When New York City Ballet fired the star dancer Amar Ramasar eight months ago for sharing vulgar texts and sexually explicit photos of a dancer with a colleague, it said it needed “to ensure that our dancers and staff have a workplace where they feel respected and valued.”
The #metoo movement represents an opportunity for the labor movement to authentically connect to the experiences of women in all workplaces, and show that a union card means protection from sexual harassment, whether the harasser is the boss or a coworker.
Unions have a mixed record when it comes to fighting sexual harassment, especially in cases that involve harassment by union members. Union responses to sexual harassment have been shaped by their position in labor markets that remain highly segmented by gender and race, with male-dominated unions playing a passive role vis-à-vis female targets of sexual harassment, and too often siding with male harassers.
From Accusatory Questions to Accountability in the Fight Against Workplace Sexual Harassment and Abuse
I’d like to say that I have completely processed and healed from my assault. Much of the time, it feels like I have. I have a fulfilling job as an organizer for social justice. I care for my beautiful daughter, who just celebrated her first birthday, and I have a loving family that lives close by and supports us. Despite my trauma, I live my life with purpose, optimism and hope for a brighter future.
As in other sectors, reports of sexual harassment in the labor movement–in many instances long-known, but carefully repressed–have surfaced in recent weeks. Rather than shirking broad responsibility, this moment presents an opportunity for unions to look beyond issues of legal liabilities and address deep cultural changes that are so badly needed