The cherished love between a mother and child is unique – it is an emotional tie that is never cut.
It’s pure coincidence, of course, that Mother’s Day falls so soon after May Day, the international celebration of labour. But many of us in the labour movement cut our activist teeth at our mother’s knee.
Women have been instrumental in establishing and expanding Canada’s labour movement. It was the affectionately named “Hello Girls,” Winnipeg’s telephone operators, who first walked off the job during the general strike of 1919. Women in factories and offices, often victims of appalling working conditions and shockingly low wages, joined unions or created them, and passed on their thirst for justice and equality to their children and grandchildren.
Many of us saw firsthand how our mothers who often held down three jobs: keeping house, raising a family and working outside the home – but who typically earned far less than our fathers. Their lives of sacrifice brought many to desire a better life for women generally, eventually giving rise to landmark legislation like Ontario’s Pay Equity Act in 1988.
This Sunday, we will once again pay tribute to our mothers – to the mothers who gave us birth, to the mother-figures in our lives, and to the beloved memory of mothers who have passed away. We wish all members, whether they’re celebrating their mothers or celebrating being a mother, a truly joyful Mother’s Day.
Warren (Smokey) Thomas, President of OPSEU
Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida, OPSEU First Vice-President/Treasurer