union equity resources
UNION EQUITY RESOURCES
Prepared by Linda Briskin
Over the last thirty years, the Canadian union movement has produced extensive materials on equity- related issues. Too often, these excellent documents have an ephemeral existence. Unions may not be able to devote scarce resources to archiving and organizing their publications and documents, and no central labour library exists to collect them. The unions module attempts to make this material more widely available. The 100-page Bibliography of Union Equity Documents, compiled by Linda Briskin in November 2005, includes reference to research reports, conference documents, policy statements, newsletters and educational material from Canadian unions since the 1970s. The material is organized alphabetically by union. The print collection has been donated to the Archives of the York University Library, titled “Inventory of the Women, Social Justice, and Canadian Trade Unions Collection” and has been available for public use since 2006.
Labour has been, and continues to be, at the forefront of many public policy debates and struggle to advance equity by influencing government policy. More than any other social institution, unions have also taken equity initiatives to transform their organizational practice and culture in order to ensure fairness and representation for equity-seeking members The union equity resources available on the GWD reflect both the internal and external equity activities of unions.
Nine unions also accepted an invitation to profile their union’s equity-related initiatives: CAW, CEP, CUPE, NUPGE, OPSEU, UFCW, USW, PSAC, and CLC. Each union has its own section which introduces the organization, offers a guide to finding equity-related material on the union’s website, and includes a bibliography of selected equity material. Each union identified key equity-related documents and mounted on the GWD website (with the union’s permission) in order to ensure that they are permanently accessible. Click here to see a full list of equity-related sources.
This material has been included in the GWD to promote access to and consciousness about important union sources, most of which are not available to people outside of labour circles. Not only do these documents educate union memberships but also inform other progressive social movements and employers, about the equity perspectives of the union movement. It is hoped that this material will be of use to researchers in both the unions and the universities. It is also intended to assist activists in the labour movement by providing a common resource base, a kind of “equity bank”, for those seeking to promote fairness for equity-seeking groups in unions, workplaces, and in society.
CANADIAN UNIONS AND EQUITY DOCUMENTS
(Image at right) Perhaps the most famous poster image representing women in the World War II war effort is Rosie the Riveter.
The image was originally produced by J. Howard Miller of Westinghouse for the War Production with a caption “We can do it!” As unions claimed the image, the caption was changed to “A woman’s place is in her union!” See here for more on the story of the poster.
For more on the experiences of the Rosies who did “men’s” jobs (burning, welding and riveting for building ships and airplanes) during the war, see the 1993 Canadian video And We Knew How to Dance and the 1980 American video The Life and Times of Rosie the Riveter.
CANADIAN AUTO WORKERS UNION – CAW
The Canadian Auto Workers Union (CAW) represents over 225,000 workers through Canada making it the largest private sector union in Canada. It is considered a general workers’ union since increasing its membership in sectors such as universities and colleges, hospitality, retail and health care. However, its base support continues to be drawn from the various transport and automobile manufacturing industries.
The CAW is a union offering full representation and benefits to all of its members. It is a very active union and contributes on a regular basis to labour research and policy making in Canada
In 2013 the CAW and the CEP joined to become Unifor, the largest private sector union in Canada with more than 300,000 members.
Photos: CAW Women at the March Against Poverty, 2000, Vancouver BC
The CAW has produced numerous documents relating to union equity issues. The chosen documents have been mounted on the GWD website with the permission of the CAW and will thus be permanently accessible. The majority of the documents are filed in the York University Archives and are available for use.
“CAW Women’s Advocate Brochure“, 2009.
“CAW Statement Against Homophobia and Transphobia“, 2009.
“Submission by CAW-Canada to the Ontario Legislative Committee regarding Bill 139, An Act to Amend the Employment Standards Act, 2000 in relation to temporary employment agencies“, 2009.
“Policy Statement on Human Rights – Workers Rights“, 2004.
“Policy Statement on the Family“, 2004.
“Collective Agreement Equity Audit“, 2004.
“Our Changing Society: Our Democratic Union“, CAW Statement on Affirmative Action, 2004.
“Planning for Generational Change: Youth and the CAW“, 2004.
