The union says mental health at work was also a central issue raised throughout the negotiations with clerical division at Bell.
Enforceable under a memorandum agreement on mental health, members who experiences domestic violence will be allowed to take paid time off of work — in this case up to five days, often used to move.
The memorandum also provides that where there is verification from a recognized professional, an employee who is in an abusive or violent situation will not be subject to discipline if the absence can be linked to the situation.
"Paid domestic violence leave is a benefit that is being negotiated by Unifor members across the country, in addition to women's advocates," said Josephine Petcher, Unifor national representative, in a statement.
"A woman should not have to choose between her economic security or her personal safety."
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