On behalf of UFCW 1006A, I want to wish you and your family a Happy New Year.
2020 was an unprecedented and challenging year but we made it through together.
As a new year starts, we find ourselves in the middle of another lockdown as COVID-19 cases skyrocket, stretching hospital capacity and healthcare workers to their limits. Experts worry about the immense stress our healthcare systems will experience in January and February.
Remember, there is hope – some Canadians have already started to be vaccinated and the remaining are expected to receive their vaccine by this fall. We will get through this.
Until then, we have to take the necessary precautions to keep ourselves, our loved ones and our co-workers safe. Wear a mask, socially distance, follow workplace protocols and observe the Ontario government’s lockdown guidelines.
2020 was also a year of social upheaval. Massive protests for equality and justice swept across North America in the wake of the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery. They sparked widespread discussions on the racism, systemic discrimination, and barriers faced by Black, Indigenous and racialized people. 1006A is proud to be part of the movement to help create a more just society.
Change is happening, as shown by a recent arbitrator's ruling on racially charged misconduct at work. The arbitrator upheld the termination of a worker who uttered racial slurs at a Black co-worker, according to law firm Caley Wray. They ruled that racial or ethnic slurs can never be dismissed as mere “shop talk” and concluded they fall within the category of serious workplace offences, including theft and sexual assault. This is an important and meaningful change, which raises the bar for cases involving racist language or actions going forward.
While we face many challenges ahead, hopeful change is taking place.
Finally, I want to thank our members for tirelessly working on the frontlines and ensuring the needs of our communities are met. Thank you for all you continue to do.
I want to thank our stewards and union reps for their ongoing work to be a voice for our members on the shop floor.
I’m proud of the work our union has done, from negotiating strong contracts to organizing new workers to representing injured or ill workers.
As we say goodbye to 2020 and welcome 2021, your union’s commitment to our membership remains our guiding principle. Please remember your union rep is here for you, to answer any questions or concerns you have about work.
Take care and stay safe.
President, UFCW Canada Local 1006A