“Reaching out to and organizing workers from equity-seeking communities makes CUPE stronger. The workforce in Canada is becoming more and more diverse. Expanding the diversity of our membership is critical to increase our power as a union.” - Nadia Aristyl, CUPE National Rainbow Committee Co-Chair
CUPE is Canada’s largest union, and we represent thousands of workers in dozens of sectors in every region of the country. Yet, our growing membership does not necessarily reflect the increasing diversity of the communities we serve.
Organizing the unorganized is a big part of CUPE’s mandate, and we need to take care that new members reflect the diversity of our communities. In order to grow our membership and our strength as a union, our organizing efforts must be attuned to the needs of Black, Indigenous and racialized workers.
That’s why the fifth goal of CUPE’s new Anti-Racism Strategy is the integration of an anti-racism focus into our organizing efforts to bring non-unionized workers into our union.
More resources should be put into training Black, Indigenous and racialized members as member organizers. This alone can encourage and welcome new members to become involved in the labour movement.
Many Black, Indigenous and racialized workers in our workplaces have precarious jobs, such as part-time, casual and temporary positions. We can organize these workers at the bargaining table by including them in the scope clauses of our collective agreements.
These are just some of the steps we can take to ensure we bring an anti-racism focus into our efforts to bring the protections and benefits of union membership to more workers, and in particular Black, Indigenous and racialized workers.
Between now and our National Convention in November, ask how you and your Local can integrate anti-racism practices into your organizing efforts.
This is the fifth in a series of ten features profiling the goals of CUPE’s Anti-Racism Strategy. Read the full series here.