Mental Health at Work: The Role of Unions in Creating Healthier Workplaces

Did you know that in Canada, mental illnesses account for about one third of all disability claims in the workplace? While there are many ways we can all try to manage our emotions and mental health, but for many reasons, it’s not always possible to do this on our own. Thankfully, as a member of Teamsters 987, you have rights, benefits, and support to help you when your mental health needs it.

How Teamsters 987 can support you and your mental health at work

If you’ve ever connected with your shop steward or business agent, you’ll know that they are eager to help and share their knowledge. When stress hits at work, it’s nice to have an ear to listen, but it’s also important that you have someone who understands the ins and outs of your Collective Bargaining Agreement and what steps are needed to make the situation better. Your Teamsters 987 rep can point you to resources and answer questions about your rights and options regarding your mental health benefits.

As a union member, there are many ways your Collective Bargaining Agreement protects you and your mental health when things get tough, including:

  • Outlining a clear accommodation process that explains the responsibilities of the employer, worker, and union;
  • Protecting your rights to adequate sick leave, short-term and long-term disability. In this situation, your wages can also be protected for the time you are off work.
  • Providing health benefits, including professional services and the time off required for appointments. These can even cover hospital stays and medication.
  • Ensuring you have access to support, both from your shop steward and professionals.

How unions help create better work environments

Beyond directly negotiating for mental health supports, unions help to create environments that are better for workers. They work daily to address some of the major root causes of stressful work environments, like discrimination, harassment and bullying, unsafe conditions, and ensuring fair hours and wages, to name a few.

One of the most stressful, anxiety-inducing feelings one can face is that of isolation. Being a member of a union means having a strong supporter in your corner every day. We all know that when things get tough or seem unfair at work, it can be difficult to advocate for yourself, especially when you’re not feeling your best. Being that voice of support is one of the most important things unions do for their members. When you’re feeling stressed, you can trust that you are not alone, and that Teamsters 987 has your back.

How unions are joining the fight to promote mental health

Across Canada and the globe, unions know that mental health affects not just their members, but also affects their members’ families and friends, it affects all of us.

This is why unions are fighting for greater attention to this issue with employers and with governments: access to mental health support is a human rights issue. Whether it’s pushing for a national mental health strategy or addressing housing issues and income inequality, unions stand up for their members at the highest levels. Putting pressure on decision-makers to address the issues that affect your mental health, even outside of work, is some of the important work unions do every day.

Need to talk or looking for more resources for mental health support? Connect with your Teamsters 987 shop steward or business agent today.

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