This September 4, Labour Day events will take place across our province and our country to celebrate all that workers have achieved – and for good reason.
Since the late 1800s, Labour Day has been a labour tradition in New Brunswick: it’s a day of celebration of the power of working people coming together to demand what’s right. Decent wages, solid benefits and retirement with dignity. Social and economic justice and responsible stewardship of our resources and our environment. No benefits that workers enjoy was ever “given” to us—not the weekend, not sick leave, not overtime, not even the 8-hour day—working people united and fought for them.
Good union jobs continue to be the backbone of our working class, and the stable incomes they provide support strong families and vibrant communities. Unfortunately, the good standard of living that many Canadian families enjoy is being threatened by the rise of precarious work and privatization. Too many workers are stuck in precarious jobs that offer low wages, unpredictable hours, no pension, no benefits and no union. Privatization significantly increases the power and influence of financial elites at the expense of the collective power of citizens. This trend creates economic insecurity and strains our public resources.
These two trends must be reversed. We can bring services back in house and we can update legislation to bring back fairness to labour laws. As a progressive force, we must continue to use our voice to address social injustices, inequity, and job discrimination faced by marginalized communities.
This Labour Day we’ll be celebrating all the past achievements of our fellow workers. We will also be recommitting ourselves to keep pushing for further rights to improve the lives of all New Brunswickers – unionized or not. September 4th is therefore a day for organizing and demonstrating the power of working people.
In one year, New Brunswickers will head to the ballot boxes for provincial elections. Mobilizing the movement starts with encouraging friends, neighbours and co-workers to take active roles in the political process, either by running or supporting progressive candidates. Working people united create a positive force that cannot be denied.
On behalf of all 27,000 CUPE members across New Brunswick, Happy Labour Day to all!
President, CUPE New Brunswick