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Toronto – September 6, 2019 – Activists from the UFCW Canada National Office and Local 1006A recently attended the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists (CBTU) Region One conference in Toronto, where participants explored pressing issues facing black communities across North America and how we can unite “For a Better Tomorrow.”
At the conference, nearly 200 attendees engaged in a discussion on health and wellness in the black community, noting the disparities in health care between black persons at risk and the rest of the population. The conference also focused on environmental racism and examined various groups experiencing challenges in accessing community services.
“Water issues affect diverse communities across the U.S. and Canada, whether we are looking at severe flooding in Puerto Rico, or the boiling water advisories that remain an everyday reality on Indigenous reserves,” says UFCW Canada National Representative Emmanuelle Lopez. “This conference has provided an opportunity to explore how systemic racism leads to the perpetuation of these conditions for Indigenous peoples and communities of colour.”
During the conference, participants were inspired by the words of keynote speaker Matthew Green, an NDP candidate and person of colour running in the Hamilton Centre riding in the upcoming federal election. Conference-goers also heard from June Veecock, the first CBTU Ontario Chapter President and the first Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) Director responsible for Human Rights.
“Conferences that address systemic oppression and labour’s role in ensuring the protection, representation, and advancement of rights for vulnerable populations are vital to achieving equity in our workplaces and our communities,” says Paul Meinema, the national president of UFCW Canada. “UFCW stands in strong support of the CBTU and its ongoing work to combat systemic racism in both Canada and the U.S.,” he adds.
As Canada’s leading and most progressive union, UFCW is committed to eliminating racism and discrimination in the workplace and in the broader community. To learn more about our union’s work in this area, visit UFCW Canada’s Anti-Oppression webpage.