Labour Day 2016
Fairness, Equality and Economies that Work for Workers
Workers in Canada have been celebrating Labour Day for more than 120 years.
We know that unions make positive change when we unite as one for a common cause. We also know that we have to be political! Unions are an instrument to lobby for reform for all workers, and direct political action is a necessary part of the work we do in the labour movement.
Workers’ gains are made through our political action and struggles. When unions stand up for equality and fairness, everyone benefits.
We have gained much from our struggles and political action. Not just the 40 hour work week, but also decent wages and benefits, working conditions, pensions, paid vacation, health and safety laws, maternity and parental leave.
Programs and laws like Employment Insurance, Medicare, CPP, Employment Standards, minimum wage laws, employment and pay equity, collective bargaining rights, same sex rights, and human rights laws were won when workers, through their unions, spoke out for those who have no voice.
This year, on Monday, September 5th, workers across NL will be enjoying time with family and friends, and whether it’s at the cabin, in the back yard, or at the various Labour Day events held across the province, it’s important to take time to reflect on how much our work has made a difference for everyone.
This year, we have seen big victories, and faced very serious challenges, and we have stayed solid on our commitment to doing whatever we can to ensure that the world we pass on to our children and their children is cleaner, safer, more equal and fair.
After nearly a decade of pushing for retirement security, Canada’s premiers finally agreed that it was time to expand the Canada Pension Plan. Later this year, the federal government will enact legislation for the first increase in CPP in 50 years. Proof positive that political action works!
At the federal level, we have fought successfully for increases in the GIS for seniors, OAS at 65, the repeal of anti-union Bills, a ban on asbestos, and an inquiry on missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. We will continue to fight for an improved and enhanced public health care system, and a universal public child care program. Our work is on-going. We must remain constantly vigilant – that is the nature of our struggle. But for the first time in a long time, we have proven that labour is indeed part of the solution – and not the problem.
Provincially, we will continue to work with our coalition partners to engage citizens, government and the media in a discussion about what our economy can look like – an economy that is based on fairness and equality; jobs for everyone, a sustained environment, strong viable communities and a strong public sector with quality public services that are there for all Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, no matter what!
We have already made a huge difference – and we will continue to push back on austerity budgets because we know that there are other, sound options that work.
Yes, we have plenty to celebrate. So on this Labour Day, make sure you take the well-earned time to pat yourselves on the back for a job well done, and take pride in your power, passion and commitment.
Let’s recommit to continuing our support and solidarity with unions, like-minded organizations, and others who believe that a more equal, just and fairer world is indeed possible!
This fall, the NLFL will celebrate its 80th Anniversary – 80 years of strong social unionism – 80 years of making a difference for working people in our province. We can stand proud knowing that we are part of this wonderful movement.
I am so proud and honoured to be your President! I want to thank you so much for your unwavering strength and support, and I look forward to our upcoming work together.
Have a safe and joyous Labour Day!
President, NL Federation of Labour