CUPE 3907 calls on Toronto and York Region Labour Council to promote employment equity

By admin, May 15, 2009 12:42 pm

Action Plan on Employment Equity and Infrastructure Projects

In the context of substantial government investment in infrastructure projects, on May 15, 2009, CUPE 3907 called on the Toronto & York Region Labour Council to develop a campaign to promote the integration of employment equity practices and encourage the entry of equity-seeking groups in the skilled and construction trades. Complete text of the letter is below:

252 Bloor Street West, Room 8-104
Toronto ON M4Y 1R6
(416) 978-2403
cupe3907@gmail.com

Action Plan on Employment Equity and Infrastructure Projects
May 15, 2009

To: The Toronto & York Region Labour Council

Context of the Call for Intervention

The government will spend $32.5 billion dollars on infrastructure projects in
Ontario over the next two years. Further, the province of Ontario has provided $9
billion to the city of Toronto for transportation infrastructure. The building trades
and the road construction sector in Ontario largely employ white men and they
will be the chief beneficiaries of the hundreds of thousands of jobs that will be
generated from the massive investment in public infrastructure projects.
According to a 2008 StatsCan report on employment in the skilled trades, 97% of
the workers in this sector were men compared to 50% in the non-trades
occupations.

The Toronto and York Region Labour Council (TYRLC), among others, have
called for good jobs for all and that should apply to the equitable employment of
women, racialized, aboriginal, young workers and workers with disabilities in
these initiatives. With respect to immigrant status and employment in the skilled
trades, 17% of the employees were immigrants while 21% made up non-trades
occupational groups. The problem with the StatsCan report was that it did not
break down the immigrant category by race and gender. We suspect that most of
those immigrant men were White.

Walking the Talk of Equity and Economic Justice

However, equity-seeking groups should be employed to, as least, the level
of their labour market availability in the specific trade categories.
Infrastructure programmes cannot be an unwitting scheme to employ white
men.

The following actions are being recommended to the TYRLC:
1. Develop a campaign to promote the integration of employment equity
practices and encourage the entry of equity-seeking groups in the skilled
and construction trades.
2. Utilize this discussion of employment equity and infrastructure projects as
an opportunity to push for apprenticeships in the trades for diverse
women, people with disabilities, Aboriginals, racialized peoples and young
workers.
3. Forward a recommendation to the Good Jobs Coalition for All (or its
relevant committee) the proposal that priority consideration be given to
energizing and taking concrete actions to actualize employment equity in
the stimulus-related and other public infrastructure projects.
4. Submit employment equity and infrastructure-related op-ed proposals to
major daily newspapers within two weeks of the approval of this action.
5. Communicate through written correspondence and telephone calls with
the leadership of affiliated locals and organizations and encourage them to
communicate with elected and appointed provincial and municipal officials
about integrating employment equity guidelines in public infrastructure
projects.
6. Develop a trades bridging programme proposal with relevant community
colleges and community partners to prepare internationally trained or
experienced trades-people for employment with public infrastructure
projects. Funding would be sought from the different levels of government
to train and put internationally trained or experienced trades-people to
work.
7. Explore some kind of partnership between labour, community
organizations, the municipality and the province of Ontario advance the
employment of equity-seekers on public infrastructure projects’ worksites.
8. Push for the employment of women and young workers, in their
diversity, on infrastructure initiatives in the communities in which projects
are being implemented.
9. The Labour Council’s executive and/or relevant committee to provide a
monthly status report to the general Council meetings on its employment
equity and infrastructure campaign.

From: CUPE Local 3907
Jagjeet Gill, Chair Internal
Everton Cummings, Chief Steward
Andrew Beecher, Secretary-Treasurer
Ajamu Nangwaya, Chair External

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