Information

National Communications

No More Stolen Sisters (May 5, 2024)

To : Local Union Presidents and Recording Secretaries, National Staff

May 5 is Red Dress Day, a day of awareness for the missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, and two-spirited individuals (MMIWG2S), and a time to express our deep solidarity with their families. The National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls has laid out 231 recommendations for ending the violence. The Inquiry’s report calls out the ongoing cycle of violence and systemic discrimination that has resulted from Canada's colonial past. By ignoring or underfunding support for Indigenous communities, colonial violence has been perpetuated by governments in every region.

The Inquiry's calls for justice are a guide for all Canadians, organizations, and governments to put an end to the violence. Allies must keep up pressure on elected officials to get to work to implement all 231 recommendations.

As a social union, Unifor recognizes that the fight for social justice for everyone goes beyond the bargaining table, and extends to community action. For the second year in a row, we will partner with the Tears to Hope Society to participate in their annual relay run to raise awareness about the women and girls who have gone missing along Northern B.C.’s “Highway of Tears”. This year, Unifor members can participate in a nationwide relay on Saturday, October 5.

More details, including a checklist for Unifor event organizers, shirt orders, and pledge details will follow this summer.

In the meantime, Unifor local unions are strongly encouraged to find May 5 events in your area and participate. A growing list of events can be found on Unifor’s website. Also on the website are graphics to share in your social media channels to amplify the message that violence against Indigenous woman, girls, and two spirited people must stop!

On May 5 and every day: no more stolen sisters.

Asian Heritage Month (May 2024)

To : Local Union Presidents and Recording Secretaries, National Staff

Unifor celebrates Asian Heritage Month, that occurs annually each May. Together we honour and commemorate the culture and history of Asian communities in Canada. 

Unifor recognizes the importance of creating and holding space for Asian voices, acknowledging the challenges they face, and working together to dismantle systemic barriers to create a more inclusive society. We are committed to advocating for equitable representation, fair treatment, and meaningful opportunities for Asian workers in all sectors of the economy that we’re building together.

As a union, we are guided by the principles of solidarity and justice, recognizing that our struggles are interconnected, and that true progress can only be achieved through collective action. 

In the spirit of solidarity, Unifor stands shoulder to shoulder with Asian communities in Canada and around the world in the fight against racism, inequality, and injustice.

This month is also a reminder for all of us to come together to combat anti-Asian racism and discrimination in all its forms. Asian Canadians have reported continued mistreatment and harassment mainly due to political tensions and COVID-19, a 2023 poll by Angus Reid Institute and the Canadian Race Relations Foundation shows.

Together, we can create a more just, inclusive, and equitable society where every individual is valued, respected, and empowered to reach their full potential.

We strongly believe it is the role of our union to create safer workplaces and dedicated spaces to celebrate the invaluable contributions and accomplishments of Asian people and our diverse membership, by bargaining collective agreements that make our workplaces better places for everyone.

We encourage all locals, unions and Unifor activists to not only encourage workplaces to create opportunities for Unifor’s Asian, and Black, Indigenous and Workers of Colour members in leadership roles, but to heed the same call.

Social media graphics

Read this statement on our website.

May Day (May 1, 2024)

To : Local Union Presidents and Recording Secretaries, National Staff 

On May 1st, Unifor joins unions across Canada and around the globe to mark International Workers’ Day – a day where we celebrate workers and the labour movement – from our collective victories to our common struggles. 

The ongoing affordability crisis continues to be a challenge for working class communities across Canada.  This crisis has been fueled by growing economic inequality exacerbated by global corporate giants who squeeze workers’ wages while extracting more wealth for their executives and shareholders. As recently reported by Oxfam International, the richest five men in the world have doubled their fortunes since 2020, while the wealth of 5 billion people has decreased. Further, seven out of ten of the world’s largest corporations have either a billionaire CEO or a billionaire as their principal shareholder.

It is no surprise then that we have seen a corresponding wave of labour actions take place in Canada, the U.S. and around the world. It is clear the labour momentum of the 2023 ‘Hot Labour Summer’ has carried forward into 2024 as workers reject sub-par offers and concessions from employers that are simultaneously recording massive profits. 

