Mississauga, ON – June 29, 2020 – The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Canada condemns the racist acts that have been found on three separate construction sites in the Greater Toronto Area over the last several weeks.
“These are despicable, hateful and racist acts that have no place in society, in our communities or at work, including construction sites.” said IBEW International Vice-President for the First District (Canada), Tom Reid. Vice President Reid went on to refer to, in part, the Declaration of the IBEW, as stated in the IBEW constitution. “Our cause is the cause of human justice, human rights and human security. We refuse, and will always refuse, to condone or tolerate dictatorship or oppression of any kind. We will find and expel from our midst any who might attempt to destroy, by subversion, all that we stand for. The IBEW will continue to oppose communism, Nazism, or any other subversive “ism”. ”
The labour movement has always stood together in solidarity with racialized groups to fight back against racism and we must continue that work until racism is eliminated from our industry and from our society. An injury to one is an injury to all.
Earlier this month IBEW International President Lonnie Stephenson issued a statement on the death of George Floyd and had stated that – “The labor movement has long stood shoulder to shoulder with those fighting for civil rights and a society free from the blight of racism and discrimination.”
“We cannot take these racist fueled actions lightly. Those involved must face the consequences of their intolerable and bigoted actions. The IBEW is an inclusive and diverse organization and we are continuing to grow and expand by reaching out and encouraging all workers in the electrical industry to join our organization. When individuals take hateful actions such as this, it hurts the construction industry and will impact workers from racialized communities who are thinking of construction work as a career. We must all stand together not just as an organization but as a community and as human beings to show that there is no place for racism or any other form of hate and abusive actions in our communities, in our industry and in our country.” said Reid.
We must not be silent; we must stand up and stand together against all forms of racism. We need to double down our efforts and impress upon these individuals that these racist acts will not be tolerated and that there is room in our industry for everyone regardless of their race, gender, religion, or sexual orientation. I encourage our members to act if they see something inappropriate at work. Stand up and speak out.
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The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) has been a proud part of the Canadian labour movement for over 120 years. Founded in 1891, we have built our union on our commitment to organize and represent workers; our membership and longevity is proof of that commitment. The IBEW represents over 775,000 workers and almost 70,000 workers in Canada. IBEW members can be found working in every province and territory and work in many different industries such as Manufacturing, Telecommunications, Voice Data Video, Utilities, Construction, Maintenance, Motor Shops, Sign Shops, CATV, Radio and Television, Sound and Alarm systems, Railroads, Shipyards, Pulp and Paper Mills, Mining, Tree Trimming, Health Care and Government. For more information please visit www.ibewcanada.org for more information.