Human Rights

Why focus on human rights?
because employers are using race to divide workers and because the government wants to roll back the clock on workers’ rights, women’s rights, the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people and because in tough economic times workers are encouraged to turn against each other and because the government wants us to be afraid of our Muslim neighbours and because people with disabilities are still excluded from our workplaces and because women still make 70 cents on the dollar and because employers won’t hire Aboriginal people into decent unionized jobs and because newcomers to Canada are denied access to jobs they have trained for and because people whose first language is neither English nor French aren’t being listened to and because some of our members who are returning to work with disabilities are being mistreated by their supervisors and co-workers and because in a union with 33% women we still hear sexist comments at union meetings and because the government is dismantling human rights commissions, health and safety offices, and women’s programs and because working-class people are stereotyped by tv shows and news reports and because the union has the tools to stop discrimination and because if we don’t deal with prejudice it will divide us and because our union is part of society and unless we actively work differently we reflect its racism, sexism, homophobia, ableism and because working-class people are the ones who are most harmed by all forms of discrimination and because we need inspiration from workers who have stood up and confronted discrimination and oppression and because we need to figure out how to be better allies and because religious hatred divides union members and because homophobia divides union members and because sexism divides union members and because discriminating against people with disabilities divides union members and because stereotypes continue to be used to stop us from working in solidarity and because employers’ prejudices prevent people of colour from getting work so they can feed their families and because government policies created and maintain a poverty cycle for Aboriginal peoples and because police are more concerned with protecting property than with protecting workers rights and because it’s the employer who does the hiring and they’re discriminating and because in order to demand fair treatment from employers we need a better picture of what’s actually happening out there and because there’s been so much misinformation about employment equity that it’s hard to tell myth from fact and because history tells us that the only way we can deal with oppression is to name it and because contract workers are exploited by middlemen and denied the benefits of unionization and because migrant farm workers are exploited by employers and denied full rights by governments and because in a few years workers of colour will be the majority in our cities and must be heard and because many of our union executives still don’t reflect the diversity of our membership (gender, age, race, religion, first language) and because we all need to know how to support a human rights cause / agenda and because we all need to know the lines of harassment and because if we don’t deal with oppression we will be crushed by it and because