Since May Day of last year, thousands of Unifor workers have fought hard at the bargaining table, and in some cases engaged in strike action to achieve the fair gains they sought. This includes our 3,700 Unifor grocery store members at Metro, one of Canada's grocery giants, who took strike action for fair wages. It also includes workers at Autoport, a subsidiary of CN Rail, who fought their employer who brought in scabs on the first day of the dispute. Elsewhere across North America, port workers, auto workers, writers and screen workers, media workers, transport workers and many others took unprecedented months-long strike action fighting for better job protections and working conditions. 

These bold labour actions have inspired more workers to look to join unions and have resulted in equally bold organizing campaigns. In the past year, thousands of workers have joined Unifor to gain a seat at the bargaining table, a voice in their workplace and a place in the labour movement family. In B.C., Unifor is working hard to organize Amazon workers.  We have also seen the UAW make recent history by successfully organizing workers at the Volkswagen assembly plant in Tennessee, despite fierce right-wing political opposition – a strong signal that even in the most challenging of labour environments, workers are looking for dignity and respect on the job and are ready to stand up for their rights. 

Only by building working-class power and uniting our movements at a global level can we effectively challenge the growing concentration of multinational corporate power.

On May Day, let us continue to mobilize and organize in solidarity, fighting for peace and social and economic justice and build the better world all workers deserve. 

Read this statement on our website.

International Human Rights Day (Dec 8, 2023)

Unifor Statement on International Human Rights Day

This is the 75th year since the Universal Declaration of Human Rights came to life. Given the state of the world today, these rights and the leadership and inspiration behind them have never been more needed.

Today, we re-issue the call for a ceasefire in Gaza. We are bearing witness to a level of atrocity that will be felt for generations to come and significantly hamper any efforts towards fostering peace between Israel and Palestine. The violence must end, and humanitarian support and the necessities of life must be restored.

At home, we see precarity rising, with housing, with food prices, and with wages that don’t provide for basic needs.

Amidst all of these very real challenges, Unifor can be a beacon of hope for better.  The union’s Social Justice Fund (SJF) continues to sponsor projects around the world to improve the lives of workers and their families, to strengthen democracy, contribute to poverty reduction and promote equitable development.

A special SJF 10th anniversary legacy grant was announced at an event following Ontario Regional Council, where six organizations received a total of $600,000 to help support programs and initiatives that would have a long-term impact on various regions and marginalized communities across Canada and around the world. The selected organizations included Doctors Without Borders, Oxfam Canada, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), CODE, Tears to Hope Society, and Romero House, supporting programs in areas such as humanitarian aid, education, workers’ rights, gender equity, health care, truth and reconciliation, and refugee support.

Across Canada, the union has supported initiatives like The Humanity Project which provides shelter and support for those in the Moncton, N.B. area experiencing homelessness and struggling with addiction, raised funds to support the healing of families of missing and murdered Indigenous women and to build affordable housing with the Imagine Build project in partnership with Oneida Nation of the Thames, defended the LGBTQ2S+ community against rising hate, and advocated for fair and equitable workplaces and work conditions for all members.
This work is important and we remain committed to the challenge of doing it.

The work we do as union activists to support the building of a human rights culture in which every worker feels valued and included is equally important.

To support the growth of this work, the Unifor will bring together 75 Equity Committee representatives from across the country. Together, they will undertake training, engage in strategic planning, and create a blueprint for growing human rights and equity within every level of the union. Local unions will be challenged to engage in meaningful action to support equity-deserving members. In addition, there will be a new award for the local union that best demonstrates commitment to human rights and equity.

The National Executive Board of the Union has agreed to the creation of a brand-new Local Union Equity Fund to provide financial support to projects that build more equity and inclusion within local unions. In 2024, $250,000 will be available to support a range of projects. The first deadline for applications for projects in the coming year is this Friday, December 15.

Apply to the Local Union Equity Fund here.  

This unprecedented structural and financial commitment reflects the importance of the work and the union’s focus on achieving meaningful changes toward a more just world for all.

For inquiries on equity work within the union, email humanrights@unifor.org or women@unifor.org, and for information about the Unifor Social Justice Fund, email international@unifor.org.  