“Building Our Union Through Diversity, Equality and Solidarity“, Paper from the 7th CAW Constitutional Convention, 2003.
“Human Rights Equality and Solidarity – Confronting Racism“, Paper from the 7th CAW Constitutional Convention, 2003.
“Where did our Rights come from?“
COMMUNICATION, ENERGY AND PAPERWORKERS UNION OF CANADA – CEP
The Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union (CEP) is one of the largest private sector unions in Canada, representing over 150,000 members in such industries as oil and gas production, pulp and paper production, communications, nursing and hospitality. It is also the newest union in Canada – founded in November 1992 – the product of the first ever three-way merger of the Canadian Paperworkers Union (CPU), the Communications and Electrical Workers of Canada (CWC) and the Energy and Chemical Workers Union (ECWU).
In 2013 the CAW and the CEP joined to become Unifor, the largest private sector union in Canada with more than 300,000 members.
The following is a list of select documents produced by the CEP relating to union equity issues, which are mounted on the GWD website and will be available permanently. Additional documents can be found on the CEP website.
“Anti-Harassment Policy 903.”
“Women and Equity Report”, 2011.
“National Women’s Committee – Policy 912.”
“Beyond Bargaining: Building on our skills to Build a Better Future – Policy 910.”
“Anti-Racism Policy: Unlearning Racism Policy 918.”
CANADIAN UNION OF PUBLIC EMPLOYEES – CUPE
The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) is Canada’s largest union, with more than 2,150 locals representing more than 590,000 members in both the public and private sectors. As such, CUPE represents a wide range of workers in an array of industries, most relating to the public and social service sectors and the professions. More than half the membership are women.
CUPE is a vibrant and active union with a solid democratic history. They are a strong collective voice, which they use to improve the working conditions for all Canadians.
To access equity-related policies and statements click on the “Union Education” link. From here you will be able to access a number of helpful resources like upcoming workshop sessions, different articles and brochures.
To access equity-related research documents click on the “Issues & Research” link at the top of the page. Here you will find a list of topics ranging from collective bargaining to health and safety. For equity-related resource materials and documents specific to the Committees, click on the “Campaigns” link at the top of the page.
Contact information is accessible by clicking on the “Contact Us” link at the bottom of the page.
The CUPE constitution is available online as a .pdf in English and in French.
The following is a list of documents produced by CUPE relating to union equity issues. The chosen documents are mounted on the GWD website with the permission of CUPE and will thus be permanently accessible. The majority of documents are filed and available for use in the York University Archives.
“Representative Workforce (Employment Equity) Strategy Guidelines“, April 29, 2009.
“Federal Budget 2009 and Aboriginal Issues Analysis“, 2009.
“Together We Can Improve Child Care“, 2008.
“Draft Resolution on Hate Crimes“, Revised Jun 21, 2004.
“A Return to Wage Discrimination: Pay Equity Losses Through the Privatization of Healthcare“, April 22, 2004.
“Bargaining Equality: A Workplace for All“, 2004.
“National President’s Letter to Prime Minister Paul Martin“, December 16, 2003. (re: same-sex marriage rights).
“International Day of Remembrance and Action to End Violence Against Women – December 6, 2003“, December 5, 2003.
NATIONAL UNION OF PUBLIC AND GENERAL EMPLOYEES – NUPGE
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is a federation of 11 component unions with over 340,000 members working in both the public service sector and the private business sector. NUPGE provides assistance and support to these components and acts as their official representative at the national level through the Canadian Labour Congress, and at the international level through Public Services International. NUPGE also provides its membership with many practical benefits based on the principle of strength in numbers. As part of its mission to improve working conditions for its membership and for Canadians at large, NUPGE is closely involved in monitoring changes and developments in all areas of provincial and federal legislation and social programming and in analyzing these changes as they affect the Canadian workplace.
When searching for equity-related topics, search under the “Watch List” or “Issues and Campaigns” on the right side of the webpage, for research reports and news releases. For published reports, pamphlets, educational materials and government submissions, search under “Occupational Groups.”
The following is a list of documents produced by NUPGE relating to union equity issues. The chosen documents have been mounted on the GWD website and will be permanently accessible. The majority of these documents are filed in the York University Archives and are available for use.
