Sue-Ann Levy, True North, December 6, 2021
An Ontario union has voted overwhelmingly and without debate to allow black employees two extra days of mental health leave to deal with the impact of “anti-black racism.”
True North had previously reported that the Association of Management, Administrative and Professional Crown Employees (AMAPCEO) was considering the motion for its annual conference.
The chairperson of AMAPCEO’s black caucus, Elaine Spencer, claimed this coverage “demonized” black employees and provided all the more reason to give her members special consideration.
“Many of our members have volunteered their time to combat the anti-racism struggle in the Ontario Public Service (OPS) and that has led to burnout, a tremendous amount of re-lived traumas and exhaustion,” she said.
The motion was pushed through with no debate and no indication of the vote tally after considerable discussion ensued in response to a similar black caucus motion.
A tape of the proceedings obtained by True North shows that several attendees tried to suggest that every minority group is deserving of equity initiatives. The suggestion came in response to a separate motion calling for special programs for black employees intended to “address disparities in career advancement,” pay inequities and career development opportunities.
One member voiced concern that singling out black individuals limits the ability of all groups to move forward–and that these initiatives should be “extended to all equity groups.”
When one attendee amended the motion to put its focus on all equity-seeking groups, Spencer became agitated. She suggested that if the word “black” is taken out, the union might as well strike down its black caucus altogether.