International Day of Persons with Disabilities 2023 (Nov 29, 2023)

Unifor marks the International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) on December 3, embracing this year's theme: “Transformative solutions for inclusive development: the role of innovation in fueling an accessible and equitable world.” This theme resonates deeply with our commitment as a union to champion the rights and inclusion of workers with disabilities.

The current socio-political and economic landscape presents unprecedented challenges. In these times of crisis, the risk of persons with disabilities being marginalized increases significantly. Unifor is dedicated to addressing these challenges head-on, ensuring that disability inclusion is more than an ideal and a tangible reality in workplaces across the country.

We recognize the current labour market as an opportunity to redefine the intersection of work and disability. It's a chance to actively address the unemployment and underemployment of persons with disabilities while simultaneously tackling current challenges in access to employment.

Our goal is to create a work environment where everyone, regardless of their abilities, can contribute meaningfully and thrive. This IDPD, Unifor urges all members and locals to actively participate in fostering an inclusive environment. 

Here’s how you can take action to show solidarity and promote inclusion:

Together, let's embrace the power of solidarity to transform our workplaces into models of inclusivity and equity, not just on this International Day of Persons with Disabilities, but every day.

For more information or to get involved, please contact Derek MacLeod, Workers with Disabilities Staff Liaison, at derek.macleod@unifor.org.

Read this statement on our website here.

In solidarity,

Lana Payne
National President

Get Ready for November 30th, a Day of Action for Child Care (Nov 27, 2023)

Families across Canada are crying out for access to early learning and child care.

The federal government’s historic child care initiative has brought down parent fees for licensed child care for children under 6. However, there are only enough licensed spaces for a fraction of those who need it. Vulnerable families and children are much more likely to be fall through the large gap between supply and demand.

The federal, provincial and territorial governments have promised to create an additional 250,000 licensed spaces by 2025-26, primarily in the not-for-profit and public sectors, but we have seen very few of these spaces open up. A recent report by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives confirms that about half of younger children in Canada live in child care deserts.

On November 30th, the annual Day of Action for Early Learning and Child Care (ELCC), child care advocates and allies will call for immediate and meaningful government action to address the shortage of qualified early childhood educators, which is a major block to making licensed programs more available. Also, the Day of Action will back up the child care movement’s demand for public capital funds to finance the growth of not-for-profit and public child care.

How to support the Day of Action

Child Care Now is calling on allies in Canada’s labour movement to support the November 30 Day of Action for Early Learning and Child Care.

In solidarity,
Lana Payne
National President

One step closer to federal anti-scab legislation (Nov 10, 2023)

We did it. Today, the federal government tabled anti-scab legislation.


It was a long time coming and we have come this far because of the incredible activism by generations of workers, including all of you. Decades and decades of campaigning. It is a testament to our fighting spirit in this union and in our movement. We organize until we win. 


Once the proposed legislation works its way through the House and the Senate, employers can no longer employ scabs during strikes and lockouts in federally regulated workplaces.


This will level the playing field. It will allow for free and fair collective bargaining. And next we will fight for such laws in every provincial jurisdiction in the country.


The proposed legislation comes after we, and other labour organizations, fiercely advocated for the Liberal government to make good on its promise to ban the use of replacement workers. Unifor will closely monitor the evolution of Bill 58 through Parliament to make sure this law is the strongest it can be and it is implemented as quickly as possible.


Today I joined Minister of Labour, Seamus O’Regan, to comment on the introduction of this important legislation. You can watch my remarks here: https://fb.watch/od2fzNywqh/​.


For our union’s nearly 70,000 members working in the federally regulated private sector, including in telecommunications, road, rail, air and marine transportation, aviation, broadcast media, among others, today was a big win and a long time coming.

Together we’ll continue pushing hard to make anti-scab legislation a reality.


Let’s go!

In solidarity,

Lana Payne
Unifor National President

Unifor supports ending impunity for crimes against journalists (Oct 31, 2023)

Knowing the truth means safeguarding the truth.