“Making Public Services a Priority“, December 2008.
“Medicare: Top Priority Short Wait Times 10-point action plan brochure.“
“Labour Rights are Human Rights“, June 2007.
“Sickness Doesn’t Discriminate“, pamphlet, 2004.
“Sisterhood is a Powerful Thing: Why Every Union Needs an Active Women’s Committee“, pamphlet, 2004.
“Solidarity and Pride: The Rainbow Flag“, pamphlet, 2004.
“Report of the Women’s Leadership Forum, October 19-21, 2003“, December 2003.
“A Different World is Possible: Globalization, International Solidarity, Human Rights and Poverty“, Equality Fact Sheet #8, 2003.
“An Anti-Poverty Agenda for Persons With Disabilities“, Equality Fact Sheet #3, 2003.
“Canada’s Aboriginal Peoples: Social Inclusion and Communities at Risk“, Equality Fact Sheet #5, 2003.
“Homelessness: Our National Disgrace“, Equality Fact Sheet #2, 2003.
“Making the Links: Poverty, Inequality and the Fight for Economic Justice“, Equality Fact Sheet #1, 2003.
“Moving Toward Equality: Legal Victories and Equality Struggles of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgendered (LGBT) Communities“, Equality Fact Sheet #6, 2003.
“Poverty and Democracy: Limits on Third Party Election Spending“, Equality Fact Sheet #7, 2003.
“Racial Inequality in Access to Work and Incomes“, Equality Fact Sheet #4, 2003.
“We Want the Whole Loaf: National Union Advisory Committee on Women’s Issues“, 2001.
ONTARIO PUBLIC SERVICE EMPLOYEES UNION – OPSEU
The Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) is the third largest union in the Province of Ontario, with over 100,000 members from over 500 locals in 7 distinct regions of the province. OPSEU is a provincial union and therefore is represented at the national level by the National Union of Public and General Employees.
Like all unions, OPSEU’s primary concern is the well-being of its membership and thus it is involved in monitoring and researching government changes to labour legislation and the delivery of public services that affect all Canadians.
To access equity-related documents, click on the “For Members.” Contact information is accessible by clicking on the “Contact Us” tab located at the top of the page.
The Constitution is available in .pdf format by clicking on “About Us” and selecting “OPSEU Constitution“; it is available in English and in French.
Photo: OPSEU Professional Day of Action, Sudbury District Hospital (Local 659) Ontario, 13 Feb 2003
The following is a list of documents produced by OPSEU relating to equity issues. The majority of these documents are filed in the York University Archives and are available for use.
“Harassment and Discrimination Prevention Policy“, March 4, 2009.
“OPSEU Brochure on Bullying and Psychological Harassment.“
“People With Disabilities: Personal Stories“, April 2006.
“International Day For The Elimination of Racism“, March 21, 2004.
“OPSEU Provincial Women’s Committee Report – Convention 2003 to February 2004“, 2004.
“Building a strong union: Step-by-Step in Sisterhood: About OPSEU’s Provincial Women’s Committee“, 2004.
“December 6- National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women: My Body is Not Your Battleground“, 2003.
“Ontario Public Service Employees Union Constitution“, 2003.
“The Year in Review”, Provincial Women’s Committee Report“, 2003.
“Rainbow Alliance“, February 2002.
“Let The Word Fit The Crime: A Message From the OPSEU Rainbow Caucus“, November 23, 2001.
UNITED FOOD AND COMMERCIAL WORKERS UNION OF CANADA – UFCW
The United Food and Commercial Workers Union of Canada (UFCW) is a national union representing over 240,000 workers across Canada. The majority of its membership works in the food production and distribution industries, but the union membership also includes those from other diverse sectors such as funeral services, clothing manufacturers and health services.
The UFCW is involved in both the Canadian Labour Congress and each of the Provincial Federations of Labour. It is a full service union that is committed to addressing the concerns of its membership and to improving workers’ rights.
You can access all equity-related publications by clicking the “Media and News” link or the “Issues” link at the top of the page. General contact information can be accessed by clicking on the “Contact” link also at the top of the homepage
To access the UFCW constitution, click “About Our Union” link at the top of the page, and select “Constitution“, located on the right side of the page. This can also be accessed in French.
