Here, Jenny Ahn reflects on how well unions in Canada are doing in reflecting and representing workers of colour and immigrant workers.
In her current job as a National Rep in the Education Department of the Canadian Auto Workers Union (CAW) puts her in direct contact with anti-racism issues and the people working to address them.
As an accomplished union activist who happens to be an immigrant woman of colour, Jenny more than understands what immigrants of colour go through in the Canadian workforce – she’s felt it at several levels.
The first person of colour and youngest member to be elected president of CAW Local 40, Jenny had to work to overcome all manner of prejudices – both across the table from employers as a union leader, as well as within the broader labour movement.
She also broke ground as the first woman of colour elected to CAW’s national executive board.
Despite how few women of colour or immigrant women are in leadership positions (most of the top leadership roles in unions like CAW are still held by mostly white men), Jenny is optimistic about the labour movement’s ability to do better in order for workers of colour to see themselves reflected in the union: “We are getting close, but we are not there.”