Whether it’s a rally, picnic or BBQ, every year workers come together to celebrate Labour Day and the historic gains workers have achieved, often through job action and hard-fought victories.
This year, there is much to celebrate and even more to reflect upon.
This past spring, PSAC members – in unprecedented numbers – walked picket lines across the country, fighting for better working conditions, wage increases, and important gains for all workers. Ultimately, our strike action lead to new agreements for over 150,000 members that will help close the gap between wages and inflation and set the bar for all workers in Canada.
It’s no secret that these agreements came during period of record-high inflation and soaring corporate profits. Workers everywhere, not just PSAC members, have shouldered the burden of inflation while corporate executives have continued to rake in exorbitant dividends.
But working people are fighting back, saying enough is enough. Unions are coming together to show that we deserve better. The PSAC strike was one of many labour actions we have seen this summer and that we will likely continue to see as the labour community fights to ensure that no one is left behind. It is working people that are leading the changes we need for a better tomorrow.
The economy has not been the only fight for PSAC members. This summer drier conditions caused by climate change have increased the number and severity of wildfires in Canada, worsening air quality and threatening communities throughout the country. The Northwest Territories and BC have been most significantly impacted with many residents still on evacuation orders and alerts at this time.
It bears noting that many of PSAC North members have been on the front lines of these wildfires supporting relief efforts, from firefighters to healthcare workers, emergency response teams and many more. Many of these workers have now been evacuated out of the North to BC and other provinces. I can’t help but extend my appreciation and solidarity to these workers – and, of course, to all frontline workers – during this extremely challenging and emotional time. It’s clear that, once again, our communities rely on the strength and resiliency of working people to get us through times of crisis.
I recognize that many workers and their families will not be in their own communities this Labour Day and will be looking for a sense of normalcy as they await what lies ahead when they return home.
During this tumultuous time, I invite members and their families who may be away from home at this time, to join us at Labour Day celebrations in the Region. Labour Councils will be sponsoring Labour Day celebrations in communities throughout BC and PSAC BC Area Councils will be hosting tables and booths at many of them. All members and their families are encouraged to drop by, say hello, and celebrate not just our victories, but our resilience and solidarity as well.
Jamey Mills, PSAC BC Regional Executive Vice-President