On December 10, 1948, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). The Declaration stipulates universal values and international standards of human rights that everyone is entitled to as a human being. This annual date of observance commemorates the day the Declaration was adopted and is an opportunity to emphasize the importance of human rights in realizing the world we want.
The theme for Human Rights Day 2021 is Equality – Reducing Inequalities, Advancing Human Rights. The COVID-19 pandemic has unearthed deeply rooted discrimination which continues to disproportionately impact equity-seeking groups. Unfortunately, too many Black, Indigenous, People of Colour (BIPOC), 2SLGTBQIA and persons with disabilities face workplace barriers and discrimination. Misogyny, xenophobia, racism, sexism and ableism are at the root of these experiences.
UFCW Canada activists have publicly denounced these injustices and continue to advocate for changes at all levels of government. These include calls for increased mental health supports, priority access to vaccines, strengthened sick day legislation and access to strengthened employment insurance benefits.
Advancing human rights requires a consistent and intentional approach to addressing the barriers which fuel discrimination at work, and in society at large. This year UFCW Canada launched the Stop the Hate campaign and with support from local unions provided a platinum sponsorship to the Urban Alliance on Race Relations: Racial Justice Summit 2021, in partnership with the Canadian Race Relations Foundation. In addition, UFCW Canada Indigenous sub-committee members, 2SLGBTQIA advocates and migrant justice advocates presented at the Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants (OCASI) professional development conference. Finally, UFCW Canada disability justice perspectives were presented at the Disability and Work Canada Conference.
Solutions for combatting oppression through an intersectional lens is critical in dismantling the systems that perpetuate such inequities. In unionized workplaces, collective bargaining is at the cornerstone of defending and upholding workers’ rights.
As the country’s leading union, UFCW Canada believes that workers’ rights are human rights, and our day-to-day work is guided by this principle. To learn more about UFCW’s efforts in the area of human rights, visit our Human Rights, Equity & Diversity webpage.