Imagine going to work every day, knowing that you may be a target of attack or that you may be killed on the job. But you’re not a soldier or a police officer. Instead, you’re armed only with pen and notepad, or perhaps a smartphone and camera.

You are on the frontlines to narrate our stories, keep the public informed, and reveal the happenings in communities and across the globe.

Today, November 2, Unifor recognizes the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists, a United Nations-recognized international day observed annually. The purpose of the day is to draw attention to a lack of accountability for crimes committed against journalists.

From Afghanistan to Ukraine, and currently in the Middle East, journalists are increasingly under attack and putting themselves at risk to get us the information we need to understand our world.

At least 24 journalists have been killed since the Israel/Palestine war began on Oct. 7.

In Ukraine, as of April 2023, 12 journalists have died covering the Russian invasion.

And in Afghanistan, 11 journalists have died since 2020.

The percentage of women journalists killed worldwide has almost doubled – from 6% in 2020 to 11% in 2021. According to UNESCO, the severe increase in online violence, harassment and abuse against journalists is spilling over into in-person violence.

In Canada, the harassment and abuse of journalists is on the rise. Unifor has outlined the problem, what’s at stake and what can be done in a report called, Breaking the News – Media Workers Under Attack.

Journalists who experience harassment can find immediate support and resources on our website, uniformedia.ca/helpishere.

Unifor is also working on a comprehensive plan to educate members, create stronger collective agreement language, develop training and advocacy programs, lobbying to support journalists and media workers and to combat this harassment and abuse.

Our union is calling to end the impunity for crimes against journalists. One death is too many and governments must act. Here are the actions our union is calling for:

Strengthening Legal Protections: Countries should enact and enforce strong legal frameworks that protect journalists and media workers from harassment, violence, and threats.

Accountability and Justice: Governments must ensure that those who commit crimes against journalists are held accountable. Establishing dedicated mechanisms to investigate and prosecute these crimes is essential.

Safe Working Environments: Countries should collaborate with media organizations to create safe working environments for journalists. This includes providing security training, protective gear, and safe reporting spaces.

International Cooperation: International collaboration is vital in addressing this global issue. Countries should work together to exchange information, expertise, and best practices to protect journalists and prevent impunity.

In 2023, there are already 45 journalists who have been killed. Since 1993, we have lost a total of1626 journalists. A full list of journalists killed since 1992 can be found here.

Coming home safely from work should not be a privilege. Journalists and media workers deserve to be protected.

We need to end impunity for crimes against journalists now.

Read this statement on our website here.

In solidarity,

Lana Payne
National President

Take action for Reproductive Justice (Jul 19, 2023)

Across the world, a new wave of attacks is underming basic human rights, which working people have spent decades to secure.

In the United States, many state governments are rolling back the clock back on what have been considered acquired human rights for women, non-binary and queer & trans people. It is always working class communities that face the steepest barriers to reproductive justice.

We know that the currents that drive these attacks often find their way to us here in Canada.

Over the last year, all of Unifor’s regional councils have adopted a mandate to support a national reproductive justice campaign. As trade unionists, we know that we must often fight to win what should already be ours. We know that we must keep up the fight so that all the individuals who share our workplaces and communities can be safe and healthy.

We believe that abortion is health care.

As a union, we do not want our world to go backwards. We want to move forward to defend and expand access to reproductive health care for everyone.

Tell your Member of Parliament to protect and expand reproductive care!

I encourage Unifor local unions and activists to reflect on what we can do together to achieve the reproductive justice required by working people across this country.

WHAT CAN YOU DO?

Every level of government needs to hear our voices loud and clear:

We need Reproductive Justice Now!

Learn more at unifor.org/reproductivejustice.

In solidarity,

Lana Payne


2023 National Indigenous Peoples’ Day (Jun 21, 2023)

June 21 is National Indigenous Peoples’ Day, a day to celebrate in the enduring culture and achievements of Indigenous peoples.

Earlier this month Unifor partnered with the Aboriginal Peoples’ Television Network to sponsor Indigenous Day Live on June 17, a cultural and artistic show with the theme “Celebrating Our Youth.” The event celebrated Indigenous youth and their important contribution to communities and their role as future leaders.

