Marty Warren Statement on Black History Month (2018)

As District 6 represents one of the most diverse Districts in Canada, it is important that we celebrate Black History Month each February. Steelworkers of all colours are also part of a larger community of equality-seeking groups.

In our communities and workplaces, the contribution of black workers has been significant in the industries and economies of Ontario and the Atlantic provinces. While we work hard for economic justice through our collective agreements and community activism, it is important to note that discrimination exists for black people throughout District 6.

A story in the Toronto Star shows that Black applicants may have a harder time finding an entry-level service or retail job in Toronto than white applicants with a criminal record. And El Jones, the former poet laureate of the city, and currently the Chair of the Women’s Studies Program at Mount Saint Vincent University, speaks of her experience of anti-black racism in Halifax.  

It is very important to me that equality remains a core part of Steelworkers solidarity. I encourage everyone to celebrate Black History Month with me in February. Beyond that, let us work together to continue fighting for equality in our workplaces and communities. 

I call on Steelworkers to: 

  • Create a Human Rights Committee in your local or unit by using the mandate in the USW Constitution’s Article VII, Section 12
  • Introduce and strengthen anti-racism language in collective bargaining
  • Work with 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
  • Join the New Democratic Party to support legislation to create and amend human rights and workplace safety laws

In solidarity,

Marty Warren
USW District 6 Director

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