​A Flag We’re Proud to Wave

November 21, 2018

It’s one of the most important - and recognizable - cultural icons of today.

The Rainbow Flag is a symbol of pride representing LGBTQ2+ communities – lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer and two-spirited plus – around the world. Created by artist Gilbert Baker in 1978, it was the brainchild of San Francisco’s Mayor Harvey Milk, the first openly gay man to hold public office.

Creating a pride flag was a natural first step for USJE’s new Equity Committee, according to Committee Chair Lynette Robinson (USJE Atlantic RVP). Since many USJE members proudly join summer pride parades across Canada, it was apparent a USJE rainbow flag was needed.

USJE Equity Committee Chair Lynette Robinson (USJE Atlantic RVP)

The new flag, Lynette says, represents USJE’s commitment to ending workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation.

“Supporting LGBTQ2+ rights is obviously an important issue,” she points out. “There are still a lot of people facing discrimination in the workplace and we wanted USJE to show our support with a specific flag.”

Equity committee members also felt it was important the pride flag be the same size as the USJE flag. “Our USJE flag is huge and really stands out in a crowd,” says Lynette. “Having both flags the same size demonstrates the equality of our members.”

Members can purchase a pride flag through the USJE online store. Lynette encourages Locals to order their own flag and proudly wave it at rallies, parades and other events to show support for safer and fairer workplaces for LGBTQ2+ members.

Created in January of this year, the USJE Equity Committee is led by Chair Lynette Robinson with five members at large. As well as addressing discrimination based on sexual orientation, the Committee will tackle issues of gender equality, Indigenous rights, and disability and visible minority rights, among others.

LGBTQ2+ workers often experience discrimination in the workplace – through hostility, unequal treatment, social isolation, homophobia, transphobia and violence. The union movement has played a historically important role in advocating for an end to discrimination. Here are a few examples:

  • As early as 1980, PSAC sought the addition of sexual orientation to the no discrimination clause in collective agreements – succeeding in its first Master Agreement with Treasury Board in 1986.
  • Throughout the 1980s, PSAC filed a series of grievances against Treasury Board for discriminating against same sex couples in provisions such as marriage leave, bereavement leave, medical care and dental care plans.
  • PSAC successfully lobbied to have the Canadian Human Rights Act amended in 1996 to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation.
  • Canadian unions have called for a clear definition of violence and harassment to be applied to federal legislation Bill C-65, to protect workers from transphobic and homophobic harassment and violence.

Order the USJE Pride Flag here.

Show your support to end bullying on Pink Shirt Day.

Do you have a question or issue you want to raise with the USJE Equity Committee? Contact Lynette Robinson at robinsl@psac-afpc.com

Meet the USJE Equity Committee!

Chair: Lynette Robinson, RVP, Atlantic (RCMP-Justice-PPSC)

Members:
Pacific: Dave E. Paul Jr

Ontario: Tony Elwood Lawrence

Atlantic: Laurie-Ann Wesselby

Quebec: Anne Blouin

NCR: Sonia O'Brien-Colterman

Prairies: Sharon Lahey