USW Condemns Anti-Black Racism and Racist Violence

The United Steelworkers union in Canada condemns anti-Black racism in all its forms and the racist violence that has occurred on both sides of the border. Our union stands in solidarity with Black communities around the globe.

Black members, their families and communities are hurting. Here in Canada, systemic racism and violence continues to shape the lives of Black, Indigenous and people of colour – of every age.

We are outraged and heartbroken by the senseless murder of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The continuing police brutality against protesters in the U.S. must stop.

Here in Canada, we are angered and heartbroken by the recent tragic deaths of Regis Korchinski-Paquet, D'Andre Campbell and Chantel Moore during encounters with police in their homes in Toronto, Brampton and Edmundston, New Brunswick.

“Make no mistake, anti-Black and anti-Indigenous racism is systemic in Canada – it dates back hundreds of years and continues to influence every part of society – from the health care one receives at birth to schooling to access to employment to policing. It is very real and it is urgent that we work together to end it,” said Ken Neumann, USW National Director.

“It is our responsibility as trade unionists to take on anti-Black and anti-Indigenous racism and to have an honest account of the ways that Black, Indigenous and communities of colour have been severely harmed by hundreds of years of racist policies that continue to this day,” said Marty Warren, District 6 Director (Ontario and Atlantic Canada).

Racism undermines community, prevents young people from reaching their full potential and creates lasting trauma for those who experience racism and fear being the victims of racially motivated violence.

Black, Indigenous and communities of colour suffer disproportionately at the hands of police, through over-policing, the practices of carding, police in schools, over-incarceration and the use of excessive and deadly force during interactions.

“Our union is committed to working in partnership with Black, Indigenous and people of colour, including working towards stronger representation within our own union and workplaces,” said Dominic Lemieux, District 5 Director (Quebec).

While this is happening with the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, making it hard for us to gather to collectively fight for justice, we are in this struggle with Black, Indigenous and communities of colour for the long term.

“Our union is founded on the values of solidarity and fairness. That means we stand for equality and against hate. We are committed to fighting against anti-Black and anti-Indigenous racism and violence and racism in all of its forms,” said Stephen Hunt, District 3 Director (Western Canada).

As a union representing working people on both sides of the border, we stand for collective voice and collective action – in our workplaces and in our communities.

There are things we can do – as a union and as individual union members – to work to end racism.

Read the statement by the USW International Union’s Vice-President Fred Redmond and International President Tom Conway.

Things we can do to end racism:

  • Create a Human Rights Committee in your local or unit by using the mandate in the USW Constitution’s Article VII, Section 12.
  • Encourage your employer to commit to hiring more Black, Indigenous and people of colour
  • Work with and support organizations such as the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists (CBTU)
  • Stand up and speak out on your own against racist comments and jokes in our communities and workplaces
  • Be an ally to Black, Indigenous and workers of colour in your workplace
  • As a local union, contact your District Education Coordinator or the USW Education & Equality Department to find out how to hold online workshops on anti-racism
  • Learn more: Anti-Black Racism and Anti-Racism Resources

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