|October 7, 2018 - World Day for Decent Work|
Toronto – October 4, 2018 – On October 7, The World Day for Decent Work, we renew the call that decent wages, a safe workplace, and putting workers first must be central to a just and growing economy.
Decent work includes a fair income with security and social protection, respect for human rights, equality of opportunity and treatment, and a collective voice in ensuring fairness as fundamental to the relationship between workers and employers.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, and ever since, unions and the right to collective bargaining have been the best tools for lifting families out of poverty, and to ensuring fairness, decent wages and workplace equality.
This has not come without a struggle, and the struggle continues. Globalization, corporate greed, and business lobbyists and their right-wing political friends continue to push to weaken labour laws in order to be so-called “competitive”. But what they actually mean by “competitive” is to increase corporate profits while driving down the income of hardworking families.
As a strong union family, we must push back against the anti-worker misinformation that has been used to put workers and their unions down. In our workplaces, neighbourhoods and in legislatures across the country, we must be a powerful voice that tells the real story of the fairness and value that unions and good union jobs provide to workers, families, and the community. We must call out anti-union legislation for what is: a “Work-for-Less” agenda which has cut workers’ pay and fattened business profits wherever it’s been applied.
Unions and the union movement in Canada have been fundamental to bringing decent jobs, safe workplaces, and legislative action on minimum wages, overtime pay, workplace safety standards, maternity and parental leave, vacation pay, and protection from discrimination and harassment. We must build on these successes and continue to advance to make sure that fair and decent work is not defined by corporations, but by workers and the labour movement.
Paul R. Meinema