LiUNA Builds Canada

By Joseph Manicinelli

Established in 1903, the Labourers’ International Union of North America (LiUNA) has been at the forefront of defending the rights of working men and women from coast to coast to coast. Through progressive leadership and exceedingly rapid growth in membership LiUNA is Canada’s largest Building Trade Union, exceeding more than 110,000 highly-skilled members in Ontario alone. This is sustained by local unions in every major city and 13 innovative training centres dispersed across Ontario.

Built on the shoulders of immigrants and vested to participate in the process of truth and reconciliation for Indigenous communities, LiUNA is the embodiment of strength, honour and justice for all Canadians. Attributing strength in diversity as the backbone to our success, LiUNA’s mission is fundamentally governed by notions of inclusivity and progressive social change.

From public transit to green spaces to social infrastructure, our highly-skilled and trained members make Canadian land development areas more livable, environmentally friendly and sustainable. It is within these regions that families reside and that better communities are formed, developing infrastructure that is vital in building a progressive Canada. 

On a grander scale, LiUNA is committed to building a more inclusive Canada. This union movement became a platform to enact change, where wrongdoings were addressed and the voices of the oppressed were finally heard. LiUNA remains at the forefront as we continue to work together with both newcomers and Indigenous communities, creating a respected partnership to build, educate and celebrate Canada’s progressive future, while engaging our proud members.

It is the hardworking, dedicated brothers and sisters of LiUNA who build Canada whilst receiving benefits, a stable career and the opportunity to create a more fulfilling life for them and their families.

Today as we celebrate Canada 150, we especially reflect on the importance of inclusion in building Canada, ensuring our vision is focused on equality, diversity and transparency.

We have a history of outreach. We have welcomed new immigrants, who have chosen Canada for the chance to build a better life. At the same time, we have not forgotten Canadian history – and greatly value Indigenous communities, understanding there is tremendous work to be done.

In 2016, LiUNA signed a historic Statement of Partnership with the First Nation Summit in Vancouver, a partnership that acknowledges and recognizes the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, continuing a strong partnership between LiUNA and Canada’s Indigenous people which began over a decade ago with the Assembly of First Nations, where LiUNA signed a Memorandum of Understanding with former National Chief Phil Fontaine, who now co-chairs LiUNA’s Indigenous Committee.

The 2016 partnership outlines the importance of investing in Indigenous youth through innovative training programs and education, to train and employ First Nation, Metis and Inuit peoples whilst recognizing the constitutionally-protected Aboriginal and Treaty Rights of First Nations, and educating our members to respect these rights, jurisdictions and territories, taking the first step of a long term partnership where together we move forward on a path towards reconciliation.

LiUNA continues to work closely with our governments and thought leaders to emphasize the importance of labour and infrastructure whilst focusing on inclusivity and the rights of all peoples in building Canada. It is only though the implementation of such programs that engaged organizations can be active catalysts for necessary reform. We must continue to work together and overcome any obstacle that may try to limit us in building better communities across our great Country. 

As we celebrate the cultural history of Canada and its progressive future, let us also remain focused on the remarkable work to be done, and the dedicated, proud, men and women, eager to work and continue to build communities across Canada.

Joseph Mancinelli is LiUNA’s International Vice President and Regional Manager of Central and Eastern Canada.