This Labour Day, let’s talk about a better choice for Canadian workers

September 7, 2015

This Labour Day, workers across Canada are celebrating how, with the help of their unions, they’ve been able to improve their day-to-day lives — and those of their neighbours. They will also be talking about how this election, we can make a better choice for Canadian workers.

When unions help working people stand up for fairness, we all benefit — even if you’re not a union member yourself. Researchers at the Canadian Labour Congress have demonstrated this fact by showing the link between vibrant communities and the number of union members who live in them.

Economic data from across Canada shows that decent, middle-class, family-supporting wages translate into vibrant communities. Unions build the middle class:

  • Women are paid more fairly with a union, earning an average of $7.10 more per hour
  • Young workers in a union earn 27% more
  • New Canadians earn an average of 19% more, helping them build their lives and support their families
  • Communities with more union members support a richer mix of businesses and services which benefit everyone

This is how workers and their unions grow the middle class. However, the good jobs that make it possible are increasingly under threat and getting harder to find. Did you know that nearly three quarters of the jobs created over the past six years have been precarious? This means more and more people are working part-time or short-term, or they are self-employed.

Today, there are 2.8 million Canadians who are unemployed or underemployed. Nearly a million Canadians have to juggle multiple jobs just to make ends meet. Younger Canadians struggle with double the national unemployment rate. The result is less security, little or no savings for retirement, and more people worried about their future.

Unions are evolving to meet these challenges

Unions do everything we can to provide tools and resources to people with precarious employment. We help them organize to improve the quality of their work and their everyday lives because we believe everyone in Canada deserves fair wages and reasonable hours of work, workplace safety standards, parental leave, vacation pay, pensions and protection from discrimination and harassment. And unions are doing their best to be there to help them win change when it is needed. And we need change.

Workers and unions can’t do this alone. We need a new government in Ottawa that’s committed to help make things better, not one that deliberately stands in the way.

It is time for change

That’s why this Labour Day, unions will be talking about why the federal election offers a chance to make a better choice for Canadian workers. We know it’s time for a new government that will:

  • Create good jobs
  • Invest in the health care and child care services that today’s families need
  • Help people save enough for retirement so they can live their final years in dignity, and
  • Restore and expand the middle-class that breathes life into vibrant towns and cities where people thrive.

How do we get this change? We get it by voting and by making a better choice when we vote. This election, every voter can make a better choice, one that will help improve the day-to-day lives of all Canadians.

Happy Labour Day!