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The National Rainbow Committee is a working committee on racism, discrimination and employment equity.  They review, evaluate, monitor and assist in developing CUPE policies and programs to ensure our commitment to promoting and defending the rights of all workers of colour in our communities, locally, nationally and internationally.

Contact the National Rainbow Committee.

Terms of Reference

This committee shall be known as the “National Working Committee on Racism, Discrimination and Employment Equity”. The committee is also referred as the “Rainbow Committee”.

Purpose of the Committee

  • Promote and defend the rights of all workers of colour in our communities, locally, nationally and internationally.
  • Advise the NEB on all issues pertaining to racism and employment equity as it impacts workers of colour.
  • Periodically review, evaluate, monitor and assist in developing CUPE policies on racism, discrimination and employment equity to ensure our commitment and progress in society, our workplaces and the union.
  • Establish effective programs in conjunction and consultation with the Union Development Department to increase anti-racism awareness and education directed at CUPE membership, staff and leadership at all levels.
  • Develop and promote a well-thought out, overall approach toward combating workplace racism and encouraging employment equity through bargaining.
  • Seek methods for greater and active participation of new immigrants, migrant workers and workers of colour in our movement through coalition building and community networking. As well to encourage them to take more active role in the decision-making and the staffing of CUPE.
  • Report on the committee’s progress and make recommendations to CUPE National Convention on Anti-Racism action for CUPE.

Composition of the Committee and Expectations

  • Each Provincial Division and Region, including the Airline Division shall have representation on the committee with alternate members.
  • The committee shall be gender balanced and reflective of the diversity from the workers of colour communities. Members must self identify of his/her status.
  • Committee co-chairs will be gender balanced and appointed from the workers of colour community.
  • The Committee member must be fully knowledgeable on CUPE policies, structures and have a proven track record in active participation in human rights and anti-racism activities in the union and the community at large.
  • The Committee member should strive to achieve excellence in implementing and achieving the committee’s objectives and must be prepared to express CUPE position on our issues and the work of the Rainbow Committee at forums, conferences, schools, conventions, community meetings at local, regional and national levels.
  • The National President should assign NEB Liaisons and CUPE Staff.

Duties of Committee Members

Committee Co-chairs

  • Provide leadership and coordination of activities at committee meetings.
  • Maintain communications at all levels and engage in ongoing self-development and education on Anti-Racism and emerging trends.
  • Keeping the committee members motivated, on track and focused at and between meetings.
  • Carry out any tasks entrusted to them by the committee.
  • Work closely with the committee staff advisor in carrying out committee tasks, planning meetings, conference calls, agendas and preparation of the committee reports.

Committee Members

  • Attend and actively participate in all national committee meetings. Alternate member may attend instead.
  • Keep the alternate member, his/her local union leadership, and provincial leadership informed on committee’s work and activities.
  • Undertake any doable follow-up work between meetings in his/her region or province and identify any barriers.
  • Regularly report to the committee staff advisor and the leadership of his/her activities in the region prior to the committee meeting.
  • Provide feedback and input on draft minutes, CUPE documents, campaigns, reports and policies.
  • Actively promote the committee’s work and increase their profile by keeping anti-racism on the front burners on all agendas.
  • Work closely with other regional committees and encourages integration.
  • Participate in networking among other members and coalition building in the community.
  • Participate and promote Days of Action and work closely with the co-chairs, ARC and the Division in organizing other anti-racism events.
  • Coordinate and assist in submitting resolutions to the National and Division Conventions and help members with speaker’s notes.
  • Continue to lobby for Aboriginal Councils and Anti-Racism committees where they do not currently exist.
  • Actively participate and link our issues in all National and regional/local campaigns.
  • Lobby for Employment Equity and anti-racism language and initiatives through the collective bargaining process.
  • Ongoing self-development on Anti-Racism education and its promotion by staying connected with Education Representative and the regional education committees.
  • Engage in a buddy system and femotring/mentoring process.
  • Maintain an activists’ list and assist in distributing anti-racism materials and information to the locals.
  • Be accountable and have fun doing anti-racism work.

Committee NEB Liaison

  • Participate in all committee meetings to share information and expertise.
  • Address anti-racism issues and concerns at the NEB meetings.
  • Keep the NEB updated on the committee’s decisions and vice-versa.
  • Provide advice to the NEB on Racism and have issues referred to the committee.
  • Promote and lobby the national officers and the NEB to support and implement committees’ recommendations, decisions and plan of action.
  • Lobby for the integration of anti-racism perspective into everything CUPE does.
  • Stay connected with members from our communities in the regions to share information and address their concerns.
  • Increase the committee’s profile.
  • Advise the committee on CUPE’s structure and the budget process.
  • Lobby for anti-racism education to the NEB members.
  • Work closely with the committee staff advisor and the co-chairs.

Committee Staff Advisor

  • Maintains an up-to-date list of the committee member’s profile.
  • Works closely with the leadership when seeking new members.
  • Provides guidance and direction to leadership in order to move our anti-racism agenda and assist in developing policies for the Union.
  • Provides orientation package to new members and provide ongoing femotring/mentoring and support to all committee members.
  • Coordinates, plans and organizes committee meetings in consultation with the co-chairs and advise members.
  • Works closely with the co-chairs in preparing and circulating the agenda and preparation of materials for the meetings.
  • Prepares and circulates the minutes of the meetings for comments.
  • Coordinates conference calls if necessary and assists with follow-up work between meetings and monitor progress.
  • Seeks resources and budget necessary to carry out committee’s work.
  • Between meetings seeks activity reports from members and reports back to the NEB. Keeps the Liaison member informed of the activities.
  • Assists committee members to circulate, distribute and provide anti-racism materials to locals, regions, conventions, conferences, schools and other events.
  • Assists committee members to organize anti-racism initiatives in their regions and assists in writing resolutions and speaker’s notes if needed.
  • Works closely with Communications Branch to produce and update anti-racism materials and coordinates ads for days of action as requested by the committee.
  • In conjunction with the co-chairs, coordinates writing committee’s report to the national convention and coordinates the follow-up work resulting from the committee’s report and convention resolutions.
  • Works closely with other national committees and national branches to carry out committee’s work and increase its profile.
  • Equality Reps in the regions to work closely with the coordinator to assist committee members in their regions to carry out the work.

How the Committee Operates

  • A minimum of two committee meetings a year.
  • To promote input from all regions of the country, the committee may plan meetings in a different region of the country on a rotating basis and open to observers. Such meeting may be planned in conjunction with other Equity committees to show solidarity on issues or where practical, participate in local initiatives beneficial to the membership.
  • Agenda to be circulated prior to the meeting and adequate time to be allotted for issues to conclude the business. Agenda may include special presentations on specific issues.
  • Established “Ground Rules for Meetings” will be strictly enforced.
  • Small group activities would be encouraged to deal with agenda items.
  • Any unfinished business may be concluded by teleconferencing.
  • All members should come prepared to the meetings to report back on their respective activities on follow-up work and other anti-racism work.
  • All decisions would be taken on consensus basis. If necessary a vote may be taken and the committee will decide whether it will be a secret ballot or by show of hands.
  • Draft set of minutes from the meeting will be sent immediately to committee members for review and comments.
  • Following national conventions, the committee shall prioritize all passed resolutions and develop a plan of action for the next two years.
  • Recommendation for members attending National or International Conferences will be duly discussed and based on gender balance, diversity and geographical location. In order to allow for a fair opportunity to all members to attend, selection would be rotational among the interested members. Consideration will be given to active individuals who have a sound knowledge on the issues/topic for the conference.

revised: dr/cope491