March is a month where we recognize both the progress we have made and how far we still have to go. On March 8 the Union of Health and Environment Workers will celebrate International Women’s Day. This is another great opportunity to recognize the contributions that women make to our country, our communities and our union. I want to particularly acknowledge the women leaders in the Union of Health and Environment Workers. Whether you work at the local, regional or national level, we salute you and thank you. For all those activists at Regional Women’s Committees across the country, thank you for helping us make progress and achieve social justice and equality.
On March 21 we will also recognize the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. If one thinks that we do not have racial discrimination or hate based on the colour of peoples’ skins in this country, seeing the Confederate Flag being waved in Ottawa during the occupation should dispel that notion. That flag, which is universally recognized as s symbol of bigotry and hatred and the promotion of slavery, shook many of us, but somehow it did not surprise us.
That’s because we know that in our Canadian society, people of colour are still discriminated against when it comes to the basics of life like housing and employment. In the federal public service there is a class action lawsuit against the on-going discrimination against black public sector workers who are still being denied promotional opportunities and advancement in their careers.
If anything, recent events have inspired us to work harder, to dig deeper, to fight even more strenuously for the society that we want. Free of racism, sexism, harassment and discrimination. We take that fight to the workplace as well and we will not cease until justice has been achieved for all workers, all people in this country.
Bishop Desmond Tutu, who recently died, was a fierce advocate for equality and social justice. He said: “Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.” We call on all UHEW members to join us. If all of us do our part, then we will succeed.
I also have one big piece of news for you. The UHEW Membership Survey is coming out this month. It will be an opportunity for all members to have their say about how the Union is working now and how we can improve in the future. Watch for it in your in-box soon.
Drop me a line or email any time.
Help us build UHEW together!!