Toronto – December 8, 2016 – Each year, International Human Rights Day is celebrated on December 10. It commemorates the day on which, in 1948, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights – the first legal document protecting universal human rights.
As the country’s leading and most progressive union, UFCW Canada works diligently to protect and advance the human rights of all Canadians. In the area of indigenous justice, our union strongly supported the I Am a Witness campaign, which successfully forced the federal government to acknowledge its discrimination against First Nations children in the delivery of child welfare services. In addition, UFCW Canada is a proud supporter of Chevron’s Dirty Hand, a campaign seeking justice for thousands of people who have been poisoned, displaced, or killed by Chevron’s devastation of the environment around the world.
When it comes to the rights of temporary foreign workers, UFCW Canada recently presented to the federal government’s special committee on the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) with a past temporary foreign worker who is now a permanent resident and a proud UFCW Canada Local 832 member. At the committee, our union spoke about the changes that Canadians and temporary foreign workers want to see in order to reframe the temporary foreign worker dialogue from one of migration to one of immigration. UFCW Canada also used the meeting as an opportunity to voice the concerns of the thousands of seasonal farm workers that our union, in cooperation with the Agriculture Workers Alliance (AWA), assists at support centres across the country.
This year, we also completed the second year of a three-year UFCW Canada Diversity and Inclusion training initiative for all UFCW Canada national and local union officers and staff to reinforce our commitment to women’s equality, gender parity, LGBTQ rights, and countering racism and discrimination. As trade unionists, we are forever committed to fighting for justice on the issues that are important to workers and their families. And as UFCW activists, we can be proud of the work that our union has conducted to support this goal, particularly in the area of human rights.
On this International Human Rights Day, let us commit to standing up for the disenfranchised, and working together to fight against intolerance and exploitation. Let us resolve to defend the rights of refugees, migrant workers, indigenous peoples, members of the LGBTQ community, and anyone else who faces discrimination in our society. Let us reaffirm our common humanity, and commit to protecting and advancing the human rights of all.
Paul R. Meinema
UFCW Canada National President