Tag Archives: fête du travail

Labour Day 2022: Don’t just thank a union, get involved!

Canada’s labour movement has a long history of fighting – and winning – battles for decent wages, better working conditions, and stronger protections that improve people’s lives.

It’s thanks to unions and thousands of workers and activists who took to the streets in the spring of 1872 that we enjoy weekends and the eight-hour workday today.

It’s because unions never waned in the fight for women’s equality that parents now get paid parental leave to spend with their families when it matters most.

We have the right to refuse unsafe work and have a say in making our workplaces safer because unions led the way towards reforms in occupational health and safety.

From minimum wages and protection against discrimination and harassment to overtime pay and vacation pay, there is no doubt unions have helped make Canada a better, safer place to live and work.

New challenges ahead

But today, our movement still faces challenges – some new, others we’ve been grappling with for decades.

The pandemic changed the way that we live and work, but we’ve adapted to make sure you’re protected at work – whether that’s in your workplace or at the kitchen table.

We’re fighting for fair wages in bargaining as record-high inflation squeezes workers and makes life less affordable. Meanwhile, wealthy corporations continue to line their pockets with record profits.

Unions are working to tear down the systemic barriers Black, Indigenous, Asian and other racialized workers continue to face in their workplace, from discriminatory hiring practices to limited career advancement, and underrepresentation in management positions.

These trying times remind us that now, more than ever, we can’t waver in our fight for fair wages, good working conditions and inclusive workplaces — not just for PSAC members, but for all Canadian workers.

But to make major gains for workers, we need to be organized and work together. Because we have strength in numbers with more than 230,000 PSAC members behind us – with thousands more joining us ever year – we can drive the change we want to see in our workplaces.

So this Labour Day, don’t just thank a union. Take action and get involved:

Keep your contact information up to date via the member portal to receive all the latest updates about bargaining.

This article was first posted on the PSAC website.

Labour Day 2020: Moving Canada Forward Together

Photo of CIU flag

The ongoing COVID-19 crisis has revealed the critical value of front-line workers. Healthcare workers, cleaners, grocery store staff, delivery drivers and many more continued working through the height of the pandemic, ensuring Canadians had access to basic amenities and services.

Tens of thousands of PSAC members did the same. They kept our food supply safe, maintained our borders, and ensured that millions of laid off workers received the financial relief they needed in record time.

While these unprecedented emergency relief measures were largely successful as a temporary safety net, a full, equitable, and resilient recovery for Canada demands an even more ambitious plan. That’s why this Labour Day we not only recognize workers’ essential contributions during the pandemic, but also commit ourselves to a plan to move Forward Together and come out of this crisis even stronger.

A moment for unprecedented change

Canada’s parliament, led by a Liberal minority government, is at a critical juncture. It can either rise to this historic occasion by working to put in place a bold and courageous recovery program, or it can opt to not prepare for the next crisis.

Rebuilding our economy that is disaster proof and works to the benefit of all Canadians will mean addressing the failures and weaknesses revealed by the pandemic. It will mean a massive commitment to public investment by the federal government not seen since the post-war period to:

  • Replace lost jobs with better ones by hiring people to build green infrastructure, to educate our youth and to care for others.

  • Strengthen public health care by introducing a universal Pharmacare plan to reduce the cost of medicine and incorporating long-term care into Canada’s universal public health care system.

  • Put in place a high quality, inclusive and fully accessible system of publicly-funded child care—something all economists and women’s organizations recognize as essential to economic recovery for everyone, not only parents with young children.

  • Strengthen social income support systems by reforming Employment Insurance and making sure workers have access to paid sick leave.

Forward Together

How will we pay for it?

While millions of workers struggled, many big businesses continued reaping massive profits throughout the pandemic. Canada’s big five banks alone recorded a stunning $9 billion in profits in their latest quarterly reports. There is no better time than now to ask big business to pay its fair share through a higher tax rate on profits.

Moreover, public spending on Canada’s social infrastructure will pay back big dividends by making our economy stronger, safer and more resilient, and by reducing profound inequities—including racial and gender inequities.

Towards the Canada workers deserve

This Labour Day, let’s demand that Canada’s political leaders seize this historic opportunity to build an economy that can weather the next storm and bring with it social and economic justice.

The original version of this article was first posted on the PSAC website.