The following is a list of documents produced by the UFCW relating to union equity issues. They are presented in various categories entitled Aboriginal, LGBTQ, Migrant Workers and Community/Racialized Workers. By accessing these documents online, you will be able to view the UFCW statement pertaining to the specific issue whilst being able to access links found in these articles which pertain to the subject matter. The union has chosen a selection of important equity-related documents from the list below. The majority of these documents are filed in the York University Archives and are available for use.
“Report on the Status of Migrant Farm Workers in Canada 2006-2007“, 2007.
“Respect: A Union For Wal-Mart Workers Flyer“.
“Dignity @ Work“, Michael J. Fraser, 2004.
“Farm Workers Have Rights Too“, Flyer, 2004.
“International Women’s Day 2004“, Michael J. Fraser, 2004.
“Rights For Ag Workers“, 2004.
“Sexual Harassment: It’s Wrong. It’s Against the Law. It’s Not Your Fault. We Can Help“, Flyer, 2004.
“We Come From Many Places. We Come From Many Backgrounds. We Are Canadians. Taking Action Against Racism“, Flyer, 2004.
“Protocol Between: National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) and United Food and Commercial Workers Union Canada (UFCW CANADA) regarding Organizing and Servicing of Agricultural Workers“, November 2003.
“UFCW Canada Constitution“, As Amended and Revised at the Fifth Regular Convention, July 2003.
“Step on It!“, National Youth Newsletter, Summer 2003.
“Occupational Health of Women in Non-Standard Employment“, Study written by a research team from McMaster University in co-operation with UFCW Canada. Isik Urla Zeytinoglu, Josefina Moruz, M. Bianca Seaton and Waheeda Lillevik, March 2003.
“National Report: Status of Migrant Farm Workers in Canada“, Submission Presented to the Federal Minister of Human Resources and Development Canada, December 2002.
“UFCW Canada Sponsors Sri Lanka Peace Conference“, November 2002.
“Winnipeg 2001: An Overwhelming Success“, UFCW Canada Women Working Together, Vol. 1, No. 1 (Winter 2002).
“Step on It!“, National Youth Newsletter, spring 2002.
“Global Justice CareVan 2002: We are Back and Stronger than Ever!“, Flyer, 2002.
“What Makes Wal-Mart Such a Bad Neighbour? Blowing the Whistle on a Neighbourhood Bully: A Workbook For Social Activism for UFCW Canada“, Campaign Document, 2000.
No Wal-Mart smile in Jonquière
May 6, 2005
JONQUIÈRE, QC – Hundreds of Jonquière area citizens gathered to show the true face of Wal-Mart by forming a giant mosaic that transformed Wal-Mart’s logo from a smile to a sneer. The rally was just one of many gatherings and protest rallies held on May 6th at Wal-Mart locations across Québec, one week after 200 Wal-Mart employees in Jonquière were let go and their store shut just months after they became the only unionized Wal-Mart location in North America.
May 6th was the day Wal-Mart said they would shut the store. They actually shut it one week earlier on April 29th, without notice, to escape the attention of local citizens and the media.
A recent Polara survey showed that more than 80% of Canadians dismiss Wal-Mart’s claim the store was losing money. Most Canadians surveyed said Wal-Mart shut the store to frighten other Wal-Mart employees from unionizing.
In spite of Wal-Mart’s move, two other Québec Wal-Mart locations have since been certified in Saint-Hyacinthe and in Gatineau. Applications to certify 12 other Wal-Mart locations across Canada are also pending.
UNITED STEELWORKERS – USW
The United Steelworkers of America (USW) represents over 280,000 workers in over 2,500 workplaces across Canada. Steelworker members can now be found in every sector of the economy – from factories to offices, to hospitals, university campuses, hotels, warehouses, bakeries, banks, transportation and communication workers and many more. There is a growing membership among women and visible minority workers.
The USW is a union committed to addressing the concerns of its membership and to improving workers’ rights. Steelworker collective agreements across Canada have set patterns for thousands of workers and their anti-discrimination contract clauses pre-dated human rights legislation by decades.
