#MeToo Moves to the Workplace: Low Wage Workers, Safety, Labor and Women’s Groups Say It’s “Our Turn”

National Council for Occupational Safety and Health Spearheads Alliance to End Sexual Harassment on the Job

Janitors, factory workers, farmworkers and other low-wage workers joined with safety, labor, anti-violence and women’s rights advocates to announce today the launch of “Our Turn,” a new alliance brought together by the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health to put a halt to sexual abuse and harassment, with a special focus on low-wage and vulnerable workers.

“It’s inspiring to see movie stars and media celebrities talk about the terrible incidents they have faced in their workplaces,” said Veronica Lagunas, a janitor in Los Angeles and a member of SEIU-United Service Workers West (USSW). “A lot of us who earn a regular paycheck face the same problems, like sexual assault and physical and verbal abuse. It’s our turn to unite and take action to stop the abuse and hold abusers accountable.”

Our Turn will unite workers, community allies and organizations across the country who are fighting – and winning – new protections against abuse and harassment in union contracts, state laws, municipal ordinances and company policies.

“For far too long, sexual harassment and other forms of abuse have been rampant in workplaces of all kinds,” said Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). “I’m glad to stand side-by-side with working people committed to ending it.”

Our Turn was convened by the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health (National COSH), the nation’s leading grassroots advocate for workplace safety. More than 100 organizations and individuals have already signed on to the Our TurnCommitment to Unity and Action.”  

The Our Turn steering committee includes representatives from COSH groups, labor unions, women’s organizations, and community-based organizations.  Commitments include a pledge by participating organizations to:
  • Support workplace, community and political organizing;
  • Advocate for laws and policies that protect workers and provide tools for prevention of abuse and harassment;
  • Elevate stories of workers who have fought back against abuse;
  • Hold government agencies and employers accountable for harassment and violence in workplaces they oversee.
“The movement to end sexual violence is growing – and Our Turn brings together workers’ rights, women’s rights, and anti-violence organizations to support survivors and workers in taking back their workplaces,” said Linda Seabrook, General Counsel and Director of Workplace Safety & Equity for Futures Without Violence, a national social justice organization dedicated to ending violence against women.

“Low-wage workers are fed up are saying ‘We will not tolerate abuse as a condition of earning a living,” said National COSH co-executive director Jessica Martinez. “Every worker – regardless of race, gender, income or sexual orientation – has a fundamental right to a workplace free from abuse and harassment.”

The new coalition will mobilize members and allies to promote workplace organizing, legislative advocacy and hands-on training, and also serve as a national clearinghouse for best practices and policies to prevent workplace sexual violence and abuse.
The Our Turn pledge is available at http://coshnetwork.org/our-turn-pledge
Contact:  Roger Kerson, 734.645.0535; 197767@email4pr.com

SOURCE National Council for Occupational Safety and Health

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