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Against workplace abuse
Union holds anti-bullying rally in Inuvik; few residents show up

T. Shawn Giilck
Northern News Services
Published Thursday, March 21, 2013

Only a handful of people turned out for a rally to mark National Anti-Bullying Day Feb. 27, but that didn't diminish the importance of the message.

NNSL photo/graphic

David Bob, centre, organized an anti-bullying rally Feb. 27, to coincide with a rally in Yellowknife to mark National Anti-bullying Day. With him are Maria Arey and Donald Ross. - T. Shawn Giilck/NNSL photo

David Bob, the NWT Area Council president of the Public Service Alliance of Canada, organized the event to coincide with one in Yellowknife. He said the goal was to highlight the issues surrounding bullying in the workplace and in everyday life.

"With at least 40 per cent of all employees affected by the destructive behaviour of workplace bullying, we are calling on the GNWT to put in place new policy and update existing legislation to once and for all ensure the safety of employees in the workplace."

Bob said ideally, the GNWT should be looking at adopting something like Ontario's Bill 168 as a template. That bill requires employers to develop policies for reporting, investigating and dealing with issues of workplace harassment and bullying.

"This (demonstration) was developed about three months ago as an initiative that was brought forward by the people who sit on the council. We're bringing awareness about bullying and how it affects people in the community.

"There's a lot of knowledge about bullying in schools, but it doesn't only occur there. It occurs in workplaces, at home and in the streets, everywhere and by cellphone and e-mail, etc."

The problem is a prevalent one in Inuvik, Bob said, if you can use Facebook as a unit of measurement.

"There are constantly posts on Facebook," he said. "With our members, it's constantly coming up."

Bob, along with Maria Arey and Donald Ross, noted they had heard about an Inuvik company which had seen a staff turnover rate of about one third last year. That was due to a prolonged streak of bullying, they said.

Arey added that in many workplaces there is "a real lack of respect."

She also suggested many people likely don't realize they are bullies. Instead, they interpret it as normal and acceptable workplace behaviour.

Bob had been expecting some representation from Inuvik students as well.

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