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From the desk of the President - Harassment
Published: September 2, 2009

There have been many issues lately around the perception of harassment. Here is an overview of the differences that you may encounter.

Complaining is one of many behaviors of humans which results in a negative perspective and character. Complaining should not to be confused with someone informing you in a clear and non-aggressive manner, of a mistake or deficiency so that it can be put right. And to refrain from complaining doesn't necessarily mean putting up with bad quality or behavior.

There is no ego in telling the waiter that your soup is cold and needs to be heated up, if you stick to the facts, which are always neutral. "How dare you serve me cold soup?" That's complaining. Every complaint is a little story the mind makes up, and one completely believes in. Whether you complain aloud or only in thought makes no difference. Complaining, especially about other people, is habitual and counter productive to a happy life.

Complaining, fault finding, reactivity in many situations gives the ego a feeling of superiority over others. Complaining about a traffic jam, politicians, the "greedy wealthy" or the "lazy unemployed", your co-workers, neighbors, ex-spouses, men or women, gives the sense of superiority from the implication you are right and the person or situation you complain about or react against is wrong.

Resentment is an emotion that accompanies complaining and the mental labeling of people. Resentment means to feel bitter, indignant, aggrieved or offended. It may also be accompanied by a stronger emotion such as anger or some other form of upset.

In this way, it becomes more highly charged energetically and can lead to reactivity. This added energy to the ego often leads to a more intensified attack onto the individual it is aimed at.

Mental abuse is applying negative mental labels to people, either to their face or more commonly when you speak about them to others, or even to just think about them and is often part of the pattern of harassment.

Name calling is the crudest form of such labeling and the ego's need to be right and triumph over others: "jerk, b-----d, b---h", all definitive pronouncements that you can't argue with.

On the next level down on the scale of unconscious, you have shouting and screaming, and not much below that, the physical abuse, of writing things, damaging personal property and violence.

The Human Rights Act, which defines the conscience of Canada, defines the standard of today to give every person the right to a harassment-free life style at home, work or play.

If you feel you might have a complaining attitude or you are on the other end of someone's complaining, up to harassment, you have several areas of support. In some of our 16 598/CAW workplaces, there are trained Employee Assistance Program personnel that can direct you to counseling. You can also call the Union Hall and talk to myself for confidential communication and direction of your issue.

Yours in Solidarity,

Richard Paquin,

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