To continue to be an effective voice for improving the lives of working people, unions need to be relevant to all workers. This means working with equity-seeking groups and giving them a seat at the table without talking over them. It also means working towards the betterment of our society. Our members are part of society, and NUPGE doesn’t stop working on behalf of our members just because they’re off the clock. NUPGE is committed to being an anti-racist union and will continue to speak out against racism in every way and in every available forum.
Health workers from across the country urge the Prime Minister to implement a comprehensive regularization plan for all undocumented people without exception and permanent residence for all migrants, including those in low-wage jobs.
We have a long way to go before we can create a truly equitable society. An equitable society will not happen without reconciliation. — Bert Blundon, NUPGE President
We must also make space for Indigenous people in our unions. This includes reevaluating union practices and traditions that might other members, or prevent them from fully participating in the union, or from joining union management as elected officers and members of staff.
"Migrant and undocumented people deserve the same rights, employment standards, and access to services as Canadians. A broad and inclusive regularization program, along with addressing the systemic issues in Canada’s immigration and refugee system, will be crucial." — Bert Blundon, NUPGE President
"While slavery has been abolished, anti-Black racism still exists across our country. It is our hope that Emancipation Day is used as a catalyst for more people to join the ongoing fight against anti-Black and Indigenous racism and discrimination." — Bert Blundon, NUPGE President
“Conversations with friends and family, both online and in real life, can be the hardest. But it’s these conversations that can be most effective.” — Bert Blundon, NUPGE Secretary-Treasurer
The strength of the Rohingya, particularly the women and girls subjected to gender-based violence, to trafficking and child marriages, and to being used as weapons of war continues to be an inspiration to us all. It is vital that the international community recognize and take action to support the Rohingya in their battle against genocide. — Larry Brown, President of NUPGE
“NUPGE is committed to being an anti-racist union. Our research brings together academic research and anecdotal evidence of widespread anti-Black racism in Canada.” — Larry Brown, NUPGE President
If you were part of the protest and you made no move to counter the disgusting behaviour, if you knew this was happening and you stayed because you were having so much fun, as one protester put it, then you were part of the problem.
Though less discussed than in the United States, anti-Black racism is present in Canada. While we are quick to pride ourselves on being the final destination of the Underground Railroad that helped slaves escape to freedom, we often forget that slavery existed in Canada, too.
"While this report looks back, we are focused on the future. There will be challenges ahead but we'll face them. As we recover from the last 2 years, we remain hopeful. It's time to reimagine our world. And we will do that—together." — Larry Brown, NUPGE President
“Without collecting race-based COVID-19 data, the government is effectively saying they know some populations are more vulnerable than others, but they’re not interested in taking concrete steps to help the communities who need it most.” — Larry Brown, NUPGE President
“Our members, just like the rest of Canadians, have various levels of understanding of privilege and racism. It’s our hope that our backgrounders can help deepen our members’ understanding of the topic and help them to be better allies.” — Larry Brown, NUPGE President
“It’s up to individuals to ensure governments live up to their promises of reconciliation. We’ve already seen that, without oversight, they are happy to keep the status quo.” — Larry Brown, NUPGE President
Despite promises to honour Indigenous sovereignty, there are serious flaws with the how the federal government relates to Indigenous people. Infrastructure projects are still being run through traditional and unceded territories, like the Coastal GasLink pipeline. Aggressive raids are being conducted by the RCMP, like on the peaceful Wet’suwet’en land defenders. Inaction by the current Liberal government allowed Mi’kmaw fishers to be verbally and physically harassed when the Sipekne’katik First Nation launched its treaty fishery. Political decisions have always come at the expense of Indigenous communities.
Much of the racism in Canada is systematic. It impacts BIPOC in all stages of life, from the quality of education they receive, to whether they can afford to go to post-secondary school, to the types of jobs they’re hired to do, and to where they can afford to live. We must ensure, that going forward, the government looks at all programs and policies with an equity lens to ensure that anti-racism efforts are always kept as a priority issue.
PSI affiliates in Canada join residential school survivors and Indigenous communities who are grieving after the horrifying discovery of hundreds of unmarked graves on the grounds of former residential schools in British Columbia and Saskatchewan.
"Collectively, we need to honour these children who never made it home and their families who have lived and breathed their loss for decades." — Larry Brown, NUPGE President