The Labourers’ International Union of North America (LiUNA), Canada’s largest building trades union, and the Assembly of First Nations have signed a Statement of Partnership at affirming LiUNA’s commitment in support of the findings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the UN Declaration for Indigenous People and education and training of First Nations communities.
“LiUNA represents over 110,000 members from coast to coast to coast and is the embodiment of strength, honour and justice as we collectively remember the struggle of those who paved the way before us,” LiUNA International vice-president Joseph Mancinelli said in a statement. “The century old struggles of the indigenous communities across Canada have for hundreds of years sought to be treated as equal and LiUNA strongly believes that together we can build a strong partnership with an emphasis on training and education as youth are the future builders of our growing economy.”
The agreement ensures the continuation without expiry dates of LiUNA training programs and initiatives for indigenous people in the industry. “And of course we need them, a lot of folks are retiring, there is a shortage of skilled labour of course, we have a demand for these folks, so it is good for us and good for them because they are desperate to get their youth into meaningful employment,” he said in a published interview. “So the construction industry can provide that.”
“Education and training are the keys to a brighter future for young First Nations men and women. As we work to close the gap and build strong communities and healthy homes, this partnership with LiUNA will help to ensure First Nations are at the fore of this development, and advancing in the areas of construction, waste management, and health care. Through this statement of partnership, LiUNA has demonstrated its commitment to First Nations and to walking down the path of reconciliation, and we lift them up as a model for other organizations in Canada.” national chief Perry Bellegarde said in a statement.