Asian heritage month - Week 1


Making Change from Unifor local 1S

Albert Ngui is a Canadian born Chinese-Filipino residing in Regina, Saskatchewan.  Albert is an activist and advocate for fair and equitable work, for all Workers of Colour in the workplace.  Through his experiences working with Unifor’s Aboriginal & Workers of Colour (AWOC) Committee, he was able to find the support and the voice needed to become a leader within the labour movement, his local, and in his community.  Today, he has become an active Union Steward, Activist, Trustee, AWOC member in his local, and has become founder of the Workers of Colour committee within the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour (SFL).  Thank you Unifor for your support!

Up and Coming Determined Unifor Local 240 Activist

Marybeth Punzalan is the Chairperson of the Giovanni Caboto Club and the Worker of Colour Chairperson for Unifor Local 240 in Windsor, Ontario.  She represents over 100 members in the hospitality sector.

Marybeth is a great example of a leader who is fierce, determined and fearless.  She was instrumental in organizing her workplace and successful, along with the bargaining committee, in negotiating their first collective agreement.  This was not an easy task since her employer is an Italian men’s private club.  The club has been under great scrutiny in our community for not allowing women on their executive board.  They have been boycotted by many in our community, which has had an impact on their jobs.  Despite this, Marybeth, along with the other organizers did not back away from joining Unifor and they continued to take on the many injustice’s workers had faced without the union.

Being chairperson is difficult in this workplace, and Marybeth is faced with the added challenge of being a woman and a person of colour.  Her tenacity is admirable and inspiring.  Despite the hard feelings the employer has for Unifor as a national organization and their personal anger towards the committee for organizing a union, Marybeth continues to show up to work every single day and works tirelessly on behalf of the membership at the Caboto Club.  She is more determined as each day passes to ensure members receive the respect and dignity they deserve.

Proud member of Local 4606

Roda Elliott is from Nova Scotia and works as a CCA (Continuing Care Assistant) at Debert Court of Shannex, and a member of Local 4606. As a member, her whole family had a privilege to attend the Family Education in August 2017 and met many people, some of whom they stayed connected with until now. The whole family had the best time of their life at Port Elgin during that time it was a great experience.  She learned so many things in Family Education program and from then on has been very interested about Unifor and what more it can offer her as a union member.

In 2018, Roda had the opportunity to attend a 2 week AWOC (Aboriginal and Workers of Colour) course where understanding how racism is not individual acts or attitudes, but is systemic and real in the lived experiences of Aboriginal and Workers of Colour like her. During the course, she recognized how racism intersects with gender, sexual orientation, abilities, and other forms of discrimination. She has met wonderful people and real activists in this two week course, they worked together as a group to understand the connection between racism and capitalism, and how it acts locally and internationally. She experienced racism, inequality and biases and didn’t know how to deal with it before, but now knows how to stand up for herself and for others when there is a need to challenge racism in the workplace and in the broader community. Roda has strengthened her support from Local 4606 and solidarity between Aboriginal and Workers of Colour by joining their network group and seen positive changes in equality and rights for vulnerable groups in society, but there is more to be achieved though activism and legislation. Roda is proud to be an AWOC member and a Unifor activist. Humility, Wisdom, Honestly, Love, Respect and Courage to all.