Labour Day is a celebration of workers, unions, and of our movement and a chance to reflect on our incredible achievements. By any measure, 2019 was a banner year for workers and their families in BC.
Thanks in part to our ‘Workers Deserve Better’ campaign, the labour movement was instrumental in securing the first significant updates to the provincial Labour Code and Employment Standards Act, updates that will restore the power of workers after years of assault under past Liberal governments.
Finally, workers will benefit from crackdowns on wage theft (preventing employers from taking employee tips), an end to contract flipping, the removal of barriers to unionization, and an end to child labour.
The worker rights and benefits we enjoy today are the result of real, tangible sacrifices by working people. And we can’t afford to take them for granted. At this very moment, 2600 Steelworkers are on strike on Vancouver Island, as the highly profitable Western Forest Products seeks to eliminate their pensions.
Workers are fighting back. Our affiliate unions voted unanimously to issue a ‘hot edict’ refusing to handle any of the “hot” products emanating from the struck operation, in a show of solidarity with the striking workers.
The work of our movement is not complete. In this moment of fear-based, hateful politics both at home and around the world, we must remember that it is the organizing, advocacy and campaigning that we do in unions that stands in the way of the economic insecurity and a resurgent right-wing.
Whether its challenges like automation, the climate crisis, or precarious work, unions and working people must be driving the solutions. Working together, we can ensure a different world is possible.
Happy Labour Day!