Canada’s unions are marking May Day by standing in solidarity with workers around the world, and reminding all workers of the importance of building solidarity through worker engagement and organizing. When we organize collectively, we can ensure life is fairer for everyone.
Today we also celebrate workers, the people who built this country and power our communities. From the shop floors and rugged landscapes, to the glass towers and transit systems, workers are the Canadian economy. We keep Canada moving, powered and producing.
“Today is an opportunity to take stock, and acknowledge the impact unionized workers have had on this country. Roughly 30 percent of workers in Canada are currently unionized. And yet, if you look at all the gains won by unions, it’s undeniable that we are helping to improve the lives of all workers, union and non-union. Now imagine if 50 percent of workers were unionized. Or more. The far-reaching impact and positive influence of unions is undeniable,” said Bea Bruske, President of the Canadian Labour Congress.
The last two years were a challenge for working people. They exposed great levels of precarity for many workers, and redefined what an essential worker is. They taught us all that we must do better.
The good news is that working together for the good of all workers is where Canada’s unions shine brightest.
Following the last global pandemic, through the Great Depression and World War II, workers organized in unions to build a better future. In the resulting decades, Canada’s middle class was created. Through collective organizing, workers rebuilt a fairer economy and paved a pathway to prosperity for millions of families.
With the challenges facing workers from the current pandemic, the solution to a better future remains the same as it was a hundred years ago; workers must organize.
“Over the course of the pandemic, workers have developed a renewed appreciation for union representation. Workers have seen firsthand how employers will prioritize profit over people, and how governments can’t always be trusted to have workers’ best interests at heart. Unionization allows workers to collectively bargain better wages, better working conditions and benefits like pensions and sick leave. Unions also help implement important health and safety protections, something workers have a newfound appreciation for two years into a global pandemic,” said Bruske.
Through collective organizing into unions, workers can build a better future for themselves. And through collective organizing, we can ensure life is fairer for everyone. We can bring down the costs families face with pharmacare, affordable housing and dental coverage. We can ensure care is there and accessible for our loved ones when they need it. We can tackle the climate crisis head-on, while creating good, sustainable jobs in communities across Canada.
When workers unite, we know that the future will be bright. So on this May Day, we call on all workers to celebrate the best way possible and organize.