Carpenters’ Union addresses racist acts on construction sites

In response to recent racist and hateful acts that have taken place at construction sites across Toronto, the Carpenters’ District Council of Ontario, United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America (the “Carpenters”) have expressed their disgust of the incidents.

Photo courtesy of he Carpenters’ District Council of Ontario

The organizations state that they “denounce these acts in the strongest terms and commend our industry employer colleagues for their actions in promptly addressing these repulsive incidents by launching internal investigations into what happened, contacting the Toronto Police Service, and overtly characterizing these acts as hate crimes.”

After reports of two incidents of nooses being found by subtrade workers on June 10 at the Michael Garron Hospital construction site, which is being built by EllisDon, community members rallied together and started pasting posters to the hoarding.

Photo courtesy of he Carpenters’ District Council of Ontario

The Carpenters state that they will not tolerate any behaviour that makes anyone feel unsafe on their worksites.

“Now’s the time for all employers in the construction industry, as well as governments at all levels, to implement more safeguards to protect employees and focus more resources on long-term education to help eradicate racism in the workplace,” said the Carpenters in a recent release.

Photo courtesy of he Carpenters’ District Council of Ontario

“We recently signed the Charter of Inclusive Workplaces & Communities – brought forward by the Carpenters Local 27 – as part of a multi-union effort supported by the Toronto and York Region Labour Council to create safe and respectful workplaces,” said Mike Yorke, President, Carpenters’ District Council of Ontario. “While only a first step, this Charter holds us accountable and reminds us that we must learn and grow together as an industry.”

The Charter of Inclusive Workplaces & Communities is available online and will be posted on all job sites and in administrative offices where members are working.

“We are also committed to holding regular on-site meetings providing a forum to ask questions and promote discussion about how we can support an inclusive and diverse workplace, strengthening our commitment to equality, respect, and dignity for all,” said the Carpenters.

Photo courtesy of he Carpenters’ District Council of Ontario

The Carpenters also encourage members to be vocal in combatting racism.

“Keep having those difficult conversations with family, friends, and colleagues,” said Tony Iannuzzi, Executive Secretary Treasurer, Carpenters’ District Council of Ontario. “These deplorable acts of racism need to stop. We encourage everyone to speak up against racism in all its forms, and get involved in activities within your community. Know that we stand behind you 100 per cent.”

“Bigotry has no place in our communities, and the Carpenters are committed to doing more with our industry partners to create just and respectful workplaces for the thousands of women and men in the skilled trades.”

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