Civil & Human Rights

Purpose of the Committee

The Civil and Human Rights Committee is an essential guardian of the “No Discrimination” policy of our union. Members of this committee fulfill the local union’s commitment to assure members full rights regardless of religion, race, creed, color, sex, political affiliation, national origin, age, disability, marital status or sexual orientation.

The committee informs members of steps and procedures, including filing complaints and hearings, whenever a member or members believe their rights have been violated, either by management or other union members. The committee works toward the elimination of discrimination in the workplace, the community and the nation.

Members of this committee have the opportunity to keep the local union moving forward toward the fulfillment of our UAW commitment on the civil rights front. This committee needs members who feel a moral obligation to speak out on the issues of intolerance, injustice and bigotry and to rebuke any person or group that expresses such activity.

Hate crimes, on the rise!
By Celia “Selya” Ontiveros, Committee Chairperson

What is the difference between a crime versus a hate crime? A hate crime is a crime motivated by prejudice when the assailant targets their victims based on their membership in a certain social group or race. Groups based on ethnicity, disability, physical appearance, religion, gender identity or sexual orientation. Hate crime incidents involve physical assault and/or damage to property. They include physical violence, harassment, verbal abuse, insults, offensive graffiti and hate mail.

Lynching of African Americans in the South, burning of crosses on lawns, assaults of White people traveling in predominantly minority neighborhoods, assaults on lesbian, gay, transgender people, painting of swastikas on Jewish synagogues are examples of hate crimes.

According to the FBI hate report released in November 2018, hate crimes have increased by 17%. The most common bias categories in single-bias incidents were race/ethnicity/ancestry (59.6%) religion (20.6 %) and sexual orientation (15.8 %). Law enforcement reported 7,175 hate crimes to in 2017, up from 6,121 in 2016. Many hate crimes go unreported.

There have been numerous videos in the news and on social media showing hate filled verbal and physical abuse. Witnesses have pulled out their cell phones and recorded how despicably hateful people have conducted themselves in public. Many have faced prosecution or have been terminated from their jobs.

So what can we do about it?

The Southern Poverty Law Center has an excellent booklet titled 10 ways to fight hate, a Community response guide. In it they recommend the following:

1. Take action
2. Join forces
3. Support the Victims
4. Speak up
5. Educate yourself
6. Create an alternative
7. Pressure Leaders
8. Stay engaged
9. Teach Acceptance
10. Dig Deeper

If you are interested in the guide, it can be downloaded from the SPLC website or I can send you the link, email me your request to

“To make a difference in someone’s life, you don’t have to be brilliant, rich, beautiful, or perfect. You just have to care enough and be there.” Anonymous

Civil & Human Rights Links

A. Philip Randolph Institute (APRI) – A. Philip Randolph and Bayard Rustin founded A. Philip Randolph Institute in 1965, after their group Black-Labor Alliance helped pass the Voting Rights Act, to continue the struggle for social, political and economic justice for all working Americans.

Coalition of Black Trade Unionists (CBTU) – CBTU is an independent voice of black workers within the trade union movement, challenging organized labor to be more relevant to the needs and aspirations of black and poor workers. Since its founding conference in 1972, CBTU’s stature among black workers has grown. Currently, more than 50 different international and national unions are represented in the CBTU.

Coalition of Labor Union Women (CLUW) – The Coalition of Labor Union Women is America’s only national organization for union women. Formed in 1974, CLUW is a nonpartisan organization within the union movement whose primary mission is to unify all union women in a viable organization to determine our common problems and concerns and to develop action programs within the framework of our unions.

The Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA)
– The Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA) is a national organization representing the interests of approximately 2 million Latino/a trade unionists throughout the United States and Puerto Rico. In this effort, LCLAA works in coalition with other leading organizations to maximize support for economic and social policies that are essential to advancing the interests of Latinos/as.

Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA) – Founded in 1992, the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA), AFL-CIO, is the first and only national organization of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) workers, most of whom are union members, and allies advancing worker, immigrant and civil rights. Since its founding, APALA has played a unique role in addressing the workplace issues of the 660,000 AAPI union members and in serving as the bridge between the broader labor movement and the AAPI community.

Pride at Work – Pride At Work is a nonprofit organization that represents LGBTQ union members and their allies. They are an officially recognized constituency group of the AFL-CIO that organizes mutual support between the organized labor movement and the LGBTQ community to further social and economic justice. From their national office in Washington, DC, we coordinate and support more than 20 Chapters across the country.