Employment Immigration Race and ethnicity

Where is the ‘Union Advantage’ for Canadian immigrants, racial minorities?

These numbers will blow your mind and make you want to join a union
PressProgress (Broadbent Institute) August 18, 2014

A reader flagged this recent PressProgress post. It references data presumably from a recent Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) ‘report’, which the post is intended to promote. The data was obviously sourced from Statistics Canada’s Labour Force Survey (LFS), which collects basic info on respondents’ immigration status, but not race / ethnicity. While the post mentions hourly wage differences for total and recent immigrants covered by collective agreements (but not necessarily union members), it doesn’t mention their respective coverage rates – although it does so for young workers (15%). Perhaps it was an oversight,..

Union Advantage 2014
Canadian Labour Congress August 18, 2014

Curiously, the referenced CLC ‘report’ doesn’t contain a single mention of immigrants (and obviously no mention of race / ethnicity). That’s despite the bizarre images on the CLC page promoting it: Of the four young people (interesting, given the youth coverage rate just mentioned) photographed (Photoshop’d) holding popsicles bearing pro-union messaging, two depict racial minority men.

It would be interesting to see if CLC even bothered requesting the immigrant labour market info from Statscan, and, if so, whether it requested it by country/region of origin. Given CLC member organisations aren’t too keen on keeping stats on racial minority representation within their own ranks, it’s doubtful CLC bothered to pay for similar data for immigrants. After all, why would an umbrella organisation purportedly representing Canadian unionised workers concern itself with something as mundane as union coverage rates, especially for vulnerable groups like racial minorities and immigrants from ‘non-traditional’ source countries? An interesting question for CLC’s recently elected president, who happens to be a racial minority immigrant from a ‘non-traditional’ source country…

Did CLC pull the immigrant information from Union Advantage 2014? We’ve inquired, but have yet to receive a response. Will update.

Aside: A search of the CLC site for “union advantage immigrants” returns two search results, neither relevant.

Apparently CLC excluded from Union Advantage 2014 the immigrant labour market data it paid StatsCan to produce; however some of that data was included in the PressProgress post intended to promote its release. As CLC explains it:

We thought pressprogress might have a broader reach for this, so we gave them the data by immigration status.

Which notably doesn’t explain why CLC chose to exclude the same data from the original ‘report’. A follow-up note from CLC:

We also translated the Union Advantage report into more languages this year – I think Mandarin and Arabic, and this is something we’ll be pushing to do more of / a better job with, in the future.

So now more recent Canadian immigrants can read in their first language CLC’s Union Advantage 2014, which excludes data on their labour market outcomes. Or they can read the English-only PressProgress post promoting it, which includes some of the limited immigrant labour market data CLC paid for but inexplicably decided not to publish… neither of which contain that key bit of info on immigrant union coverage rates.

Perhaps it’s to CLC’s advantage not to draw attention to its record with racial minorities and immigrants from ‘non-traditional’ source countries… except, of course, when it comes to highlighting the fact a couple of its recently elected token leaders happen to be minorities.

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