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Marty Warren Statement on Black History Month

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 races 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.

In addition to celebration, it is also important to note that racism plays a significant role in hiring, job opportunities and promotion. Day to day, black workers and other racialized people face harassment through racist jokes and stereotypical treatment. In more extreme cases, verbal and physical violence are included. 

Statistics Canada reported that in 2017, Ontario was Canada’s leading province in religious and race crimes. Compared to 2016, these types of crimes grew by 67 per cent last year alone. 

When they are broken down, I am even more shocked by figures in Ontario. In November 2018, CBC reported that there was a 207 per cent increase in hate crimes against Muslims, an 84 per cent increase in crimes against black people and a 41 per cent increase in incidents against Jewish people. 

In addition to celebrating Black History Month, I urge all Steelworkers to become equality activists. Make a difference by: 

  • Joining the New Democratic Party to support legislation for creating and amending human rights and workplace safety laws.
  • Creating a Human Rights Committee in your local or unit by using the mandate in the USW Constitution’s Article VII, Section 12.
  • Introducing and strengthening anti-racism language in collective bargaining.
  • Working with organizations such as the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists (CBTU).
  • Join with like-minded labour and community allies to stop racial profiling by police.
  • Promote and attend Steelworkers education workshops in human rights and anti-harassment in the workplace.
  • Lobby federal, provincial and municipal politicians to bring in equality legislation increasing protections against religious and race hatred.

In solidarity,

Marty Warren
Director, District 6

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