The First Union for Black Workers
As one of only a few job opportunities available to them in Canada, the vast majority of sleeping car porters were Black men. Black railway employees were prevented from joining the Canadian Brotherhood of Railway Employees. In response, Black Canadian porters formed the first Black railway union in North America (1917) and became members of the larger Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters in 1939. Together, both unions combatted racism and confronted the many challenges that porters experienced on the job. The impact that the BSCP made within Canadian history is profound. At a time when Black people were fighting for their basic human rights, the union was a much-needed group that helped to fight for the rights of Black men in the workplace.