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Confronting Anti-Asian Racism During COVID-19

May 6, 2020

Anti-Asian racism has been on the rise since the outbreak of COVID-19 due to racist stereotypes, misconceptions and misinformation. The Society of United Professionals joins the Executive Officers and Diversity Committee of its international union, the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers, in

Masked Asian woman holds I Am Not A Virus sign

 denouncing all forms of anti-Asian racism. The Society stands in solidarity with Asian communities during this difficult time and commits to raising awareness of and speaking out against anti-Asian racism.

The April 22, 2020 IFPTE statement on anti-Asian racism said, in part:

Despite the irrationality and counter productiveness of practicing racism and xenophobia during a time of global crisis, in a span of one week alone during March, Asian Americans reported more than 600 cases of anti-Asian targeting across the United States while online Anti-Asian hostility and hate speech surged, including enticement of violent acts against Asians. Similarly, Canada has seen a rise in attacks against the Chinese community and against anyone who looks Chinese, including a stabbing of a Korean man in Montreal last month, leaving entire communities fearful of leaving their homes

The IFPTE also offered five commitments and recommendations:

  1. IFPTE joins the Asian Pacific American Labour Alliance and the Ontario Federation of Labour and other unions and labour organizations in demanding that all employers have procedures in place to deal with discrimination in the workplace, especially in their COVID-19 response plan, and that our governments’ policy responses to include all workers, including immigrant and migrant workers. IFPTE joins these groups as well as the Canadian Labour Congress and the Labor Coalition for Community Action, which includes the A. Philip Randolph Institute, the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, the Coalition of Labor Union Women, the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement, and Pride at Work, in highlighting the need to protect all of our frontline workers, as they bear the the brunt from the global pandemic.
  2. IFPTE encourages its members who encounter racism, workplace harassment, or discrimination in any form to contact their local representatives, and calls upon IFPTE elected leaders, members and allies to speak out against racist, hostile, and aggressive behaviour.

  3. IFPTE calls upon every member to become a true ally - someone who actively supports racialized groups facing challenges - by showing solidarity with Asians and other racialized workers.

  4. IFPTE urges its members, allies and the general public to educate themselves about how to manage their health as well as to self-educate about any of their own prejudices and biases, especially those that may have led them to assume that all Asians have the virus.

  5. IFPTE will continue to support and uplift the work of the Asian Canadian Labour Alliance, Asian Pacific American Labour Alliance, and other racial justice organizations who are organizing on the ground to shed light on injustices, advocating for change.

To read the full IFPTE letter visit:

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