The CUPE Local 3906 Equity Statement governs the behaviour and interaction of our members, executive and staff at all union related functions. Our Land Acknowledgement is a recognition of settler colonialism and that this land belongs to the Anishinaabe, Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation, and Haudenosaunee. Both of these are guiding documents that the local takes seriously to ensure fairness and dignity are afforded to all those associated with Local 3906.
Union solidarity is based on the principle that union members are equal and deserve mutual respect at all levels. Any behaviour that creates conflict prevents union members from working together to strengthen the union and its initiatives.
As unionists we aim to achieve mutual respect, cooperation and understanding throughout our membership. We neither condone nor tolerate behaviour that undermines the dignity or self-esteem of any individual or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive environment.
A hostile or offensive environment includes discriminatory speech or conduct, which is racist, sexist, transphobic or homophobic and/or discrimination based on (in)ability, age, class, religion, language and ethnic origin. A hostile and intimidating environment also includes attempts to de-voice other members by ignoring GMM speaking practices or by talking over, yelling, rolling eyes at or shutting down contributions made by others.
Sometimes discrimination takes the form of harassment. Harassment means using real or perceived power to abuse, devalue or humiliate others. Harassment will not be perceived or treated as frivolous behaviour. The uneasiness and resentment that harassment creates hinders the growth of the union by hampering our capacity to work together on shared concerns such as decent wages, safe working conditions and justice in the workplace, society and in our union.
The above-mentioned components of a hostile environment hurt and divide the union and compromise CUPE’s policies and commitments to equality. Members, staff and elected officers must be mindful that all members deserve dignity, equality and respect.
We begin this meeting by acknowledging that the vast majority of us are gathered on the traditional lands of the Mississauga and Haudenosaunee peoples. Those who are currently occupying lands outside of ‘Hamilton’ – perhaps due to life changes in light of COVID-19 – are encouraged to learn about the Indigenous Nations that continue to care for and protect said lands, and about the Treaties that govern their own relationships to said lands. The lands on which ‘Hamilton’ was built are protected by the Dish With One Spoon Wampum Agreement, a treaty between the Anishinaabe, Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation, and Haudenosaunee that bound them to peaceably share the territory and care for the land and resources around the Great Lakes. We recognize that ‘Canada’ is a white settler nation, and its projects are ongoing, enduring, and felt in the everyday lives of Indigenous people.
As CUPE members dedicated to the principles of social unionism, we recognize that our goal of securing better wages and working conditions cannot be separated from the struggle for a better world beyond the workplace. It is in that spirit that we commit ourselves to decolonization, not just as an outside objective, but as a principle guiding our internal policies and practices. Each of us has a responsibility in understanding the spirit and intent of Treaties to hold both the Union and the University accountable to Treaties as the laws of the land – laws that supersede settler
law. We recognize and uphold the inherent rights and titles of Indigenous peoples, the implementation without qualification of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), and our support for the 94 Calls to Action by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. From 1492 Landback Lane to the fisheries at Sipekne’katik and far beyond, we stand in solidarity with Indigenous people who continue to assert their territorial sovereignty
despite mounting risks of settler colonial violence. We will continue to be an active partner with these and other Indigenous allies across Turtle Island, so long as we are welcome.