The United Nations General Assembly approved February 20 as the World Day of Social Justice in 2007 – the goal of this proclamation is to provide a means of promoting the efforts of those who tackle issues like poverty, social and economic exclusion, and injustice. Social justice incorporates many struggles but its general meaning is justice in terms of the distribution of wealth and opportunities within our communities. As a union, SEIU-West works towards social justice in all our efforts– in fact, our mandate clearly states our commitment to social justice:
The mandate of SEIU-West is to improve the lives of working people and their families, and lead the way to a more just and humane society. We stand for economic and social justice, for dignity and respect, for having a voice on the job and in society, and for a secure job with the opportunity to advance.
As such, SEIU-West is a progressive union that strives to support and help build platforms for our community allies. We aim to spread awareness on the efforts of our allies through recognition dates and awareness events – some examples include:
- Women’s Rights: Day of Action and Remembrance of Violence Against Women – our Red Day Awareness Events supports local women’s shelters and for the Women’s March , SEIU-West provided support and marched alongside the hundreds of people in the province demanding justice for women.
- Indigenous Rights - we aim to capture the many Indigenous Day events occurring throughout Saskatchewan, and connect our members to the vital work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report. We also offer a Turtle Island Workshop to our members that offers information on the history and current struggles of colonialization.
- Sexual Assault Awareness – when the Saskatoon Sexual Assault and Information Center saw its services decrease due to funding issues, SEIU-West members hosted a BBQ to raise money for this important service.
- CHEP and the askîy project: SEIU-West provided our BBQ, trailer, and volunteers for CHEP and the askîy project’s tree planting ceremony where this inspiring organization is turning a brownfield lot into a community garden in the urban core of Saskatoon. We also provided the food, BBQ, trailer and volunteers for YXE Connects, a day where more than 70 service providers shared free resources and services with the downtown core in Saskatoon
- Fight for 15 Saskatchewan: SEIU-West members have joined Fight for 15 activists on campus and on the streets with petitions and in town halls with an attempt to raise the minimum wage to $15 for all workers in Saskatchewan
SEIU-West has also prioritized domestic violence as a major cause of preventing people from fully participating and having the same opportunities to leading a life of wellbeing - domestic violence is an urgent issue affecting many Saskatchewan people and people around the world. SEIU-West continues to advocate for paid leave for those experiencing domestic violence in our Petition: Paid Leave for Survivors of Domestic Violence Campaign. While we achieved unpaid days off, the work must continue to advocate for paid leave as financial security is a must for those hoping to escape domestic violence.
For this year’s World Day of Social Justice, the theme is ‘If You Want Peace & Development, Work for Social Justice.’ SEIU-West will continue to advocate for quality jobs, thriving communities, and equality as we strive towards more just societies.