You are a part of… (a bit of context)
You’re a part of labour history. When printers in Toronto’s Typographical union went on strike for a nine hour workday in 1972, unions were illegal, but ten thousand people showed up to support them. From their struggle, we have a shorter work week, Labor Day and legal unions. Our struggle helps everyone.
You’re a part of labour history. During the depression, unemployed workers were sent to remote government work camps. Seeking a living wage, workers in Vancouver went on strike and traveled to Ottawa on foot and by rail. The “On to Ottawa Trek” was stopped by the RCMP, but it captured the imagination of Canadians and led to an unemployment insurance system. Our struggle helps everyone.
You’re a part of labour history. In 1945, 14,000 autoworkers at Ford in Windsor went on strike when Ford tried to roll back union gains made since the depression. Among workers demands, a paid vacation. At one point, to avoid violence, strikers parked their cars around the plant to create a blockade. Our struggle helps everyone.
You’re a part of labour history. Before public service workers won decent benefits, pay and pension, they had to win these gains. In 1965, the Postal Workers fought for the right to bargain collectively. They staged an illegal, wildcat strike. They won the right for the entire public service to organize and bargain. Our struggle helps everyone.
You’re a part of labour history. Walking a picket line has changed the world, usually incrementally, sometimes suddenly. The beginning of the end of Soviet communism started when Polish workers went on a spontaneous strike in 1980 protesting a rise in food prices. In spite of repression, Solidarity kept fighting for their rights. Within a decade, the Berlin Wall came down. The ripples of our struggle go far.
You’re a part of labour history. Before 1971, there was no maternity leave. Unions fought for this. Then, limited 15 weeks of paid maternity leave was introduced at 66% of salary. Unions fought for better conditions—for example, the right to return to the job you left, paternity leave and leave for parents who adopt children. Our struggle helps everyone.