CULE/PSAC Joint statement on racism

Amended & Updated July 30

The Public Service Alliance of Canada and the Canadian Union of Labour Employees reaffirm their longstanding commitment to equity, respect for all working people and the development of a truly inclusive environment not only at work, but in our unions and our communities.

While much effort has been made in this regard over the last many years, the events at the Rae-Edzo picket line in April of this year remind us that our work is not yet finished. Together, we acknowledge that comments made in the heat of the moment were inherently racist and, while not intended to do so, have caused considerable pain and suffering not only to the individuals directly involved in the picket line but also to many others among our staff and membership, respectively.

This learning experience has been particularly painful to our organizations, themselves, as we have both made anti-oppression a focus for much of our work in recent years in the hope that we could avoid the very serious damage that events such as those witnessed on the picket line at Rae-Edzo cause.

The Public Service Alliance of Canada, as a Union in its own right but also as an Employer is commited to working together with staff to promote equity at all levels of the union. The PSAC Employment Equity Plan has assisted us in developing a more diverse staff complement and we look forward to continuing to work together to identify and remove barriers to a fully equitable workplace. The PSAC Joint Employment Equity Committee will continue their work of reviewing, updating and ensuring full compliance with the plan as well as developing further employment equity initiatives. We are now planning our second national staff conference for aboriginal workers and worker of colour. The first conference led to the endorsement of a plan to provide anti oppression training for all Alliance staff. We are now ready to consider the objectives, content and delivery of the next phase of education and awareness building and are committed to maintaining the high priority of this issue.

The Canadian Union of Labour Employees has embraced a commitment to equity, working hard to support the Employer’s Employment Equity Plan, ensuring that once on staff, their members enjoy a truly inclusive work environment free from oppressive actions, words and policies so that they may properly take their rightful place within their workplace and their union, alike. At its Convention in January, CULE delegates established an Equity Committee and passed a number of resolutions aimed at casting an equity lens on our own internal operations in the hope that systemic barriers can be identified, removed and/or modified to ensure that all members can fully participate in their union and CULE remains committed to this endeavor. We believe that this has been a learning experience, though painful, and with progressive action we can move forward to build a stronger, more inclusive and oppression free environment.

In light of the above, the Public Service Alliance of Canada and the Canadian Union of Labour Employees reconfirm our commitment to anti-oppression training and agree to enter into meaningful discussions on how best to deliver this in the near future.

Lisa Garnier, CULE President & Penny Bertrand, PSAC Director ROB

Amended & Updated July 30

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