Spurred by the Harvey Weinstein sexual assault scandal, SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris has called for unions in all sectors to protect workers from sexual harassment.
“The time for this to stop is now,” Carteris said Tuesday in an address via Skype to the national convention of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations in St. Louis.
Carteris, a member of the AFL-CIO executive council, disclosed in her speech that the leadership of the AFL-CIO has formed a cross-industry working group to deal with the issue of sexual harassment in the workplace.
“Everyone has heard of the horrible behavior by Harvey Weinstein,” she said. “But it goes beyond Weinstein. It’s systemic and it affects men and women in every industry.”
Carteris, who was speaking from the International Federation of Actors meeting in Croatia, said that unions need to protect their members from abuse. “You should not fear speaking out,” she added.
The working group will attempt to develop best practices and tangible resources that make it easier for people to speak out and that helps to ensure a meaningful effective response. She will be meeting with AFL-CIO leadership in coming weeks to discuss the next steps.
SAG-AFTRA, which reps 160,000 performers and is one of the 56 unions in the AFL-CIO, blasted Weinstein on Oct. 9 over the multiple accusations of sexual harassment and assault, calling his alleged behavior “abhorrent.”
“We commend the courage and candor of every woman who has spoken out about the disgraceful, aggressive, and inappropriate behavior they experienced with prominent industry employers,” the union said at that time.
Weinstein has become a pariah in Hollywood since the first revelations on Oct. 5. He was fired from his own company, is the subject of several criminal investigations, and has been named by dozens of alleged victims.
SAG-AFTRA posted the link to Carteris’ address on its Twitter account: