Somali Workers Network

In 2014, the network of unionized workers concerned with social justice issues formed to build bridges between the labour movement and the Somali community, and to advocate and address social issues, including mental illness and violence.

The Somali network is one of several diversity networks of the Toronto and Region Labour Council, Canada’s oldest and largest labour union with 205,000 members. Other networks reach out to Toronto’s Chinese, Filipino, Tamil and Ethiopian and Eritrean communities.

“Inclusion and equity is about creating space for workers to share realities and needs, paving the way for leadership from within. The dignity of every worker is essential for a healthy and vibrant workplace,” said labour council spokesperson Kiruthiha Kulendiren, adding the networks “recognize that they face obstacles defined by who they are.”

The network’s constituency is both young and older Somali-Canadian workers, as well as Canadian-born and university-educated twenty somethings who struggle to find full-time jobs.