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Labour Day 2019: a celebration and a call to fight back

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Workers at the Ritzy Cinema, Brixton striking in 2014. Image: M.o.B 68/Wikimedia Commons

This Labour Day, unions across Canada are facing new attacks as the majority of provinces now have conservative governments which are rolling back social services and workers' rights. Unions also used Labour Day to reaffirm their commitment to make sure that the Conservatives do not win the upcoming federal election. This Labour Day, rabble.ca is documenting some of the fights from coast to coast to coast. Let's not be complacent and let's organize to win for workers.

This blog by Caroline Spindler summarizes the most important developments anticipated and already enacted in Canadian employment law in 2019, both at the provincial and federal levels, for good and for bad. Legislative wins often come from campaigns, so here are some of the campaigns unions are supporting by region. Please send me any I missed.

Atlantic Canada

Northern Canada

  • Yukon living wage campaign.
  • Pay attention to the Artic Road project cutting across the North.
  • The Nunavut minister of community and government services is facing mounting pressure over the alarming number of contractors the department has been hiring and the way that casual workers have been dismissed before they can accrue bonuses for continuous service.

Quebec

  • Both FTQ and CSN are supporting a public and universal pharmacare program.
  • Sign FTQ's petitions for the $15 minimum wage campaign and to demand Tim Hortons franchisers stop attacking the rights of workers.
  • FTQ is also a member of the coalition to regulate tax havens.
  • CSN is also working on a campaign to fight for early childhood educators, 4 ans, c'pas grand.
  • All the federations are also developing ways to address climate change: Vert la solidarité!
  • Teachers and education staff in Quebec have developed a survey of facilities to address the needs of students to demand immediate resources to improve schools.

Ontario

  • The Power of Many is a campaign of the Ontario Federation of Labour and its allies in communities across Ontario -- working together to protect and win decent work, strong public services, equality and justice, as well as safe and healthy communities for all.
  • At the Toronto Labour Day parade, thousands of union members and supporters signed on to support the #UniteAgainstRacism campaign.

rabble.ca's Ontario Fightback series lists just some of the efforts to fight back against the Ford government's attacks on workers. In the coming week, the Activist Toolkit will be publishing interviews with teachers and health-care workers who are working with their unions to fight back.

Prairies

Alberta

  • The Mackinnon report is the beginning of the attacks on social services that Premier Jason Kenney has been promising. Please support the Alberta Federation of Labour and Alberta labour unions as they fight back against Kenney's government.

British Columbia

2019 was a banner year for workers and their families in B.C. Here are the campaigns the BC Federation of Labour still has listed on their website:

  • Send a message to the minister of labour and the board of the WCB saying "It's time workers who are injured on the job or become ill because of work receive full compensation" using this email tool.
  • Restore fairness and balance to the labour relations board.
  • British Columbia's Fight for $15.
  • Demand a public inquiry into the explosions at the Lakeland and Babine sawmills. 
  • End workplace violence.
  • End raiding.

rabble.ca's labour beat reporter for 2019, Zaid Noorsumar, wrote a piece this week on the new labour reforms for federal workers.

Maya Bhullar is the Activist Toolkit coordinator at rabble.ca. She has over 15 years of professional experience in diverse areas such as migration, labour, urban planning and community mobilization.

Image: M.o.B 68/Wikimedia Commons

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