Today is Labour Day.
This year workers were in our headlines much of the time for their service on the frontlines of the pandemic. To me though, the work they did together to call for safer workplaces with decent wages deserves just as much praise. Two examples come to mind.
A 20 year battle in BC to bring food service and housekeeping work in acute care health facilities back into the public sector was finally won last week and will result in better working conditions for the largely female workforce. It will also result in better care and service for those patients because better jobs means better services.
From the very beginning of the pandemic migrant workers faced some the greatest risks because of longstanding injustices in their legal status. Through dedicated organizing and advocacy they’ve started to undue these injustices and achieve changes to Canada’s immigration policies that will provide this often invisible class of workers with rights that all should have.
There are many other examples; nurses and personal care workers demanding better conditions of work and care for the elderly; education workers fighting for safe schools; grocery workers demanding a decent wage that acknowledges the value of the work they provide. We have seen over the past year where collective action by workers has led to both fairer working conditions and a more just and caring society. These workers deserve the gratitude of us all.
I'm pleased to tell you that PressProgress is launching a new email newsletter, edited by Emily Leedham, that will summarize all things labour. Called 'Shiftwork', this weekly newsletter will cover stories from across Canada, celebrating when people win and make their workplaces better. Sign up here to receive it weekly.
Happy Labour Day!