Labour Day is an annual holiday, established to recognize the contribution workers have made to society. It has its origins in the eight-hour day movement, which advocated eight hours for work, eight hours for recreation, and eight hours for rest.
The holiday in Canada traces its roots to 1872, when a protest was held in support of the striking Toronto Typographical Union. The Toronto Trades Assembly (TTA) had called its 27 unions to demonstrate in support of the Typographical Union. George Brown, Canadian politician and editor of the Toronto Globe hit back at his striking employees, pressing police to charge the Typographical Union with "conspiracy."
The laws criminalizing union activity had already been abolished in Great Britain, however, they were still on the books in Canada. Police arrested 24 leaders of the Typographical Union.
On September 3, seven unions marched in Ottawa, to protest the arrests, prompting a promise by Canadian Prime Minister Sir John A. MacDonald to repeal the anti-union laws.
Parliament passed the Trade Union Act on June 14, 1873.
146 years later, most people have come to see Labour Day as a day that marks the end of summer, however, the day truly exists in order to commemorate the achievements of the labour movement, which are the achievements of the working class. These include: the right to fair wages, safe working conditions, compensation for injury, and equitable labour relations.
This Labour Day, on behalf of your entire CUPE 4070 Local, we wish you a great day off, or a safe and productive day at work. The battle for fairness and equality continues, however, this time, we are Stronger Together.
Your CUPE 4070 Communications Committee