Every year on March 21, CUPE marks the United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

And every day, CUPE members across the country continue to confront ongoing racism in our union, communities and workplaces, including racial profiling and criminalization, Islamophobia, 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 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 its members, neighbours and friends in this trying time, and re-affirms that unions play a vital role in fighting hatred and fear in Canada and around the world.

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.



  • Take a workshop, book a speaker. Register for a union 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 Canadian Labour Congress report on Islamophobia and how to fight it in the workplace.


  • Download and print CUPE’s International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination poster.
  • Support the Migrant Rights Network in their campaign for justice for migrant workers in the age of Coronavirus. Sign their petition and share with your networks.
  • 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.


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