Labour Day was Canada’s second official holiday when it was declared 118 years ago and, at the time, Canadian workers had unimaginably long work weeks and none of the benefits and improvements to the conditions of work we have achieved when celebrating Labour Day on September 3, 2012. In the lead up to Labour Day, CUPE is highlighting the work of unions.
“Unions pioneered through action, advocacy, and protest many of the improvements to workplace rights workers rely on today for protection and fairness,” says Tom Graham, President of the Canadian Union of Public Employees Saskatchewan. “Overtime pay, maternity leave, minimum wage, health benefits, access to decent pensions and health and safety laws are largely the result of unions. Saskatchewan people can count on unions and our members to continue our work advocating for a better standard of living for everyone.”
Graham points to a recent report released by the Canadian Labour Congress which concludes Saskatchewan’s union members contributed over $26.1 million each and every week to the provincial economy supporting local businesses and community services last year. In Regina, the contribution of union members in 2011 was an extra $7.3 million each week to the local economy. In Saskatoon, union members contributed an extra $8.5 million each week in 2011.
“Union membership is proven to benefit the economy of Saskatchewan by raising the purchasing power of the middle class translating into well over a billion dollars last year in support for local businesses, community services and bolstering the tax base for our province’s municipalities,” says Graham. “This Labour Day, let’s recognize the work of unions and their members in our economy and the proud history of unions in leading the way for better work and working conditions.”
Find a labour day event near you.