Unifor is guided by the work undertaken by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. The Commission’s 94 calls to action are a historic starting point for the federal government to begin to redress and recognize the harm done by colonialism and take meaningful action.

Beyond our campaign for government action, Unifor also takes seriously the responsibility we have to participate in meaningful acts of reconciliation.

This month, Unifor members are encouraged to reflect on their territorial acknowledgement practices and relationships with local Indigenous communities and organizations.

Many unions, including ours, have had a long tradition of stating a territorial acknowledgement at the start of events, demonstrations and meetings where members are gathered.

Territorial acknowledgements are an act of respect for the history of the land and the peoples who occupied it before you who, more often than not, were displaced with acts of violence. It is thanks, gratitude, and an acknowledgment of the relationship between First Peoples and the land that continues to the present day. It is a demonstration that you have thought about what colonialism means for your union’s work and the very event space in which you’re located.

Territorial acknowledgements are not mere recitals of a dated script for which you had no part in preparing. Feel free to take some ownership over the text and use your own words. Territorial acknowledgements are not meaningful if they are done in isolation of other work for reconciliation. With them you’ve done a minimal amount of work to recognize historical injustice, but they must be matched with action.

For many local unions, the territorial acknowledgement is already a regular practice. For others, this will be a new project that will require outreach, education, and new operating policy for events.

Starting new practices can be challenging, but that’s the point. Small acts of reconciliation take time and work. It will also take work to seek out next steps.

While there are a myriad of online resources linked below to help with crafting a respectful and informed territorial acknowledgement, you are encouraged to connect with the Indigenous nation(s) or friendship centres in your area to complete this project. Knowing the history of the land and first peoples is key for a sincere land acknowledgement.

Please find out what is happening in your community for June 21 and share in the celebratory spirit of the day.

In the year ahead, Unifor re-commits to the national campaign for the adoption of the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and other efforts to recognize the rights of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis people.

In solidarity,

Lana Payne
National President

Resources:


Signal for Help (Jun 12, 2023)

In 2021, a North Carolina teen was rescued by police after using a one-handed gesture to signal distress that went viral on the social media platform TikTok.

The made-in-Canada distress signal was co-developed by the Canadian Women’s Foundation and a Toronto ad agency upon launching their campaign, Signal for Help

Become a Signal for Help Responder by signing up on the Canadian Women’s Foundation website. You will receive the Action Guide as well as other tools to recognize the signs of gender-based violence and offer stigma-free support. When you know how to respond to the signs of abuse, you can change the story.

Every 6 days, a woman in Canada is killed by her intimate partner.

This tool can help save lives - print it, share it, teach it.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out at women@unifor.org

In sisterhood and solidarity,

Tracey Ramsey

Director, Women’s Department

National Indigenous History Month (June 2023)

June is National Indigenous History Month. It is a great time to learn more about the varied cultural and artistic heritage of First Nations, Inuit and Metis peoples and to celebrate these contributions.

For June 2023 Unifor has partnered with the Aboriginal Peoples’ Television Network to sponsor Indigenous Day Live on June 17, a cultural and artistic show with the theme “Celebrating Our Youth.” The event celebrates Indigenous youth and their important contribution to communities and their role as future leaders.

Although the event is broadcast live at 7 p.m. CT from The Forks in Winnipeg, anyone can tune into the stream online at https://www.youtube.com/aptntv

Also this month, Unifor has partnered with the Tears to Hope Society to help expand the scope of their relay race to communities across Canada. Unifor local unions are encouraged to select a local 5 or 10-kilometre route and register as soon as possible to participate in the relay taking place on Saturday, June 17, 2023.

June 21 is the annual National Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Mark it on your calendar and stay tuned for more ways to participate.

In solidarity,

Lana Payne
National President

World Press Freedom Day (May 2023)

May 3, 2023, marks the 30th anniversary of World Press Freedom Day.

World Press Freedom Day was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in Dec. 1993 and is an opportunity to celebrate the fundamental principles of press freedom, assess the state of press freedom and pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the line of duty.

This is a day that should remind us how important it is that we live in a democratic society with an independent press, which is free to hold the powerful to account, committed to the public interest and able to tell local stories that bind our communities.

