TIPS TO EMPOWER YOU ON THE JOB SITE
A career in construction is not for the faint of heart. The work is demanding on the body and the mind. For those very reasons, so many people love showing up to their job site every day. They crave physicality and creativity, and they relish the lifestyle that their career affords them. Tragically, retention is low in our industry. We are losing talented carpenters to unhealthy job site cultures.
Work should build you up, not tear you down. When there are instances of harassment and discrimination on the job site, safety becomes marginalized, and trust is diminished. The work environment becomes unhealthy and unproductive.
Having a positive job site takes intention, and is everyone’s responsibility. Northwest Carpenters Union is committed to making all carpenters feel safe, included, heard, represented, and free from harassment and discrimination. This month we share tips from our Harassment and Discrimination Protocol to help empower you on the job site.
HAVE YOU ENCOUNTERED OR WITNESSED HARASSMENT OR DISCRIMINATION ON YOUR JOB SITE?
IDENTIFY THE ISSUE
- Is it isolated or recurring?
- If it is severe, act on it right away.
- If you fear for your safety or someone has committed a crime against you, call 911.
FIND YOUR STEWARD
Find out if you have a steward on-site and ask for their guidance.
KNOW YOUR RIGHTS
Review your company policy and follow its complaint procedures.
- The company policy may include following a chain of command, including human resources.
- Remember to document your actions, along with the action taken by the company.
- If asked to participate in an investigatory interview, you have a right to union representation. Contact us for support.
- Write out the details while they are fresh in your mind.
- Who, What, When, Where, Why?
- Capture photo evidence.
- Document all of your actions.
- Keep to the facts, remove emotion.
- Contact your union representative
- If you do not have your rep’s cell number, call our headquarters at (800) 573.8333, or your area’s office.
- Your union representative will proceed with an investigation using our Harassment and Discrimination Protocol.
- Be prepared to share your documentation with your rep.
- Know what outcome you would like to see at the end of the investigation.
- Ask your rep for a timeline on when they will get back to you.
- If you do not hear back in an appropriate time frame, contact your rep for an update. If there is no response, contact the rep’s supervisor by calling our headquarters at (800) 573.8333.
MICHAEL BURCH, COMMUNITY OUTREACH SPECIALIST
What would you say to someone hesitant to report on harassment and discrimination that they are seeing on the job site?
If you do not report harassment and discrimination, it will continue. You are in this work because you want to make a career out of it. You deserve a safe, welcoming career. A place where, when you wake up, you really want to go to learn and grow instead of dreading it because of how you are treated. People are entering the industry behind you, and you don’t want them to experience the same thing.
If you can, call the injustice out when it happens. Sometimes people say things out of ignorance rather than hate. It often takes them getting called out to understand. We have to get comfortable with uncomfortable conversations to learn and become better.
We have people from all walks of life in our union. That is something we celebrate and want to build upon.
DID YOU KNOW THAT YOUR UNION HAS AN H&D COMMITTEE?
To advise the Council at large, informing and capacitating staff to better handle issues on harassment and discrimination when supporting members. To keep harassment and discrimination at the forefront of all council business (i.e., contract work, staff training, internal and external issues).
To create training for reps on how to more effectively handle issues of harassment (hazing, general bullying, and issues of racism, sexism, homophobia, etc.)
To help with the retention of members and apprentices.
Harassment and discrimination are prevalent in our industry. It is our job as union reps to support the safety, well being, and productivity of members on the job.
Increase awareness of harassment within and across the Council and raise the level of knowledge among members and contractors.
Create and curate training opportunities for Harassment and Discrimination.
Make recommendations on policies.
Improve the working conditions of members in the field by eliminating harassment and discrimination on the job site.
The H&D Committee is made up of a diverse group of staff ranging in demographics, regional areas, leadership levels, and departments.
Meet monthly to keep H&D issues at the forefront of our Council business.
Do you have ideas on how to combat harassment and discrimination?
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org