Tag : What Unions Do

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September 12, 2018
Articles

How a 99-day strike in 1945 changed labour relations in Canada

The 1945 strike by 11,000 workers at a Ford plant in Windsor, Ontario was a turning point in Canadian labour relations. The 99-day labour dispute spread to include another 25 plants as workers walked off the job in solidarity with Ford workers. It resulted in a 3-day, worker-lead blockade of the Ford plant to stop police from moving in to…
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September 3, 2018
Articles

Labour day – a holiday born in Canada

The first Monday in September has been an official holiday in Canada since 1894, and in the United States since 1892. But the origin of Labour Day came 20 years before that, when unions started holding parades and rallies in Toronto and Ottawa to celebrate the successful 1872 Toronto printers’ strike – the original “fight for fairness” that won major…
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August 31, 2018
Media Releases

Canada’s unions step up pharmacare campaign this Labour Day

This Labour Day, Canada’s unions are calling on the federal government to get it right on pharmacare by creating a single-payer, universal prescription drug program for Canada. Labour Day offers Canadians an important opportunity to reflect on the legacy of unions, to take stock of our progress and to commit ourselves to working together for a fairer future. Canada’s unions…
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August 28, 2018

First “gay rights” demonstration on Parliament Hill

On August 28, 1971 demonstrators presented a manifesto entitled “We Demand” that outlined a series of demands for equal rights for gays and lesbians. This was the first public march of its kind on Parliament Hill. Summer is the time for Pride events and marches in Canada. But while these celebrations are now somewhat commonplace in many cities across the…
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August 10, 2018
Articles

Heron bridge collapse: Ontario’s worst workplace disaster

On the afternoon of August 10, 1966, a 160-foot span of a new bridge being built over the Rideau River and Canal gave way, dropping hundreds of tons of half set concrete about 60 feet into the river valley. Nine workers were killed and another 55 injured in the disaster – Ontario’s worst workplace “accident” It’s not listed among the…
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August 5, 2018
Articles

Passage of the unemployment insurance act

On August 5, 1940, the federal government passed the Unemployment Insurance Act, establishing a fundamental pillar of Canada’s social safety net. Years of political pressure from unions, social groups and the CCF (which became the NDP) forced the Liberal government to take action, even though the constitution had to be amended. More than 75 years later, the program has been…
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June 30, 2018
Articles

Canadian postal workers go on strike for maternity leave – and win big!

On June 30, 1981, the Canadian Union of Postal Workers led its members into a strike to win improved maternity leave benefits. The strike lasted 42 days and changed everything. It won 17 weeks of paid maternity leave and set a new standard for parental benefits that all workers would soon access. In 1981 after a 42-day strike, the Canadian…
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May 26, 2018
Articles

Quebec women march for “bread and roses”

The first Bread and Roses March, an initiative of the Fédération des femmes du Québec (FFQ), began on May 26, 1995. Over the course of 10 days, more than 800 Québécoise demonstrators set off from Montréal, Longueuil and Rivière-du-Loup and converged on Québec City with nine demands of the government to combat poverty. In 1994, Françoise David took the helm…
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May 9, 2018

Mourn the dead: fight for the living.

On May 9, 1992, just eight months after opening with federal and provincial government support, an underground methane explosion killed all 26 miners working in the Westray coal mine. An official inquiry into the disaster discovered profound “stupidity and neglect” on the part of the owners, but all attempts to prosecute the company and its officials failed. It took 11…
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April 18, 2018
Articles

Unions become legal in canada (but picketing is outlawed).

On April 18, 1872, the federal government of John A. Macdonald introduced the Trade Unions Act, Canada’s first labour law, which gave workers the legal right to associate in trade unions. It was a direct response to the arrest and criminal prosecution of 24 leaders of the Toronto printers strike by Macdonald’s political opponents – aimed at garnering votes but…
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