我名叫張嘉玲 (Patricia Kah Ling Chong)。我擁有加拿大麥克馬斯特大學(McMaster University) 勞工研究碩士學位、德國全球勞工大學 (Global Labour University) 勞工政策和全球化碩士學位，以及維多利亞大學 (University of Victoria) 成人和進修教育證書。
我是引以為榮的亞裔加拿大勞工聯盟 (Asian Canadian Labour Alliance, ACLA) 成員。
AMAPCEO 代表超過 14,000 名專業工作者，他們大多在安省公共服務部門工作。
我20歲時是一名大學生，在多倫多大學書店當兼職收銀員。書店收發部員工是加拿大公共雇員 工會分會3261 (CUPE 3261) 的成員， 但其餘部門員工則沒有工會。我參與在內部組織非工會員工。然而，最終我們從兼職員工得到僅足夠的簽名工會卡以舉行認證工會投票。1999年，我們兼職員工贏得了投票，而我則成為談判小組成員。這是一場非常艱苦的戰鬥，最終，兼職員工在2000年夏天進行了為期13周的罷工，以取得我們的第一份集體協議。
我永遠記住我們從社區獲得的支持：多倫多大學教授抵制多倫多大學書店，將訂單轉到多倫多婦女書店，作家如瑪格麗特-阿特伍德 (Margaret Atwood)和諾姆-杭士基(Noam Chomsky)，多倫多及約克區勞工議會，其他工會和積極份子等等，幾乎每天都出現在糾察線上。
我製作了一部關於多倫多大學 書店兼職工人罷工 16 周年的紀錄短片， 名為 《罷工 16 (STRIKE 16)》， 這是 2016 年加拿大勞工國際電影節 （Cliff）放映 的其中一部紀錄片，可以在YouTube上觀看：https://youtu.be/rlr2Ikz_SdE
在我大學的最後一年，我發現了酒店和餐廳工人工會分會75 (HERE Local 75) 的學生實習機會。我完成實習，並被聘為工會組織者，在多倫多大學組織食品工人 (PIzza Pizza, Starbucks, Tim Hortons, etc.) 成立工會。
在我的第一次工會會議上，一群男人互相大喊大叫。 不是開玩笑。如果沒有像吳溫溫 (Winnie Ng) 和邁赫迪-庫赫斯塔尼內賈德 (Mehdi Kouhestaninejad) 這樣的人鼓勵和支援我的參與，我就會退出勞工運動。關係很重要。
Patricia Chong: Without their encouragement, I would drop out of the labour movement
My name is Patricia Chong. I have a MA in Labour Studies from McMaster University (Canada), a Masters in Labour Policies and Globalisation from the Global Labour University (Germany), and a Certificate in Adult and Continuing Education from the University of Victoria..
I am a proud member of the Asian Canadian Labour Alliance.
I work as a labour educator / education officer at a union called AMAPCEO which means that I design, develop, and deliver training to members.
AMAPCEO represents over 14,000 professional workers who are mostly in the Ontario Public Service
I was 20 years old and worked as a part-time cashier at the University of Toronto Bookstore when I was an undergraduate student. The ‘Shippers & Receivers’ were organized with CUPE 3261 but the rest of the bookstore was not. I was involved with the internal attempt to organize the non-union staff. However, we ended up with only enough signed union cards from the part-time workers to hold a certification vote for us. In 1999, we, the part-time workers, won the vote and I became one of the bargaining team members. It was a really tough fight that ended up with the part-time employees going on a 13-week strike in the summer of 2000 for our first collective agreement.
I’ll always remember the support we got from the community: UofT Professors boycotting the UofT Bookstore and moving their orders to the Toronto Women’s Bookstore, authors like Margaret Atwood and Noam Chomsky, the Toronto and York Region Labour Council, other unions and activists just showing up everyday to walk the picket line, etc.
I made a short film documentary about the 16th anniversary of the UofT Bookstore part-time workers’ strike called “STRIKE 16” that was part of 2016 Canadian Labour International Film Festival (CLiFF): https://youtu.be/rlr2Ikz_SdE
During my last year at university, I found out about a student internship with the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employes (HERE) Local 75. I did the internship and was hired on as a union organizer to unionize the food workers (PIzza Pizza, Starbucks, Tim Hortons, etc.) at the University of Toronto.
I have worked as union organizer for public and private sector unions and have worked in Ontario, the Northwest Territories, the Yukon, and Nunavut.
Unions are vehicles for workplace and social justice. However, they are embedded in a society that is based on oppression (racism, sexism, homophobia, etc), and unions often replicate these oppressions as well. However, unions are changing and we need to keep pushing for transformation and liberation. Not all of labour’s problems are internal or will be resolved with more representation, however, equity is key to building a working-class movement that actually includes the majority of working-class peoples. We are part of an ongoing struggle.
As Carol Wall, a labour activist that I look up to, said the following at the Solidarity Rally Against Anti-Asian Hate in Toronto on March 28, 2021:
“I stand here with my ancestors to say: We are invoking the spirit, the determination, the courage, the bravery, the love of the Abolitionists of old . . . The urgency and the collective trauma of this moment calls for nothing less than a renewed Abolitionist movement. They fought to abolish slavery [against] overwhelming odds and many knew that it wouldn’t happen in their lifetimes, but they pressed on. And in the end, they were victorious. So now we must honour their sacrifices by finishing their work by ensuring liberation by abolishing white supremacy.”
I made a short film about the “Solidarity Against Anti-Asian Hate” in Toronto (March 2021) and one of the key themes is understanding that anti-Asian racism is not new, it isn’t going anywhere, and it is directly tied to anti-Indigenous racism and anti-Black racism in upholding White Supremacy.
The doc can be found here: https://youtu.be/jO_DthA6wEo
We need to know more about Chinese-Canadian labour history. Despite our exclusion for the Canadian labour movement, there are stories of resistance and examples of cross-racial solidarity. ACLA is currently working on a series of historic snapshots that celebrate our overlooked history.
There are structural reasons for the exclusion of Chinese-Canadians, Indigenous, and other racialized peoples from the labour movement. We must remember that the industrial relations framework is based on a White male worker who is employed full-time by a single employer (i.e. in a “standard employment relationship”). This concept of the White male worker who acts as the family “breadwinner” is deeply connected to gender and heterosexual norms, a racialized division of labour, and rights based on citizenship. So, if this is your labour relations foundation, then it’s no surprise that Canadian labour unions actively viewed anyone who didn’t fit this model as a threat: women, racialized and Indigenous workers, non-citizens, part-time workers, etc. Though the labour market and workforce has changed, the impact of the active exclusion of those who were not considered the ‘norm’ is still felt today. This does not excuse the lack of union outreach to and opportunities for racialized and Indigenous workers today, or racist behaviours, but it does help to explain how some union cultures and values (e.g. macho militancy) do not resonate with some people.
I wrote more about this topic here:
At my first union meeting, there were a bunch of men SHOUTING at each other. No joke.
I would have dropped out of the labour movement if people like Winnie Ng and Mehdi Kouhestaninejad had not encouraged and supported my participation. Relationships matter.
Likewise, I recommend that people who are interested in getting involved in the labour movement (unionized or not) can seek out organizations like the Asian Canadian Labour Alliance or the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists that are specifically geared towards encouraging, mentoring, and outreaching to racialized union activists.