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Directors’ Statement for Black History Month 2023

February 1, 2023
Image: Dark background with text that reads, "Black History Month" in red, yellow and green. USW logo at the bottom.

In our union’s proud history of promoting and supporting equality, Steelworkers celebrate Black History Month each February. We acknowledge the accomplishments of Black Canadians in society, recognize the achievements of activists in our union, and, encourage Steelworkers to continue the struggle for equality. We also know that despite advances in equality, racism has played a significant part in our national experience. This experience has led to discrimination against Black immigrants and Canadians in our workplaces.

Black and racialized Steelworkers of all backgrounds are also part of a larger community of equality-seeking groups. To promote equality for all racialized Steelworkers, the union created the USW National Anti-Racism Working Group (NARWG) in 2021. Drawn from membership and staff selected by each district, the NARWG was created to help the union develop initiatives against racism in all its forms. The NARWG will be provided its first plenary session at the upcoming National Policy Conference in April this year. We look forward to hearing about its activities in 2022 to combat racism and anti-black racism in the union, our workplaces and our communities.

Combatting racism and anti-black racism is not an effort solely for racialized Steelworkers. Action as a whole union must include non-racialized allies. To build solidarity across local leadership and membership, we urge you to:

  • Recognize the accomplishments of Black Steelworkers fighting for equality within your local union;
  • Send more Black and racialized delegates from your local to the National Policy Conference;
  • Submit resolutions to the National Policy Conference supporting racial equality in the union;
  • Create a Human Rights Committee in your local or unit by using the mandate in the USW Constitution’s Article VII, Section 12;
  • Work with ally organizations in your communities such as the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists (CBTU);
  • Stand up and speak out individually against racist behaviour and comments in our communities and workplaces.

The principles of equality are essential to Steelworker solidarity in our workplaces, and social justice in our communities. We ask all Steelworkers to join us in celebrating Black History Month this February. Beyond that, we urge you to continue the fight for equality, always.

In solidarity,

Marty Warren
National Director for Canada

Scott Lunny
USW District 3 Director

Dominic Lemieux
USW District 5 Director

Myles Sullivan
USW District 6 Director

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