Women's Equity and NEW Inclusivity Survey!

Last week, the 59th ATU International Convention was held in Las Vegas, Nevada. While dynamic guest speeches, award distributions, and general convention business were taking place in the main convention hall, important discussions were happening simultaneously in side rooms by official ATU committees.

These committees of delegates were tasked with reviewing, amending, and voting on the adoption of Resolutions. After each committee reached consensus on whether to support a Resolution, they presented their report to the delegation for debate and a final vote.

This year, for the first time, the Convention featured a Gender Equity and Inclusion Committee!

Gender Equity and Inclusion Committee Photo

While the committee was the first of its kind, ATU has a history of discussing gender-based issues at conventions:

  • 2019 marks 104 years since the first woman was elected as an ATU convention delegate.
  • During the 11th Convention in Toronto, held 100 years ago, ATU delegates adopted a resolution in support of women’s suffrage.
  • The Women’s Caucus was established in 1990 to amplify the voices and power of women in their Local Unions

This committee was asked to address two resolutions which specifically speak to the experience of women, people of colour, and LGBTQ+ individuals. Notably, insights gathered from the ATU Canada Gender Equity Report and Recommendations informed the development of Resolution K (Supporting Women's Equity) and Resolution L (Preventing and Stopping Sexual Harassment).

The ATU Canada Gender Equity Report was presented to the committee members by Madelin Burt-D'Agnillo, of ATU Canada, for their consideration and to spark discussion about the findings.

There was hearty and well-meaning debate in the committee room; the members opted to add clauses to the proposed resolutions to recognize the unique gendered experience of transgender members in ATU workplaces, as well as to recommend a caucus be formed for LGBTQ+ members.

However, when the motion was brought to the floor for the delegation to vote on, there was no debate. As one person said at the audience mic: "It's about time!" 

ATU is a progressive union and this was confirmed by the vote to advance gender equity and prevent sexual harassment on the job and within the union. The passing of these Resolutions is a victory for underrepresented populations in the ATU. The insights and experiences shared by member of ATU Canada now has a special meaning outside of Canada; ATU Canada's membership can be proud to recognize their voice in the call for a more inclusive and equitable union.

Its worth mentioning that many other resolutions and committees, in support of newly-organized members (the "Next Generation"), paratransit and school bus operators, were spearheaded by Canadian delegates to the Convention.

Building the Vision of Inclusivity

Inclusivity Survey image

As an extension of the Gender Equity Survey, ATU Canada's Inclusivity Steering Committee is launching another survey to gather insights about the experiences of members belonging to all identity groups. Based on insights, themes, and patterns that emerge, the Committee will make recommendations to the ATU Canada board regarding a strategy to support all members more equitably.

  • The Survey is available on ATU Canada's website, as well as by accessing this link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/ATUinclusion
  • It is open to all members of ATU Canada, and participation is encouraged. All answers will be strictly confidential, unless otherwise discussed. Please spread widely in your unions.

ATU Canada has already demonstrated an ability to direct progressive conversation at an international scale... let's continue the dialogue and gain more clarity about how to met the needs of all underrepresented and marginalized members of the ATU!