Labour Day is all about family & working for a better future for all. For thousands in downtown Toronto, it’s about the march in the annual Labour Day parade.
Labour Day is an occasion to celebrate workers’ rights and celebrate the strength and solidarity of workers.
The origins of Labour Day can be traced back to April 15, 1872, when the Toronto Trades Assembly organized Canada’s first significant demonstration for worker’s rights. The aim of the demonstration was to release the 24 leaders of the Toronto Typographical Union who were imprisoned for striking to campaign for a nine-hour working day. At this time, trade unions were still illegal and striking was seen as a criminal conspiracy to disrupt trade. In spite of this, the Toronto Trades Assembly was already a significant organization and encouraged workers to form trade unions, mediated in disputes between employers and employees and signaled the mistreatment of workers.
Canadian trade unions are proud that this holiday was inspired by their efforts to improve workers’ rights.
Labour Day is one of Ontario’s nine public holidays. This means many employees will receive the day off with holiday pay. It also means that many businesses and city offices will be closed.
But this Labour Day felt different to me. It was a day of political action. It was a day of calling for action on the Syrian Refugee crisis; calling for action on minimum wage and the expansion of CPP; calling for an end to precarious work and the deepening of income inequality; and calling for a return to an economy that serves more than the 1%. It was a call for CHANGE! No…a DEMAND FOR CHANGE!
There is no question that change is in the air, and BTS is no different. I can feel it! Change is coming!
And yet with all this, retail stores wanted to remain open on OUR Labour Day, requiring employees to work. They claim it is for our convenience, but in reality, we know it is for their profit.
Bottom line: if I forget the hot dog buns on Labour Day, shame on me 😉
President, Local 1996-O
416 Health and Safety Co-Chair
Unifor Chairperson Workers with Disabilities
LRC Committee and JSDC Committee
Ont. Bargaining Rep
Telecommunications Industry Council Representative