Every day, CUPE members across the country continue to confront ongoing racism in our union, communities and workplaces, including racial profiling and criminalization, Islamophobia, anti-Semitic hate, lack of employment and education opportunities, inadequate health care, precarious work, unequal access to public services, environmental racism and lack of basic human rights for migrant workers.

Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, racism towards Asian, Black, Indigenous and other racialized communities has spiked. This spike is a pattern of refueled racism towards marginalized populations.

CUPE stands strong with Black, Indigenous and racialized members experiencing racism. CUPE does not tolerate any harassing, racist and discriminatory remarks and acts of violence against anyone. Instead of division, we need global and local cooperation, and mutual aid.

CUPE embraces our members, neighbours and friends in this trying time filled with health and safety concerns. We reaffirm that unions play a vital role in fighting hatred and fear in Canada and around the world. Far-right, white supremacist groups are using the pandemic as cover to step up their mobilization, as we’ve seen with the occupation of Ottawa and other disruptions in communities across the country. We must unite in solidarity to resist all right-wing attempts to spread racism and hate.

It is important for our members facing any form of racism, discrimination and/or harassment to contact their local steward or executive member to file a complaint and or grievance. It is equally important for locals to act promptly by listening to the member and by ensuring that the complaint is brought through the entire grievance process.

At the same time, March 21 is also a time to recognize the significant achievements of Black, Indigenous and racialized peoples in advancing equality and justice in our communities, our workplaces and our union. This includes our members whose activism has strengthened our movement by bringing new ideas, perspectives and energy into the struggles of working people.

MEMBERS CAN TAKE ACTION

Learn

  • Read CUPE’s Anti-Racism Strategy. The strategy’s 10 goals focus on recommendations to challenge systemic racism.
  • Take a workshop, book a speaker. Register for a Union Education workshop that deals with anti-racism practices, dealing with harassment, discrimination or bullying. Invite someone to speak about anti-racism at your next union meeting.
  • Sign up for updates and read the Canadian Labour Congress’ report on Islamophobia and how to fight it in the workplace.

Act

  • Join an April 9 conversation with CUPE’s national diversity DVPs. CUPE members who identify as Black, Indigenous and racialized are invited to join Debra Merrier, Diversity Vice-President, Indigenous workers and Aubrey Gonsalves, Diversity Vice-President, Black and racialized workers, in an online gathering.

The creation of this national organizing space is the first step in implementing CUPE’s recently adopted Anti-Racism Strategy. It will bring Black, Indigenous and racialized CUPE members together to connect, to share how best they can be represented in our union as well as barriers and successes, and to get updated on our Anti-Racism Strategy. Please save the date and register today at cupe.ca/connect

  • Download or order printed copies of CUPE’s International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination poster
  • Order CUPE’s Time to end racism button and sticker for yourself and for members of your local
  • Download CUPE’s March 21 colouring page
  • Support the Migrant Rights Network in their campaign for full and permanent immigration status for all. Sign their petition demanding that the COVID-19 response doesn’t leave anyone behind.
  • Intervene. Educate yourself on the best ways to intervene to challenge racist actions and how best to support the person or group affected. Speak out against racist acts like jokes, slurs, graffiti or name-calling.
  • Challenge your workplace. Speak out about racist and discriminatory policies and practices in your workplace.
  • Challenge yourself. Consider how some of your own assumptions might be influenced by discrimination.
  • Become an ally. An ally is someone who actively supports racialized groups facing challenges. Being in alliance helps strengthen relationships in the workplace.

Bargain

  • Negotiate employment equity language into your collective agreement. Contact the Human Rights branch for information at humanrights@cupe.ca