UFCW 1518 Indigenous Committee Pushes for Justice and Wins
For over a year now UFCW 1518 members Marylou Fonda, Christine Holowka, Anita Letendre, Raven Morningstar, and Laurie Simon have been using their union power to fight for real provincial recognition of National Day for Truth & Reconciliation.
Yesterday, BC’s provincial government recognized their advocacy for justice and announced plans to table legislation that will make Sept. 30 a paid, statutory holiday for all workers. This means that if the legislation is passed, Sept. 30 will be a paid, statutory holiday for all of our members, most of whom work in the private sector.
Indigenous communities and activists — including UFCW 1518 First Nations, Metis, and Inuit members — made this reconciliatory step happen. They had to raise their voices and share their stories, and UFCW 1518 wants to recognize them for their strength and their vulnerability. Today’s news, while good, will re-open wounds for many Indigenous Communities, reinforcing the need for a day where all Indigenous workers can take time to grieve, to be with loved ones, and to heal.
The UFCW 1518 Indigenous Committee led a strong, resilient and passionate campaign to make Call-To-Action 80 (of the Truth & Reconciliation Commission) a reality. They wrote to MLAs, BC’s Premiers (former and present), The Yukon’s former premier, and allies. They published a petition, which members across the province supported, and they raised awareness about the atrocities of Canada’s genocidal Residential “School” system. They’ve expanded support for Indigenous rights in their workplaces, and they’ve met with politicians to push for justice.
Today, we celebrate them as a union for their hard work, and the support and solidarity of all our members and allies, and we recommit to supporting the Committee in their efforts to re-Indigenous BC’s lands and workplaces. No one’s healing journey looks the same, and a single statutory holiday is not a salve for the wounds caused by colonization, but it is one critical step towards a more unified and fair province.
To learn more about the origins of National Day for Truth and Reconciliation read our story about Orange Shirt Day.