Monday September 4th will mark Canada’s 124th official Labour Day, a time to appreciate and to celebrate the Labour Movement’s work in creating a more just and prosperous Canada.
It’s a day to remember the role Unions have played in the creation of workplace health and safety legislation, the 40-hour work week, the minimum wage, universal health care and other innovations that were once radical and are now foundational to our society.
But it’s also a time to recognize the work that Unions are doing right now, fighting for living wages, for LGBTQ rights in and out of the workplace, for holding employers accountable for any actions leading to the injury or death of workers on the job, for improved services to Canada’s most in need. Although the Labour Movement has many achievements to be proud of, it takes constant effort and vigilance to preserve what has already been gained, let alone to progress further toward a truly fair society for all.
For members of USW Local 1944, the Labour Movement is in your very workplaces, in the form of Shop Stewards, volunteers that try to protect and inform you. They make sure that the rights you have under your Collective Agreement are actually given to you.
The Labour Movement is also your Local Union Representatives at the Union office, staff who have the full-time job of making sure your hard work is rewarded with fair treatment by your employers. This time of year would be a great time to say thank you to a Shop Steward or Local Rep for the work they do.
When you attend a Union meeting, or report concern to a Shop Steward, or sign up for a course offered by the Union, that makes you part of the Labour Movement as well. In fact, when workers look out for each other and do what they can to get each other a better deal from their employers, this is the most important part of the Labour Movement.
On Labour Day let’s think about the achievements Unions have made in the past, the work Unions are doing now, and the successes we will have together in the future.
Labour Day events are being held across the country and all of you are welcome to attend.
The Telecommunications Workers Union, United Steelworkers National Local 1944