For “most” people, Labour Day is a public holiday, which affords us some downtime to rest and to see our friends/loved ones. And, this is great. However, in addition to the former, it might also benefit us to think of Labour Day as a time to pause and to remember the reason for, and or history of, Labour Day. To this end, listed below is a brief history of Labour in Canada (Source: Canadian Labour of Congress ).
A HISTORY OF LABOUR IN CANADA
- Canada’s labour movement has a long history of improving workers’ everyday lives. We fought for and won many of the rights enjoyed by all workers today – minimum wages, overtime pay, workplace safety standards, maternity and parental leave, vacation pay, and protection from discrimination and harassment.
- Today unions work hard every day to protect the rights we’ve won, and to win new rights for all workers. We are social unions, focused not just on the gains we can make in bargaining, but the gains we can make for society as a whole, like fighting to end child labour, or to win workers compensation, public pensions and social programs that help people keep working, like health care and child care.
- Some highlights, of important moments and achievements:
- 1872: The fight for a shorter work-week
- 1919: The Winnipeg general strike
- The birth of Unemployment Insurance
- 1945: Windsor’s Ford strike
- The Rand decision – Everyone who benefits should pay
- 1956: Founding of the Canadian Labour Congress
- 1965: Public service workers win bargaining rights
- The right to safety at work
- Maternity & parental benefits
- Article: Quick Facts About Vulnerable Workers and Precarious Work
- Article: It’s More Than Poverty: Employment Precarity and Household Well-being
- Video: Voice Matters: Bill Fletcher on Labor Unions
- Video: Bill Moyers: Philip Levine on America’s Workers