December 10 – Human Rights Day
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted by the United Nations 70 years ago. This declaration contains a set of rights of which every human being is entitled to, regardless of race, colour, religion, sex, language, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. If every country achieved the Declaration of Human Rights, quite frankly, we would have a different world. However, without the dream, we could never create the reality of these rights for every human being. So today, we see gatherings through meetings, events, debates, and other forums to discuss all issues related to our human rights, and fight for advancement.
One principal of unionism is an injury to one is an injury to all. Unions have long fought for rights of workers; we also stand beside others fighting for basic rights throughout the world.
In Canada, there have been six major fights and advancements over the past few decades. They are as follows:
- women’s reproductive rights
- LGBTIQ rights
- linguistic rights of Francophones outside Quebec
- aboriginal rights
- limiting policing powers and accountability for policing
- judicial activism
SEIU-West is a member driven union which means our members decide what to do to create a more just workplace and society. Members use the resources of our union to assist in their endeavours and have enjoyed some great accomplishments!
SEIU-West Political Action & Awareness Committee participates in pride parade, standing in solidarity with the LGTBIQ community. They have participated in Stop the Cuts actions and Climate Justice initiatives. They lobby municipal, provincial and federal governments on issues pertaining to the work and communities of our members. If politics interests you, let them know, there are many events to attend.
SEIU-West has marched at Truth and Reconciliation Day, and participated in numerous events related to aboriginal rights. In fact, we have an Aboriginal Committee. If you’d like to get involved, you can contact them.
SEIU-West Young Worker’s Committee has been lobbying, along with other groups, for better legislation to support women facing interpersonal violence and have made some great strides. Their goal is to mobilize young workers across Saskatchewan to become leaders and activists for social change within their unions and communities at large. If you are a young worker and would like to get involved, please contact them.
We have an Education Committee, their mandate is to educate, engage and motivate our members through our education opportunities. This will activate and empower members to be leaders in our union.
We have a Nursing Care Committee that informs members and the bargaining committee of issues arising in nursing and lobbies governments on issues concerning members in the nursing sector. They are the watchdog for concerns related to nursing locally and provincially.
We have a Worker Safety Committee that creates strategies and programs that broaden the awareness of safety for all SEIU West members. Unions have long driven the bus on workplace safety. What we achieve often trickles down to non-unionized workers.
We also have a Member Organizing Committee that works with non-unionized workplaces to bring them into the sisterhood and brotherhood of SEIU-West. The Saskatchewan Employment Act has made it more difficult to unionize but SEIU-West has continued to bring new worksites into our family.
We should also mention when thinking of judicial activism, SEIU-West has partnered with other labour organizations in support of the Charter challenge against our government and their unfair essential services law; this lent to the Supreme Court of Canada decision acknowledging the Constitutional Right to Strike!
Contest Time! We want to hear from you. What do you think is the biggest accomplishment Saskatchewan or Canada has won in terms of human rights within the past 10 years? OR what do you see as our next big fight? Email Dennel.Pickering@seiuwest.ca by December 18 to win a prize!