June 2, 2020

ATU Canada President John Di Nino issued the following statement, regarding the ongoing acts of police brutality and anti-black racism in the United States and Canada:

ATU Canada joins labour allies in unequivocally denouncing the acts of police brutality recently witnessed in the US and Canada, and declaring that Black Lives Matter.

We echo the chorus of activists and leaders demanding justice, accountability, and change at the mounting deaths of racialized people at the hands of police. We call for full and independent inquires into the deaths of black Canadians in the presence and custody of police officers, mostly recently Regis Korchinski-Paquet in Toronto.

As we reflect on the images and stories of state violence against Black people, Indigenous people, and people of colour, we offer our solidarity to racialized communities and ATU members.

As transit workers, we know that transit is a space plagued by racism. We’ve seen the mounting evidence of anti-black racism in fare evasion ticketing, in exclusive transit planning that doesn’t service marginalized communities, and in the way that people of colour in Canada are disproportionately impacted by exposure to COVID-19 on public transit. We know that public transit can be a site of injustice and we fight for more equitable outcomes.

As unionists, this political moment reminds us that an injury to one is an injury to all. As a union, we must continue to pry apart our racial blind spots and to renew our commitment to fighting for racial justice. Like many organizations that represent and serve black people, ATU Canada is continually learning how to be actively anti-racist. We are listening.

We offer our solidarity to our ATU union sisters and brothers in the United States, many of whom have been putting their lives at risk for months now to serve their communities amidst a pandemic. As International President Costa has made clear, transit workers “have the right to refuse the dangerous duty of transporting police to protests, and arrested demonstrators... This is a misuse of public transit.”

We must, as transit workers, as unionists, and social justice activists, work towards an anti-racist society every day. We will not stand for a society that privileges white people at the expense of racialized lives and wellbeing. We must do better by and for each other.

John Di Nino
ATU Canada President