Labour Day 2020 in a Global Pandemic


Workers dying almost daily, workers suffering horrendous injury and debilitating disease, workers living in profound and multi generational poverty. In the midst of this the gentry grows richer and richer on the backs of the working poor. Medieval or perhaps Dickensian one might say. Certainly within living memory and maybe in some manner this is even today’s reality for far too many. All of the foregoing is true, at least in some sense, and it is with this clearly in mind that despite a global pandemic that the affiliate unions to the Grey Bruce Labour Council ensured that Labour Day 2020 would not go unnoticed or unmarked.

Labour Council President Kevin Smith says, “It is in this remarkable time that we must take notice of Labour Day. It is on this Labour Day, in this environment, that workers and the value of their contributions are seen more clearly than ever. It also on this day that with heavy heart we feel the passing of workers who have succumbed to the pandemic because they were in fact saving lives, preventing and alleviating suffering and in many cases just doing what they do everyday.”

The community of Grey Bruce, union affiliates and the community did not let Labour Day 2020 slip away. Grey Bruce has much to be proud of as over one-hundred people, including motorcycles, took part in a COVID-19 compliant car caravan. Bedecked with flags, banners and placards thanking workers, the cars traversed a wide part of Grey and Bruce Counties and were met by people and local politicians as it made its way. With specific mention of the significant support from the UNIFOR Retirees, the PWU, the SUP and OSSTF, Council President Kevin Smith wishes thanks to every union affiliate for their support of this event, along with the items for the prize draw in Walkerton where the caravan finished its trek.

In a unique year, we see many firsts and in this uncertain time we want to especially thank the municipalities of Owen Sound, Chesley, Brockton, Saugeen Shores, and Kincardine for flying flags created to thank workers and celebrate Labour.

In response to celebrating Labour Day in a pandemic Labour Council V-P for Bruce, Dave Trumble, feels “that society has now been exposed to the malignancy in our society that says that some workers are more valuable than others. Labour Day has always been a day for celebrating and embracing the contributions of all workers. Cheering for all workers on this Labour Day is more important than ever as everyone’s labour is keeping us fed, watered, warm or cool and sustained in all aspects of our life”.

There is no doubt that we all hope for a Labour Day like we have had for decades as we peer into 2021. However as Labour Council VP for Grey, Chris Stephen says, “from here on out, there is not going to be one step back. The world has now come to see the value of all workers and the Labour Movement will not entertain any agenda that once again attempts to minimize or shortchange even one worker”.

On Behalf of the Grey Bruce Labour Council