When we celebrate Labour Day, it should be more than another Statutory Holiday or signal the end of summer. It should be a celebration—a moment to lift up, with pride, our skill, our craftsmanship, and our labour that contributes to the success of our team, our communities, and our families.

This is also a day to celebrate the history of the labour movement. The gains made that improve the lives of unionized and non-unionized working people alike. Historically, we’ve talked about the end to child labour, the introduction of the 8 hr workday, health benefits, workplace safety and compensation benefits, the right to free and fair collective bargaining, and the right to strike in support of collective bargaining. The list is long and continues to this day, but it’s important to remember that these labour laws and rights are unique to Canada and are not universal around the globe.

Beyond these gains, labour has worked with allies and partners to build a more inclusive workplace: non-discrimination rules/laws for race, gender, creed, religion, and sexual identity. We have helped society evolve to embrace that which is different and unique about each one of us.

We are thankful for these and all the good things in life. We recognize that they are a part of our common heritage and come to us through the efforts of our brothers and sisters the world over. What we desire for ourselves, we wish for all. To this end, may we take our share in the world’s work and the world’s struggles. 
— J. S. Woodsworth

Labour Day is the one day set aside to celebrate and lift up working people. One day to find common cause with all working people the world over. One day to celebrate the profoundly simple act of work.

Happy Labour Day, friends.

In solidarity,

Barbara Cape
President
SEIU-West

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