We are aware of a lawsuit that has been launched against the Ontario government and two other unions alleging systemic racism and discrimination in the Ontario Public Service. OPSEU is not involved in the litigation but we are deeply concerned about discrimination and racism in any form.
We were the first trade union to support the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa. We continue our work in Sub-Saharan Africa through the Stephen Lewis foundation and our Live and Let Live fund.
Internally, we continue to have anti-racism discussions and take a critical look within. We established a racialized workers committee to ensure racialized workers are provided with opportunity and mentorship. This work is ongoing and together with our two staff unions we continue to forge ahead in becoming even more inclusive and representative of our diverse membership.
We recently and successfully hosted our first Racialized Workers Conference, attended by over 200 delegates. The agenda examined both internal and external boundaries established by systemic racism, especially anti-black racism.
We continue to ensure that our membership services includes a robust defence of members’ workplace rights, including issues related to harassment and discrimination.
OPSEU condemns racism and discrimination in any form but also accepts that although we have put resources and effort into the eradication of both, much work remains to be done. We are committed to continuing these important efforts hand in hand with our racialized workers committee.
Warren (Smokey) Thomas
Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida