While we can’t celebrate Labour Day with our usual parades and gatherings, I invite you to take a moment today to celebrate what organized labour has helped us achieve.
During the Great Depression, in my home town of Oshawa in 1937, unions organized to defend workers from exploitive wages and working conditions. They went on to create industrial unions right across the country. This action helped give birth to a national unemployment insurance program available to all Canadians.
As COVID-19 shut down our communities, unions were once again at the forefront of fighting for safe workplaces for those who needed to keep working, and income supports and paid sick leave for those who couldn’t.
Regrettably, the Pandemic will be with us for quite a while. We have to create a recovery from COVID-19 that builds a better world. Unions are continuing to fight. They are joining with parents to call for smaller class sizes and universal childcare, with doctors to call for better healthcare and pharmacare, with environmentalists to call for a clean economy, and with workers in every sector to call for safe, reliable, decently paid work.
Together we can build back better. Happy Labour Day!