Statement of Policy on Sexual Harassment
We have democratically passed tough, meaningful policies at our Conferences and conventions and negotiated such policies to protect our members. They are not just words. We take them seriously.
In addition to cooperation and understanding mutual respect must be the basis of interaction among trade unionists. The USW will neither tolerate nor condone behavior from its employees or from others doing business on USW property, such as vendors, that is likely to undermine the dignity or self-esteem of an individual, or create an intimidating, hostile or offensive environment.
One form of harassment that is particularly demeaning and intimidating is sexual harassment and the following policy shall apply to allegations of such harassment.
Sexual Harassment Policy
Sexual Harassment is not a joke. It creates feelings of uneasiness, humiliation and discomfort. It is an expression of perceived power and superiority by the harasser over another person. There are two principle fundamental to the trade union movement: human rights and solidarity. Sexual harassment strikes at the heart of both.
Sexual harassment is also illegal discrimination in both the United States and Canada. It is commonly defined as:
Unwanted sexual attention of a persistent or abusive nature, made by a person who knows or ought to know that such attention is unwanted; or
- implied or expressed promise of reward for complying with a sexually oriented request; or
- implied or expressed threat or reprisal, in the form either of actual reprisal or the denial of opportunity, for refusal to comply with a sexually oriented request;
- sexually oriented remark or behavior which may reasonably be perceived to create a negative or intimidating, hostile or offensive environment. Unwanted sexually directed sexually directed behavior can include:
- physical abuse (touching, pinching, cornering)
- verbal abuse (propositions, lewd comments, sexual insults)
- visual abuse (display of pornographic material designed to embarrass or intimidate).
Some forms of harassment may not violate the law. For example, harassment allegations concerning an International employee and a Local Union member would normally not affect the member's employment or working environment. But such harassment does violate the basic principles of the union. The USW considers sexual harassment of any kind a serious offence. Complaints of harassment in the workplace and at USW activities will be investigated.
This policy is based upon a desire to mediate resolutions of complaints in an amicable and non-adversarial manner. Because, in most cases, the individuals involved are both members of our union, emphasis will be placed on resolving complaints informally in the first instance.
Where such resolution is not possible, a formal complaint can be processed. A substantiated complaint will result in appropriate action, up to and including termination of employment for USW employees. All complaints will be handled in a confidential manner and all formal complaints should be directed to the International President.
In addition to the the contractual complaint and grievance provisions governing USW employees, the International has established a Committee on Sexual Harassment composed of representatives from the international, exempt employees, SRU, USW Local 3657, and OPEIU 343. This Committee will be responsible for developing and educational program on sexual harassment for all USW employees and for recommending procedures for responding to informal complaints under this policy.
The Committee will also provide for the investigation of any complaints referred to it by the International President.
Sexual Harassment: Any unwanted attention of a sexual nature such as remarks about appearance or personal life, offensive written or visual actions like graffiti or degrading pictures, physical contact of any kind or sexual demands.
These are two principles that are fundamental to the trade union movement: human rights and solidarity. Harassment strikes at the heart of both. As trade unionists we must work to protect rights, not take them away.
Trade union principles prohibit us from infringing on the human rights of others, and oblige you to stand with them to protect rights when others attack them.
The United Steelworkers considers harassment of any kind a serious offence. Complaints of harassment at activities of the Union will be investigated. A substantiated complaint will result in the removal of the harasser from the event. A letter outlining the reasons for the removal will also be sent to the appropriate local union.
The United Steelworkers wants to provide a harassment free environment at all USW activities.