Canadian Labour Congress

Canadian Labour Congress

April 29, 2005 09:22 ET

May Day: Workers Are the Strength of Nations

Attention: Assignment Editor, Business/Financial Editor, News Editor, World News Editor, Government/Political Affairs Editor OTTAWA--(CCNMatthews - April 29, 2005) - On May Day 2005, in Canada and around the world, celebrities, artists, musicians, writers, faith organizations, charities and community activists will join workers and their unions in a call to the political leaders of the richest countries to follow through on their commitments to reduce poverty.

To mark the occasion, on behalf of 3 million unionized Canadian working citizens and their families, Ken Georgetti, president of the Canadian Labour Congress, today releases the following statement.

On the first day of May, International Workers' Day, workers and their unions celebrate their unity in the cause of equality and justice and our belief that this year, 2005, the leaders of the G-7 countries can start to reduce poverty and to create decent family-supporting jobs.

Poverty, underemployment and unemployment exist also in Canada - even though, as we are so often reminded, this country has achieved one of the most enviable standard of living on the planet.

In Canada last month, there were 1,192,700 adults who want to work but do not have a job. Two-thirds of them will be denied unemployment insurance, which also explain the scandalous rise of child poverty in the country.

Today, one in four Canadians between the ages of 25 and 64 must make do with temporary work, part-time jobs or precarious self-employment.

Today, one in five Canadians is afraid of losing his or her job.

And one in 10 or more of all full-time workers earns a poverty-level wage.

The struggles of workers and their unions are the same all over the world. What we desire ourselves, we wish for all. An injury to one is an injury to all.

This is why, on this International Workers' Day, the 3 million members of the Canadian Labour Congress and their families reaffirm this simple truth: the true strength of the country rests on the quality of life of its workers.

When working people do well, business does well and we have a better country. Workers are the strength of nations.

That is why across the country Canadian working citizens want respect from those governments that abandoned us in favour of catering to the corporations and the rich. They have priorities that will make us poorer, weaker and divided.

This is why across the country Canadian working citizens want respect from employers, like Wal-Mart, who attack the values we hold dear and that bind us - equality, social justice, respect, recognition of the value of our work and solidarity.

On this International Workers' Day, we must also acknowledge that too many of the failures of our economies fall on the shoulders of women. Canadian working families and their unions support the World Women's March Charter for Humanity and its call for action again poverty and violence against women.

Canadian workers celebrate their unions' achievements in raising the standard of living of our families and improving the quality of life of our communities. We call on all governments to protect and promote our
constitutional rights to belong to unions and to freely negotiate our working conditions.

The Canadian labour movement strives to translate in the political world the successes achieved in the workplace. Democratic governments should focus on the priorities of workers, because the majority of citizens are workers.

Canadian working families and the Canadian Labour Congress re-affirm our commitment to strengthen international labour solidarity and to contribute to the fight against poverty everywhere.

It offends us that half the world population lives on less than two (US) dollars a day and that the richest one percent rakes in more income than the poorest 57%.

It offends us that every year 11 million children die of preventable diseases before reaching their fifth birthday, because, among other things 54 countries are poorer today than they were fifteen years ago.

On International Workers' Day, whether at home or abroad, workers will celebrate their achievements and their determination to fight for better jobs, to affirm their rights and improve the quality of life everywhere.

The Canadian Labour Congress, the national voice of the labour movement, represents 3 million Canadian workers. The CLC brings together Canada's national and international unions along with the provincial and territorial federations of labour and 137 district labour councils. Web site:

Contacts:Jean Wolff, 613-526-7431 and 613-878-6040
Jeff Atkinson, 613-526-7425 and 613-863-1413

Contact Information

  • Jean Wolff, Canadian Labour Congress
    Primary Phone: 613-526-7431
    Secondary Phone: 613-878-6040