Solidarity with the Chinese Ex-Calego Workers

Fifteen Chinese workers show their combativeness and solidarity in standing up for their rights against their former employer, Calego International in Ville St. Laurent. On April 19, 2011, the Quebec Human Rights Tribunal ruled in favour of the workers and ordered the employer to pay $164,000 in compensation for discriminatory comments made at the workplace, and to set up a program to promote integration of immigrant workers in order to prevent any discrimination based on ethnic or national origin. Calego is appealing the ruling. For more information on the judgment, go to:

Last week, Wai-Yin and I met Mr. He Yongshan, a former Calego worker and Mr. Liu Sheng, a supporter who initiated a community campaign in solidarity with the workers.

Mr. He believes this is the first time the Chinese people have waged a struggle of this type. “We hope with our actions, we have shown to all Chinese and Asian people in Montreal that one should never be afraid to stand up for civil rights and to fight racism.” Mr. Liu was moved to take action when he read about the case in the Chinese newspapers. “We have the right to speak out, supporting fellow Chinese workers was the right thing to do. I did not know the Calego workers but I had a sense of shared responsibility to defend them.”

Together, the workers and their supporters collected 300 names in a signature campaign and raised money from the community for their legal fees. They are represented by the Center for Research-Action on Race Relations (CRARR). These workers will need ongoing support to carry on their legal case.