On April 5 and 6 Unifor’s Equity Advisory Panel met in Montreal to discuss and chart a further plan of action to implement the national equity audit report recommendations, focusing on ways the union can become more inclusive and more responsive to the needs of its members.
The purpose of the Equity Advisory Panel meeting was to review and discuss all of the recommendations in the equity audit that outlined actions for the national union, locals, bargaining, awareness and education, member mobilization, and government lobbying. Members of the Advisory Panel also studied the gaps in the preliminary report’s findings, along with reviewing the work undertaken already to implement the recommendations.
Over the course of the two days the advisory group worked to develop a set of action items that will be presented to the National Executive Board and then to delegates at Canadian Council this coming August in Halifax.
Unifor’s equity audit took place over nine months during 2016 and 2017 and included semi-structured interviews with 470 local unions across the country, and asked questions about the diversity of local membership, the executive committee, stewards, and bargaining committees.
While the union is aware that representation gaps exist, the purpose of the audit was to better understand the specific barriers in order to overcome our collective challenges. Read the full equity audit report to learn more about Unifor's findings and action plan.
At Canadian Council in August of 2017 the equity audit report results and a recommendation from the National President were both presented and discussed with delegates. In approving the equity recommendation, delegates also established the special Equity Advisory Panel that includes the three Regional Directors, the Quebec Director, members of the National Executive Board, along with representatives of Unifor’s Equity Standing Committees, and national staff.
Discussion by delegates at the 2017 council furthered an important conversation about equity and inclusion, but the intent was to ensure that dialogue and the work of the audit was a beginning point. Certainly, progress has been made in our first four years as Unifor. The commitment to and participation in this first phase of the equity audit is evidence of that but the progress we’ve made is not enough.
Unifor’s commitment to ensuring an equitable and inclusive environment in which all members are welcome to participate and all workers are treated with dignity and respect are core strengths of our union. As the diversity of Canada and our union grows, we must double down on our commitment to equity and inclusion to ensure our viability and success.
Stay tuned for more updates and a plan of action for delegates to discuss at the 2018 Canadian Council.