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Friday, November 27, 2015

This weekend, countless Canadians and Americans will be tempted by the frenzy of #BlackFriday and #CyberMonday sales in stores and online. Seeing how successful retailers had become over the American Thanksgiving weekend, 92Y, a cultural centre in New York City, wondered if there was a way to harness the same social media power to support communities rather than corporations. And so, four years ago, #GivingTuesday was born.

Observed on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving, Giving Tuesday has become an international movement that supports giving to make real change in our communities. Individuals, organizations (including labour unions), and businesses are encouraged to donate time, resources, and talents to address local challenges.

This year, Giving Tuesday falls on December 1, and more than 3,500 Canadian organizations are participating. Among them are the Canadian Labour Congress and many individual union affiliates, labour councils, and provincial Federations of Labour, calling their campaign #LabourGives.

“Unions and their members give back to their communities in many ways. LabourGives is a natural extension of that work–a celebration of solidarity in support of Giving Tuesday,” said CLC Secretary-Treasurer Barbara Byers.

“Whether it’s making a donation, volunteering time, helping a neighbour or spreading the word, LabourGives is for everyone in the labour movement who wants to give something back to their communities,” Byers added.

The key priority for LabourGives this year is supporting and welcoming Syrian refugees arriving in Canada. In order to make sure refugees from the worst humanitarian crisis in the world today are able to build a new life in Canada, there is need for funds, as well as donations of basic necessities like clothing, household items, and children’s toys.

“We’re urging those who want to participate in LabourGives to contact their unions to find the best ways to support refugees arriving in their communities,” said Byers.

The CLC itself will be making a $3,000 donation to the United Way/Centraide Ottawa, which is working with local government and community organizations to raise funds for Syrian refugees and direct resources to where they are most needed.