Unfortunately, journalism in Canada is at a crossroads. The financial models for journalism are broken, and the country requires a strong, political will to ensure a vibrant free press remains viable.

Canadian journalists are being harassed and abused online and in the field at alarming rates, which results in the censoring the most vulnerable voices in media. Journalists and media workers who are women, workers of colour, Indigenous, 2SLGBTQIA+, and from other equity-deserving groups, are disproportionally targeted by this harassment. If left unchecked, harassment and abuse have a silencing effect and impact press freedom.

Unifor is on the forefront of these issues, championing legislation to support a vibrant media industry in Canada, and creating an action plan to combat the harassment and abuse of journalists and media workers.

Our union’s plan is a two-path approach. The first path is to support the victims of harassment and the second is to combat harassment and look for ways to prevent it from happening in the first place.

Solutions to the troubling issues faced by journalists and media workers will take resolve from all stakeholders, including employers, unions, government, police, and prosecutors.

Global press freedom remains far from reach. In 2022, there were 67 journalists killed, a steep increase from the year before. Ukraine, China, and Afghanistan were among the toughest countries to report from as journalists risked their lives and struggled to uncover the truth.

Our union will continue to stand up for press freedom and to continue the daily work to uphold its principles.

We will continue to pressure the federal government to support media workers and the organizations that represent them in Canada, and across the globe.

Unifor will continue to advocate for a national plan to protect journalists from harassment and abuse, inside and outside of the newsroom.

Our union will continue to document our press freedom issues with Canada’s Press Freedom Tracker and provide resources through our Help is Here website and Media Action Plan.

Today, and every day, we encourage members and local unions to join us in the fight for press freedom.

In solidarity,

Lana Payne
National President

Read this statement on our website here.

Saskatchewan LABOUR RIGHTS Report

Funding for the Saskatchewan Labour Rights report was provided by the Unifor Labour Relations Scholar position at the University of Regina and Unifor 1-S was one of the sponsors for this project/report.  Please review this highly informative report.


National Day of Mourning (Apr 28, 2023)

On April 28, National Day of Mourning, we remember and pay tribute to all workers hurt or killed on the job through injury or employment-related illness.

Download the Day of Mourning statement here.

Download the Day of Mourning poster here.

Download the Day of Mourning graphic here.

Prairie Regional Council highlight video (Apr 26, 2023)

This spring the Prairie Regional Council met in Calgary to strategize about bargaining and discuss our union’s many campaigns for workers’ rights and social justice.

If you weren’t able to attend, you can read the web story watch a short video with all the highlights.

Our meeting coincided with International Women’s Day and delegates organized a social event that helped raise $15,000 for Elizabeth House.

Other highlights include welcoming Rachel Notley, Carla Beck, and Wab Kinew (via Zoom). Both Lana Payne and Len Poirier were in attendance to update delegates about the national officers’ activities and ongoing efforts of the National Executive Board.

Delegates also discussed and adopted the following resolutions:

As you can see, Unifor is busy on the prairies and will be a force in the year ahead.

It was great to see so many committed Unifor activists in person at our meeting. I encourage you to stay as active as possible in your local union and keep building a strong labour movement.

In solidarity,

Gavin McGarrigle
Western Regional Director

Repetitive Strain Injury (Feb 28, 2023)

Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) Awareness Day is February 29, or February 28 in non-leap years like this one. As the only “non-repetitive” day of the year, it’s the ideal date to raise awareness of repetitive strain injuries and how to prevent them.

As union representatives, we are often aware of the more acute risks to our health and safety in the workplace. It is a challenge to remember that simple, repetitive movements can lead to injuries that can be difficult to recover from. We must take precautions and set up our everyday movements to prevent RSIs.

There are resources you can use in your workplaces to help you and your fellow workers keep RSIs in mind as you go about your workday. We encourage you to read through the detailed Fact Sheet on RSIs and make Repetitive Strain Injuries a topic at Local meetings and at the bargaining table.

Read the Fact Sheet and documents on guarding against common RSIs:

There are additional resources, including checklists and online courses, at the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) and the Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers (OHCOW).

Connect with your health and safety activists. Together, we can make work safe for all.