As much as ever!
Nearly every right you have as a worker is thanks to unions
Workers organized to fight for their rights. Whether it was to end child labour or win a living wage, to ensure workplace safety, or to limit hours of work, unions sought to make people’s work lives better.
As a result of the efforts of unions, legislation exists today that protects Canadian workers and provides improved working conditions. Unfortunately, there are gaps in legislation, and more work needs to be done to ensure workers are treated with fairness and respect.
But unions were never just worried about the workplace
While defending workers on the job is very important to unions, the Canadian labour movement has always felt a responsibility to engage in social unionism, or the broader issues of the day.
For this reason, unions have been at the forefront of many important struggles for the environment, human rights, equality, democracy, peace, and most recently, income inequality. We have enjoyed many victories.
A changing world means that unions are now as important as ever
But unions cannot simply rest on their past successes. As the economy and jobs change, unions must rise to address the challenges facing younger, more diverse workers and society.
The issues before us are more complex and pressing than ever. Responding to climate change, the immigration and refugee crisis, and the global economy requires people to get involved. Strong unions must be a part of the solution.
Unions — still working to make life better for Canadians
Finally, unions know that people need and deserve a wide range of public services and programs. We need to work to push governments to invest in national programs for public child care, prescription drugs, dental care, protection from domestic violence, and retirement security.
The good news is that almost all of these public services are cost effective and will save governments money in the long run. The even better news is that they will help build a stronger and more stable economy for all of us.