by Pamela Palmater, published in NOW Magazine Feb. 27, 2020
The core belief of unions is in solidarity. We want every one of our members to feel they belong, to appreciate the gains that unions have made for working people, and to have a sense of our common purpose.
For all of us, fairness matters. Winning union members to embrace those common values is one of the most important tasks we have. It is in that context that we address the challenge of tackling systemic racism and building stronger unions.
By working together, we can nurture inclusive workplaces and strengthen our shared commitment to our union’s shared values of equality, respect, justice and dignity for all.
Working Toward Reconciliation
The Labour Council supports efforts to move toward reconciliation with Indigenous peoples, in particular the Calls to Action laid out by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's Final Report. Above all, the TRC's final report encourages us to think of reconciliation as a relationship that requires ongoing attention and respect.
Racial equity is bound up with Canada's reconciliation with Indigenous peoples; and further, that a positive relationship with Indigenous peoples is crucial to achieving climate justice. There are concerns with how federal and provincial governments make decisions about new fossil fuel infrastructure projects, including the Coastal GasLink pipeline and the Teck Frontier oilsands project. Read Labour Council's letter to government MPs urging them to reject Teck and Alberta Federation of Labour President Gil McGowan's response to Teck withdrawing its application for Frontier.
Land law in Canada is much more complicated and uncertain than most non-Indigenous Canadians appreciate. The following articles have laid out legal arguments supporting the Wet'suwet'en legal position:
- The Wet'suwet'en, Aboriginal Title, and the Rule of Law: An Explainer by Kate Gunn and Bruce McIvor
Labour Council works with affiliates and community partners, including the Urban Alliance on Race Relations, to build a culture of inclusion and anti-racism in our society. Our senior organizer Mohammed Hashim has dedicated his personal and professional life to ending anti-Islamic hate, and Labour Council is proud to support his ongoing work in this area. Learn more about how Mohammed has made a contribution behind the scenes in these interviews:
'I don't want hope to be lost': How this man became the unofficial crisis manager for Muslim Canadians on CBC Radio's Tapestry, February 21, 2020
The video documents the tremendous achievements of labour activists around equity and anti-racism work in Toronto over the last three decades.
After local Dresden businesses refused to comply with the Fair Accommodation Practices Act the same year it was enacted, Ruth Malloy, Bromley Armstrong, and other activists from the Toronto-based Joint Labour Committee for Human Rights conducted sit-ins in Dresden restaurants, testing the owners' non-compliance with the law, and then using that information to urge Premier Frost to eventually press charges against the restaurant owners.
Terri Monture from the Canadian Media Guild speaks about her involvement in the labour movement.
The Toronto & York Region Labour Council's Secret Service investigates 5 Asian Canadian Agents of Change.
Working together to end systemic racism and create a just Canada for all.
This workshop outline is meant to be accompanied by the A Leader’s Guide to Strengthen Unions – Moving Beyond Diversity Towards inclusion and Equity.
The Labour Movement has a tireless record over many decades of fighting against racism and discrimination in all its forms.
All equity work points to the need to understand intersectionality of oppression.
A publication by the Refugee Project that encourages us to challenge some of the negative narratives around refugees, offering an alternate story that refugees are a part of an contribute to our social fabric.