Labour Day 2023: Canada’s Unions lift everyone up

As communities across the country mark Labour Day by celebrating workers and their contributions, Canada’s unions are highlighting the important role unions play in making life better for everyone.

For over one hundred years, unions have had a track record of winning for all workers. Thanks to unions, workers benefit from the provisions of occupational health and safety laws, new investments in healthcare, commitments for ten-dollar-a-day childcare programs in all provinces and pension protections for workers where employers experience bankruptcy.

Whether workers are unionized or not, “These are just a few examples of what has been won for workers. Unions are an undeniable force for positive social change. The benefits of union representation cannot be overstated. Unions at the Grey Bruce Labour Council and in organized labour across the county believe all workers, in all sectors, across Canada deserve good union jobs with decent pay and benefits. We won’t stop until we get there,” says Labour Council President, Kevin Smith.

Dave Trumble, Labour Council VP for Bruce County, notes that, “In 2023 about one third of Canada’s workforce is represented by a union, and the gains they have made continue to improve the lives of every worker in this country.”

All workers, unionized or not, benefit from Canada’s unions and their focus on improving the lives of everyone. “These ambitious priorities”, says Labour Council VP for Grey, Chris Stephen, “are to address the major issues facing workers and their families.”

These issues look us in the face everyday. “They are affordable housing, sustainable public services such as public and accessible healthcare for everyone, fair and decent wages for all workers, and expedited processes for workers in union organizing drives just to name a few,” says Labour Council Secretary, Amy Stephen.

One of the most pressing issues facing us today is climate change. Anna Morrison, Labour Council Sergeant-at-Arms, notes that, “Canada’s unions are demanding that decision-makers meet this challenge with bold, worker-centred solutions. The shift to a low-carbon economy must protect and support families and communities, and ensure that no worker is left behind by providing good, unionized jobs that offer good wages, benefits, and ongoing training opportunities. Following the recent announcement of the federal government’s Sustainable Jobs Act, Canada’s unions will work with governments to ensure workers are at the heart of this country’s climate policy.”

Another key priority is making life more affordable for everyone. It’s unacceptable that wealthy corporations and the rich elite continue to line their pockets with record-high profits on the backs of workers. Governments must urgently address the real causes of the ongoing affordability crisis by holding the wealthiest and most profitable corporations accountable and forcing them to pay their fair share.

It’s no secret that Canada’s healthcare systems are crumbling. Care workers are exhausted from years of sounding the alarm, and the pandemic pushed our struggling care systems to the brink of collapse. Care work is essential, and Canada’s unions will continue fighting for immediate solutions to support publicly funded, publicly delivered care.

“These priorities show why it’s so important for workers to join a union. We will continue to fight to make it easier to organize into a union, to ensure that every worker has the rights and respect that come with a union card. When unions – and workers – come together, we can lift everyone up,” adds President Smith.

It is the fight, for and advances that unions make on behalf of everyone, that leads us to the celebration of labour that is Labour Day.

The entire community is invited to watch, march or help on September the 4th, 2023 at 11AM as the annual Labour Day Parade is held in Saugeen Shores (Port Elgin) and join us after the parade for the continued festivities at the Unifor Family Education Centre on CAW road.