Brothers & Sisters,
On behalf of 1620 Electrical Workers, I would like to wish all Aboriginals a happy National Indigenous Peoples Day. Today is a day for all Canadians to celebrate, recognize and honour the achievements, unique heritage and the diverse, rich culture of all Aboriginal People.
First officially celebrated in 1996 as National Aboriginal Day, June 21st was chosen as the statutory holiday date for many reasons, including its cultural significance as the Summer solstice, and the fact that it is a day on which many Aboriginal groups traditionally celebrate their heritage. In 2017, Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau released a statement pledging to rename the event as it is today, National Indigenous Peoples Day.
Being the only Union to represent all workers on the Lower Churchill and Maritime Link Projects, IBEW Local 1620 played an important role in negotiating Collective Agreements that ensured all parties involved became more inclusive and showed its commitment to putting local Indigenous People in Newfoundland & Labrador to work first. Local 1620’s partnership helped ensure, through the life of these Projects, that these members had strong, labour representation and access to good, meaningful employment. As a member of 1620 Electrical Workers, this is something to be proud of.
We all need to commit to be a part of the solution – to respect past mistakes and continuously work to do better. Local 1620 is committed to working with our local Indigenous Communities, to continue to break down barriers, strengthen relationships and help all Aboriginals continue to grow; to help ensure they have access to apprenticeship and other training opportunities, employment, and Union membership – not only for them, but also for their families and their communities.
It is so important, not just once a year, to recognize and respect the cultures and traditions of Indigenous People and everything they have done to help build our country; a big part of who and where we are today, is due to the history, achievements and contributions of Indigenous People.