You can access equity-related publications by selecting the “News/Publications” tab at the top of the page. General departmental contact information can be accessed by clicking on the “Districts” tab. The USW constitution is not posted on their website; however, you can access a handful of amendments and resolutions in the “USW Conferences” section.
Top Photo: USW Women of Steel , International Women’s Day March, District 3, Western Canada
Second Photo: USW at International Women’s Day March
The following is a list of documents produced by the USW relating to union equity issues. The majority of these documents are filed in the York University Archives and are available for use.
“Opening Doors: Steelworkers’ Policy on Disability Rights“, National Policy Conference Vancouver, April 21-24, 2004.
“Pride at Work, Pride in the Union: Steelworkers on Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgendered Issues“, National Policy Conference Vancouver, April 21-24, 2004.
“Steelworker Guide to Violence Prevention“, April 2004.
“It’s a Balancing Act: A Steelworker Guide to Negotiating the Balance of Work-Life Responsibilities“, 1995. Updated and Revised, 2004.
“Steelworkers’ Equality Agenda”, March 2007.
“Women of Steel Building Equality.”
“United Steelworkers’ Reference Guide for Local, Regional and District Women’s Committees.”
PUBLIC SERVICE ALLIANCE OF CANADA (PSAC)
The Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) represents over 165,000 workers throughout the country, as well as a range of employees working in overseas embassies and consulates. It is comprised of over 230 locals, which range in size from 2 members to over 70,000 members. Owing to the nature of its members’ work, the PSAC is one of the strongest union presences in the Canadian north, representing territorial and municipal government workers in Nunavut, the Northwest Territories and the Yukon.
Although the majority of PSAC members are employed directly in federal government occupations and agencies, in recent years the PSAC has launched a concerted effort to expand its membership base. The PSAC has extended its representation into a range of private sector enterprises including universities, casinos, women’s shelters, security agencies, and more. The PSAC website is fully accessible in both English and French from the main access page.
The following is a list of documents produced by the PSAC relating to union equity issues. The majority of these documents are filed in the York University Archives and are available for use.
“Brief to the Senate Standing Committee on Human Rights on the hiring practices and employment equity in the federal public service“, June 8, 2009.
“Duty to Accommodate: A PSAC Guide for Local Representatives“, 2009.
“Recommendations by the Public Service Alliance of Canada to the Standing Committee on Human Resources Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities.”
“Disability Insurance: A handful of tips for Alliance members“, 2003.
“Hot Topics for Collective Bargaining: Same-Sex Benefits.“
“Hot Topics in Collective Bargaining: Review of Recent Public Sector Settlements.”
“Harassment bargaining issues leaflet.”
“Leave For Family-Related Responsibilities bargaining issues leaflet.“
“Marriage Leave bargaining issues leaflet.”
“Maternity and Parental Leave Without Pay bargaining issues leaflet.”
“PSAC National Action Plan on Disability Issues“, May 1997.
CANADIAN LABOUR CONGRESS (CLC)
In Canada, the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) is the main umbrella organization of national and international unions, provincial and territorial federations of labour, and district labour councils. It represents over three million workers. The CLC supports and educates unionists from many sectors and regions to fight for strong workplaces, pressure governments for change, build coalitions with like-minded groups and strengthen solidarity between workers in Canada and other countries. The CLC website is fully accessible in either English or French.
The following is a list of documents produced by the CLC relating to union equity issues. The majority of these documents are filed in the York University Archives and are available for use.
“The 2009 Federal Budget: Canadian Labour Congress Analysis.”
“Statement by the Canadian Labour Congress to the House of Commons Standing Committee on the Status of Women on Improving Economic Prospects for Canadian Girls”, 2013.
“The Economics of the Minimum Wage”, April 2007.
“CLC Response to ‘Fairness at Work: Labour Standards for the 21st Century'”, 2006.
“Better Educated, Badly Paid and Underemployed: A Statistical Picture of Young Workers in Canada”, 2005.
“The Increasing Use of Migrant Labour in Canada”, Presentation at the OFL Emergency Meeting on New Labour Market Training Dollars June 19, 2006.