Ken Neumann's Statement for Asian Heritage Month 2020

Asian Heritage Month: Challenging Discrimination is the Steelworkers Way

Each year, Steelworkers celebrate May as Asian Heritage Month. 

We recognize the incredible contributions Asian Canadians have made to this country, and to our union. 

We also recognize that there is more to be done to fight for equality for everyone, and particularly for Asian Canadians, during this pandemic. 

From the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, many countries have reported troubling events singling out Asian people and their communities.

Political leaders from Donald Trump to Jason Kenney have tried to create divisions by targeting blame for the virus and stoking discrimination against people of Asian ancestry. Social media has seen an increase in hateful content about Asian people. And, on the streets of our towns and cities, Asian Canadians have reported facing racist taunts and jokes, while Asian-themed businesses have experienced significant drops in business. 

Amy Go, president of the Chinese Canadian National Council for Social Justice, calls this “an emergency within the Canadian Chinese communities because we are being singled out. We are being stigmatized because of the coronavirus.”

As a union dedicated to social justice, Steelworkers must stand against and speak out about stigmatization, whether by politicians, in the media, on the streets, or in our workplaces. 

I call on all Steelworkers to: 

  • Speak up if you hear racist comments. 
  • Let the perpetrator know you disagree, if you can do it safely.
  • Support the targeted individual.
  • Shop Asian-Canadian businesses.
  • Use your collective agreement to promote diversity and to prevent discrimination and racism in the workplace.

Solidarity means standing up for one another.

In solidarity,

Ken Neumann
USW National Director 

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