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June 30, 2020

Carpenters’ union appalled by racist acts on construction sites in Toronto

The Carpenters’ District Council of Ontario, United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America (the “Carpenters”) are disgusted and saddened by the racist and hateful acts that have taken place at construction sites across Toronto in recent days and weeks. We 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. The Carpenters will do everything possible to support them and the police in their respective investigations.

The Carpenters will not tolerate any behaviour that makes anyone feel unsafe on our 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.

“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.

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.

About


The Carpenters’ District Council of Ontario (“CDCO”) is composed of 16 affiliated Local Unions, including 3000 members of HOPE Local 2220 and the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners across the province. In total, we represent over 30,000 women and men working in a wide range of skilled trades, including carpentry, drywall, resilient flooring, concrete formwork, underwater construction, welding, scaffolding, and a long list of other construction-related work.

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