Unifor emphatically condemns the most recent blatant acts of racism and racially-motivated police violence in the United States of America.
But we also know racism is not just a problem in the United States. It is also the daily reality faced by Black, Indigenous and other racialized communities here in Canada as well.
Racism continues to govern the lives of Black, Indigenous and racialized peoples, and as we have seen in the case of George Floyd, racism is taking lives.
We must call the killing of George Floyd exactly what it is: anti-Black racism.
As trade unionists, we must not merely name the problem, but work every day towards equality.
We must reflect on the inherent structures of power that advantage some over others. We must understand the connections between capitalism and racism. We must use the power of love and solidarity to build the better world we know is possible. And we must listen. Listen to our friends, our sisters and brothers, who face anti-Black racism every single day.
We must recognize that our union must be one of many catalysts in society engaged in the undoing of discriminatory frameworks and systemic racism and in achieving an equitable society for all.
Today in Canada, the issue of anti-Black racism is also dominating our consciousness as citizens march seeking answers to the questions surrounding the death this week of Regis Korchinski-Paquet in Toronto.
We must also challenge in Canada the systemic racism ingrained in institutions, policies and practices.
It’s why Unifor recently demanded the collection of race-based and Indigenous data around COVID19 because we know this pandemic impacts Canadians differently and is felt disproportionately by racialized communities.
On behalf of Unifor’s more than 315,000 members, we send our condolences and solidarity to all Black communities affected by systemic racism and who have been traumatized by this week’s acts of violence and we join them in demanding accountability and justice.
As a trade union, we can’t ignore the deadly threat racism poses to our Black, Indigenous and racialized sisters and brothers and friends. We must speak up against it.
The trade union movement was built by working people determined to bring justice and equity in our workplaces and in our society. Our greatest progress has come when we have understood the importance of combating discrimination and uniting all workers.
We will not let racism, sexism, ableism, homophobia, xenophobia, religious discrimination and oppression divide us because an injury to one is an injury to all. Let us not be silent.
It is not only honourable to unite in solidarity against hate, it is necessary to build a more equitable world. Being an ally matters.
Unifor asks all members, retirees and allies to challenge oppression and inequality through activism and political action, demanding redress for past wrongs.
Our union is proud to work with trade unions across the continent through the North American Solidarity Project to combat racism. Unifor will continue to fight racism at work and in our communities. We will continue to equip members with the necessary tools to combat racism safely through a robust system of education and training. Only through education can people unlearn bias and end the cycle of racism. And only through solidarity will the better world we all seek be built.