How Unions Are Fighting for Racial Justice & Equity

Canada is a multicultural country that has opened its doors to migrants to gain a better life. They bring their talents and skills to help fill our growing demand for labour. As a result, workplaces have become increasingly diverse over the last number of decades.

Alberta labour unions have emerged as champions for equality in the workplace. Unions are working to dismantle barriers, challenge discrimination, and promote inclusivity for all employees. This includes taking action to ensure unionized workplaces are free from racism – and promote fairness through various practices and policies.

How does racial discrimination impact workers?

Racial discrimination at work is incredibly harmful to those who are targeted. In addition to the emotional impact it can cause, it can prevent racialized workers from receiving promotions and advancing their careers. It can also lead to a toxic workplace.

Empowering marginalized employees

Labour unions play a big role in giving a voice to all employees, including those experiencing discrimination.

Collective agreements ensure all union members benefit: regardless of race, culture, gender and age. Wages, benefits, improved working conditions, and workplace policies are negotiated to benefit ALL workers.

However, there are specific ways unions directly address issues of racial discrimination.

Promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI)

Alberta labour unions, including Teamsters 987, have been vocal in encouraging employers to implement inclusive hiring practices – so workplaces mirror the diversity within the larger community.

Unions promote diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in several ways:

Providing education and training opportunities

Education and training can be effective in changing behaviours and attitudes. Unions can play a role in increasing understanding of racial discrimination, challenging stereotypes, and promoting cultural awareness.

This can be done by developing and implementing workshops, seminars, and specialized training courses with experts in racial justice. It may include resources such as books, articles and videos. Together, these tools can help employees better understand and combat racism at work.

Advocacy and policy change

Labour unions can leverage their collective power to advocate for policy changes that specifically address racial justice and equity issues. This can include working with various stakeholders, such as community organizations, lawmakers, and others. It often involves support initiatives that promote anti-discrimination measures and equitable workplace practices.

Grievance procedures and support

When racial discrimination happens in the workplace, labour unions can directly support the employees facing these challenges. Union representatives can provide guidance and support in filing grievance complaints. This includes ensuring a fair and unbiased process for resolving workplace disputes.

Agents of change

The dedication and efforts of unions have been instrumental in shaping workplaces where every individual is respected, valued, and provided equal opportunities to thrive.

No matter what race or ethnicity you are, Teamsters 987 believes that all employees deserve a safe working environment. We all have a collective responsibility to act against racial injustice. And we won’t stop fighting until we see fair practices for all employees.

If you have any questions or need support, our team is here to help. Contact us today for more information.

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