On Monday, September 2, 2013 — Local 79 had a great turnout for its march in the 2013 Labour Day parade.
Marchers this year sported new shirts in Local 79 blue, and received some great words of support from local City Councillors. We also got the chance to show our solidarity towards other workers, especially for the members of the newest and largest private sector union in Canada: Unifor.
See our photos below and read Local 79 President Tim Maguire’s 2013 Labour Day message.
Local 79 President’s 2013 Labour Day message
Dear Sisters and Brothers,
Labour Day is a significant day that provides an opportunity to reflect on our experiences as workers and union members. I invite all Local 79 members to participate in this year’s Labour Day celebration, and join your sisters and brothers in the 2013 parade. Be a part of a great historic tradition!
Every year, on the first Monday in September, workers across Canada gather and celebrate Labour Day. This is an important day for all of us that provides an opportunity to reflect on our experiences as workers and union members.
The origins of Labour Day in Canada can be traced back to December 1872 when a parade was staged in support of the Toronto Typographical Union’s strike for a 58-hour workweek. Police arrested 24 leaders of the Typographical Union, applying laws that, at that time, criminalized union activity. Labour Day is a good time to reflect on the heavy price paid by our sisters and brothers who preceded us in the struggle for workers’ rights for almost a century and a half.
CUPE Local 79 has represented City of Toronto, Bridgepoint Hospital, and TCHC workers for more than 70 years to ensure fair wages and benefits, and safe working environments. Now, more than ever, rising income inequality has made Unions even more relevant.
As unionized workers, we should congratulate each other this Labour Day, not only for the importance of the work we do, but also for the steadfast union solidarity that we demonstrate and the progress made by organized labour that benefits all workers.
Local 79 members provide valued public services to the people of Toronto – making sure our drinking water is safe and that our restaurants are clean, taking care of seniors and children, ensuring that buildings are built properly and that they are safe, providing social services for those who need them, keeping new mothers and their babies healthy, and nurturing communities through education and recreation programs. These are just a few of the valued and needed services we provide to the citizens of Toronto.
We take pride in the work that we do. Whenever I meet with Local 79 members, I am always impressed with the satisfaction that they take from their work, and with their dedication to providing the best service possible. As workers, we understand the importance of the public services that we provide, and we are justly proud of our accomplishments.
This year, Labour Day Weekend also celebrates the launch of a new Union – Unifor (CAW/CEP merger). Please join in their festivities at Nathan Phillips Square (100 Queen Street West) on Sunday, September 1st from 6:30 p.m. until 11:00 p.m. as Unifor hosts a free public concert with fantastic and diverse musical acts from all across Canada.
As we get ready to enjoy the Labour Day weekend with a picnic perhaps or a march, let’s not forget our Union sisters and brothers across the world dealing with many difficult struggles including incarceration.
For thoughtful reflections and simple supportive online actions, please read the online publication for trade unionists, LabourStart, at www.labourstart.org