What is the Social Justice Fund?
The Unifor Social Justice Fund is a fund that is negotiated at the collective bargaining table from employers. Money in the fund is used to support community groups, trade unions and workers organizations around the world in their efforts to strengthen democracy, improve labour and human rights promote equitable development, and contribute to poverty reduction, social justice and education reform.
The SJF is governed by a Board of Directors consisting of nine appointees from the union, in addition to three leading Canadians from the social justice, international development and anti-poverty communities.
The Social Justice Fund (SJF) is a vital part of our union’s fight to improve human rights and help create the conditions that enable workers to improve their own lives. The SJF strengthens our ties with workers in other countries. By sharing information and strategies we can work together on common issues and become stronger as a result of this collaboration.
Negotiating the SJF is a way for bargaining committees to ensure this important work continues. We encourage our bargaining committees right across the country to take on this challenge.
The employer agrees to pay into the Social Justice Fund (insert amount) per hour per employee for all compensated hours, effective (insert month, day and year).
Such monies are to be paid on a quarterly basis into the Unifor Social Justice Fund (SJF), which is a registered charity established by Unifor. The employer is to forward the quarterly payment to the following address:
Unifor Social Justice Fund
115 Gordon Baker Road, Toronto, ON, M2H 0A8
The employer will be issued a charitable receipt for each payment.
Variations to the Funding model
Unifor bargaining committees negotiate contract language stipulating that employers pay into the Social Justice Fund for each Unifor member, an amount of money for every compensated hour. In smaller workplaces, innovative models have been negotiated that allow the employer to make a contribution to the fund on of behalf of its employees.
Why do we negotiate the SJF?
Our members recognize that our well-being is connected to workers in other countries We can often take for granted what others struggle to achieve. It is easy to forget that democracy is fragile and hard-sought after.
Supporting people in countries where political repression exists in their efforts to gain human rights helps strengthen democracy there and elsewhere. Supporting strong human rights, higher wages and decent working conditions for workers in other countries means that extraordinarily low wages and difficult working conditions will not be factors in corporate investment decisions. The Social Justice Fund is an expression of Unifor’s philosophy of ‘social unionism,’ working to improve conditions for other workers, their families and communities, as we would our own.
Millions of people around the world live in grinding poverty and endure the repression of their most basic of human rights. Many are faced with terrible, often sudden, catastrophes: flood, famine, war, and disease. The SJF is one element of Unifor’s efforts to provide humanitarian aid where it is needed most, as well as supporting the re-building and development efforts post-disaster. Part of our mandate is to support initiatives to push for full human and labour rights in countries where political repression exists.
Our scope is global – including Canada. The SJF is not the only way we can help in Canada. Unifor and its
members are generous contributors to Canadian charities such as the United Way and many local community groups. In addition, up to 30 per cent of the money generated by the SJF supports Canadian projects such as food banks, women’s shelters, youth and community programs.
The SJF is a registered charity
Government has recognized the importance of the SJF’s work domestically and internationally by granting it full charitable status. For more than 25 years, the SJF has proven itself to be a stable and viable institution. All employer contributions are tax-deductible on account of this charitable status.