Understanding Racism in the Workplace

BIPOC Canadians: Canadians who are Black, Indigenous, or people of colour, experience racial discrimination regularly. And it’s not unusual for BIPOC community members to still experience racism in the workplace. Awareness needs to be raised about the discrimination workers face, along with concrete steps to eliminate racial discrimination.

How does racial discrimination impact employees?

Racial discrimination does not only impact the mental health of BIPOC Canadians but also their financial well-being and quality of life. The Conference Board of Canada found that university-graduate, Canadian-born members of a visible minority earn, on average, 87.4 cents for every dollar earned by their White peers. The wage gap is even larger for workers who are indigenous, female, or disabled.

One reason for the wage gap may be that members of BIPOC communities are often overlooked, despite having high levels of education, being multilingual, and/or being extremely experienced in their field.

How can a labour union help BIPOC Canadians?

For many of these individuals, a labour union is an answer to being treated equally in the workplace. Unfortunately, members of the BIPOC community have a 30% lower rate of unionization than White workers in Canada.

Regardless of what industry an employee is in, Canadian unions need to be made accessible to ALL workers, especially minorities and those in low-wage positions. All workers deserve to be empowered and to have their rights protected in the workplace.

What is Teamsters Local Union 987 doing to address racial discrimination?

As Teamsters Local Union 987, we not only want to see basic employment standards upheld, but we want to see them exceeded. All employees deserve a safe working environment that promotes a high quality of life, regardless of their race, religion, gender, age, or sexual orientation.

We as Teamsters 987, as workers, and as Albertans need to continue to take action against racism and workplace discrimination. Alberta labour unions won’t stop fighting until we see fair treatment for all in the workplace.

“Unions believe we must respect the rights of all people, regardless of race, religion, immigration status, or country of origin. We recognize that we all ultimately benefit from the ways immigrants and refugees contribute to and enrich our society.” Canadian Labour Congress President, Hassan Yussuff

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