As a union dedicated to social justice, the USW supports equity-seeking groups in our union, our workplaces, and in society. In June, Steelworkers join with LGBTQ2SIA+ communities to celebrate Pride Month and will continue to do so in local Pride recognitions throughout Pride season.
Over the last year, there has been a significant spike in hate crimes targeting members of the LGBTQ2SIA+ community, as well as anti-gay and trans protests. Hate groups have targeted schools, school boards, public libraries, restaurants and entertainment venues with hate speech and violence. Members of the transgender and drag communities have been particularly targeted, severely compromising peoples’ basic safety, well-being, income and mobility. Book bans and policies claiming to re-assess educational curriculum have also caused fear among LGBTQ2SIA+ community members and their families, threatening to not only halt, but turn back incremental gains and increase violence and hatred.
As a union, we have created increased protections for LGBTQ2SIA+ members. The USW Constitution now recognizes “gender identity” as a ground of equality. This is a significant step that strengthens human rights protection for our membership. We bargain anti-harassment language and programs in our workplaces, and help negotiate accommodation for members in gender transition.
An important addition to our resources is the USW Transition Handbook: A Helpful Guide when Gender Transitioning in the Workplace. The Handbook explains the role of the union in supporting transition, guidelines for individuals considering or in transition, a checklist for individualized transition plans, and, guidelines for local executives, staff and employers. https://usw.ca/resources/usw-transition-handbook/
To further support LGBTQ2SIA+ Steelworkers and communities, local unions and members are encouraged to:
- Create and support a Human Rights Committee in your local union to ensure the employer’s compliance with updated human rights legislation, particularly during this time of the pandemic
- Encourage your local executives and members to participate in a Pride event in your local and community
- Attend solidarity events pushing back against anti- LGBTQ2SIA+ hate and bigotry and work with allied groups to support the LGBTQ2SIA+ community.
Marty Warren, National Director for Canada
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Scott Lunny, District 3 Director
Dominic Lemieux, District 5 Director
Myles Sullivan, District 6 Director