Pink Shirt Day an Opportunity to Lift Each Other Up

February 22, 2024
On February 28 let’s show our commitment to end bullying and promote respect in the workplace

BCNU members and activists are taking action against bullying and harassment in workplaces. Regional Mental Health and Occupational Health and Safety representatives have been engaging with members in the weeks leading up to Pink Shirt Day on Feb. 28, to spark member discussions about respect and inclusivity.

Ensuring psychologically safe workplaces that recognize the lived realities of our diverse membership was an important priority for the union during negotiation of the 2022 – 2025 Nurses’ Bargaining Association provincial collective agreement. Foundational to the agreement is new language in Article 2: Purpose of Agreement identifying the harms of colonialism faced by Indigenous peoples, including as users, patients and staff in BC’s health-care system. It commits the parties to confronting and healing systemic racism and creating a culturally safe and welcoming health-care system for all. Also new is the MOA Re: Gender Diversity and Inclusion, which specifically addresses discrimination in the forms of deadnaming (using former names) misgendering (using incorrect pronouns) and doxxing (intentional sharing of personal information, such as old photos or medical information, to harass someone).

Bullying and harassment may be symptoms of a psychologically unhealthy and unsafe workplace. It is important that we foster a workplace culture where we treat each other with dignity and respect. Care and consideration for others should be the norm. Exposure to workplace bullying not only affects individuals but can also affect their co-workers and people close to them, causing stress, anxiety, sleeplessness and fatigue. It is also associated with nurses leaving their job or the profession entirely.

Members are reminded that employers are legally responsible to take action to eliminate bullying and harassment, which makes it particularly important to document incidents when they happen. Here are ways you can take action to promote respect in the workplace and help end bullying:

  • Familiarize yourself with your employer’s policies and procedures on bullying and harassment.
  • If you experience or witness bullying or harassment, document your experience in writing.
  • Report incidents to your employer and contact a BCNU steward.

This Pink Shirt Day, let’s promote respect in the workplace, commit to end bullying and harassment and lift each other up.

About Pink Shirt Day

Pink Shirt Day has its roots in events that took place in Nova Scotia in 2007 when a high school student was subject to homophobic bullying for wearing a pink polo shirt to school. Two fellow students took action, buying dozens of pink shirts from a thrift store for other students to wear the next day. Many students showed up in pink shirts of their own. Pink Shirt Day emerged from that incident and is now observed across Canada on the last Wednesday in February as an opportunity to show allyship and denounce bullying in all its forms.

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