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Unifor Statement on Ending Systemic Racism and Redefining Public Safety

2020 Civil Rights Movement
08/06/2020

Harassment, assault, and murder committed by police in the United States and Canada are unjust and unacceptable.

Unifor acknowledges the systemic racism, rooted in White Supremacy, that leads to violence perpetuated against Black, Indigenous and people of colour globally, resulting in individual and community pain, incarceration, and death.

We acknowledge that this injustice is not only limited to the police, but to all institutions and structures in society. This is a redefining moment in time where it will take collective power to make meaningful systemic change. Unifor makes the following demands supporting the goals of anti-racism:

  1. Reallocation and increased investment of public resources away from systems that criminalize people towards community programs and public services that tackle the root causes of racism, insecurity and oppression.
  2. The demilitarizing of police forces and developing alternative community-based models of public safety that prioritize prevention and community-building.
  3. The decriminalization of health and mental health. People living with mental illness have a right to health care, but instead are met with violence when in crisis. It is essential that funding be directed to support mental health and addiction services and universal, public pharmacare.

Police violence is tragically, most strongly felt by Indigenous, Black and people of colour, as the institution reflects and enforces power structures inherent in our society.

In the streets, this is witnessed in illegal card-checks targeting Indigenous and racialized communities, and on the picket line, it means arrests for workers. This fight has always been the labour movements’ fight, as we advocate for the safety and well-being of Canada’s workers.

Unifor calls for significant, lasting reforms to all institutions that allow, support, or excuse institutional racism.