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Labour Day: prioritizing workers in polarizing times


Each year, on the first Monday of September, we celebrate the achievements of workers and the powerful movement we have built together, as we commemorate Labour Day.

Throughout history, from the eight-hour work day to employment insurance and parental leave, it has been workers who have fought for, and achieved Canada’s greatest social policies, and all in the name of solidarity, equity, and progress.

In these COVID times, we have our work cut out for us in the fight to build a better Ontario. Fortunately, workers know how to achieve it.

If there’s one thing the pandemic has proven, it’s just how valuable front-line workers are; their heroic efforts have kept us healthy, safe, fed and functioning during these uncertain times. It’s no surprise that there has been an outpouring of appreciation for them, with growing public support for our public services and the workers who provide them.

Ontarians understand that we must invest, in order to rebuild capacity; that we must focus on working people’s priorities, and listen to them. After all, front-line workers have put their own health on the line to keep our province running, and without them, our economy and society would crumble. Front-line workers, including the thousands represented by OPSEU/SEFPO, have learned a lot from their first-hand experience during this crisis. They know where problems exist, and how to fix them.

And workers know what it will take to build a better, stronger province and country – they’ve always known, and often, they’ve succeeded too; that’s what Labour Day is all about.

Today, we need those in power to listen up, once again – because our country, and our economy, work best when workers are protected and respected. With a federal election at our doorstep, and a provincial election on the horizon, this should be top priority for politicians and voters alike.

Like every great achievement in the labour movement’s history, nothing is given. We must fight hard for our seat at the table and we must work hard to build a better, safer province, and country, for all. This Labour Day, let’s commit to electing folks who can help us get the job done.

In Solidarity,

Warren (Smokey) Thomas

Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida
OPSEU/SEFPO First Vice-President/Treasurer