CUPE 4400, Chinese Workers Network
Ling Jiang Li is a trained Early Childhood Educator (ECE) and works with the Toronto District School Board as a Designated Early Childhood Educator. She is a member of Toronto Education Workers, which is also known as CUPE 4400.
Since moving to Canada, she has faced many challenges and difficulties. From the moment she arrived, she faced difficulty getting her architect license – and thirteen years of work experience as an architect – recognized in Canada. However, in spite of her certificate and credentials not being recognized, Ling re-trained as an ECE and was subsequently hired by the Toronto District School Board. She remains currently very active and involved in her union, sitting on many committees and delegations, and is current Co-Chair of the Chinese Workers Network (CWN). Ling has been using her position as Co-Chair to advocate for workers’ rights in the Chinese-Canadian community.
Under Doug Ford’s Conservative government in Ontario, Bill 124 has severely limited the ability of public sector unions to bargain for salary increases beyond 1% while inflation is at a 30-year high at 5.7%. Ling believes strongly that Bill 124 and the bargaining cap is an injustice to many everyday frontline workers like herself, who meagerly make ends meet. She hopes that more and more Chinese-Canadians like herself will see themselves represented in the trade union movement, and that unions are not limited to escalating job action which result in last minute strikes. For Ling, unions are about unity, education, help and solidarity with one another.
For example, the Chinese Workers’ Network aims to guide and educate Chinese-Canadian workers to understand what trade unions are about and how to work together to advocate and improve our quality of life. For Ling, the CWN not only organizes regular meetings but also various social opportunities to celebrate and get to know one another. In such spaces, there is the ability to ask questions about unions and to apply knowledge into the workplace.