UFCW 1518 Honours Truth & Reconciliation Day

A Message from Our Indigenous Committee

To mark the one-year anniversary of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, UFCW 1518’s Indigenous Committee is repeating the same call to action we made last Sept. 30 and imploring the B.C. Government to make Sept. 30 a paid statutory holiday for all workers.

As a union operating on the traditional lands of multiple Indigenous groups, it is our collective responsibility to hold elected leaders responsible for this reconciliatory act. Thank you to the over 1,300 members who added your names to our petition to recognize Truth and Reconciliation Day with a paid statutory holiday. Thanks to you, we’ve almost hit our goal of 1,400 signatures. If you haven’t already, Sign the petition to help us get there.

Just as reconciliation is only possible if all institutions and all people on Turtle Island (what we call Canada) participate, real reconciliation can only happen if Indigenous peoples have space and time to grieve the losses they’ve endured under Canada’s genocidal doctrine.

We encourage settler members of UFCW 1518 to familiarize themselves with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s final report and to wear an orange shirt in remembrance of the children who never came home from Canada’s Residential Schools. It’s a small but important and healing step towards acknowledging this country’s true history and building solidarity with Indigenous workers and neighbours.

This year, UFCW 1518 is commemorating The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation with orange shirts that feature original artwork by Coast Salish artist Bear (Doug) Horne.

In solidarity,
The UFCW 1518 Indigenous Committee:

Anita Letendre
Christine Holowka
Laurie Simon
Marylou Fonda
Raven Morningstar, Committee Chair

BC & Yukon To Engage the Public on Truth & Reconciliation Day

UFCW 1518 is pleased to hear that the BC government will be engaging Indigenous partners and communities about the most meaningful and appropriate way to mark September 30, the National Day for Truth & Reconciliation Day.

This comes after the UFCW 1518 Indigenous Committee called on the provincial and federal governments to mandate Truth and Reconciliation Day as a paid statutory holiday for all workers.

BC Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, Murray Rankin, explained that in addition to engaging Indigenous communities, they will also engage businesses, workers, unions, and labour representatives in the months ahead on the ways in which employers can participate and meaningfully contribute.

BC’s approach is similar to what has been promised in the Yukon. Premier Sandy Silver wrote that the Yukon government will be reaching out to Yukon First Nations governments and the public for comments on whether the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation should become a general holiday for all Yukon employees.

The union hopes that these engagements will result in the provincial governments mandating September 30 as a statutory holiday for all workers, so big businesses operating on unceded Indigenous lands understand the importance of this day and provide the opportunity for their workers to reflect, heal and honour residential school survivors, their families, and communities.

As she wrote in her letter, Indigenous Committee member, Christine Holowka, remarked that “making Truth and Reconciliation Day a provincial statutory holiday will be a huge step forward in the many steps that need to be taken on the road to truth and reconciliation.”

UFCW 1518 hopes that this will be the year that the governments show their commitment to reconciliation and support the healing of those impacted by Canada’s colonial past by instituting a mandatory paid holiday on September 30.

If you haven’t signed the petition to the provincial governments, you can add your voice now.