Labour Day Mon Sep 4 '17

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Labour Day Mon Sep 4 '17

Prettying damning.  Unrestrained capitalism bless us.  Everyone.

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

Phil Ochs wrote this, but never formally recorded it.  Here's the Pat Humphries version:

Michael Moriarity Michael Moriarity's picture

Richard Wolff sends along his Labour Day greetings.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Canada’s unions are marking this year’s Labour Day with the launch of a campaign calling for universal prescription drug coverage for all Canadians.

“Today, 3.5 million Canadians can’t afford to fill their prescriptions,” said CLC President Hassan Yussuff. “Nobody should have to choose between paying for groceries or the medication they need,” he added.

Currently one in five people pay out of pocket for their medication, either because they don’t have a prescription drug plan, or because they have a plan that doesn’t cover the full cost of the medications they need.

“Canada’s unions are proud that we’ve won health insurance coverage for many of our members. But we believe anyone with a health card should have coverage for the medication they need,” said Yussuff.


Harry Bains spoke at a BC Labour Day function today and reassured folks that the $15 min wage promise is not only on the table, but could happen much sooner than 2021. Woo! Hoo!


Major Labour Day celebration moves from Burnaby to Surrey this year


Unless you are a janitor!

Labour Day 2017 is finally an opportunity for working people to celebrate


Premier John Horgan says Labour Day offers opportunity to reflect on progress made by working people


Labour Day message, unions are good


Good for communities 

While I was there the CLC’s researchers found that unionized workers earned more per hour than non-unionized workers, if only by a modest amount, and that was true in every province and territory. Being in a union was especially important for women and younger workers, who earned more than workers in non-unionized workplaces. It didn’t end there. Many of the benefits first achieved by unions for their members now apply to many other workers as well, including workplace safety standards, parental leaves, vacation pay and protection from discrimination and harassment.

But it’s not all about the individual workers. Unions are good for communities too because members spend their pay cheques at home. Cities and towns with more union members support a richer mix of businesses and services – everything from dentists to daycare. These services benefit everyone in the community.

Societal impact

Unions have a broader societal impact as well. They and their members were long-time advocates for Medicare, which was achieved in the 1960s. They were instrumental in pushing for the Canada Pension Plan and in recent improvements to it, which benefits every retired Canadian – whether or not they ever belonged to a union. For Labour Day in 2017 unions are launching a campaign calling for universal prescription drug coverage for all Canadians. Pharmaceuticals are the fastest growing cost component in health care, and the CLC says that 3.5 million Canadians can’t afford to fill their prescriptions.

All too often the image of unionized men and women is framed by a small, but influential group of corporate lobbyists. They claim that unions are greedy on behalf of their members and that they are always on strike. In fact, we are not talking about CEO-type salaries here but simply about living wages that will support families and communities. And strikes are rare. I was never once on strike in the 45 year span during which I belonged to one union or another – although I have walked the picket lines with people who felt that they had no alternative but to withdraw their labour.

Popes for unions 

It was more than 100 years ago that Pope Leo XIII issued a teaching document called an encyclical supporting the right of workers to create unions to protect their interests. The pope was shocked by the hardships and abuses spawned by the industrial revolution. Among the abuses today are those accompanying globalization, which has fostered an assault on wages, benefits and working conditions, along with environmental degradation  on a global scale.

The Atlantic, a U.S.-based magazine, recently published an article about the value of unions. The magazine was reacting to the populist anger which Donald Trump was able to marshal among disgruntled workers. Many of them once belonged to unions, but now only a small percentage do.  Those workers are now isolated and atomized and thus more susceptible to demagogic manipulation. “When unions work as they should, they serve important social functions,” says the article in The Atlantic. “[Unions] can smooth the jagged edges of globalization by giving workers bargaining power . . . Perhaps most important, they offer workers a way to be heard.”

I no longer belong to a union but I am proud to have done so.  Canada’s workers can walk with their heads up on Labour Day.