UFCW Canada

UFCW Canada

August 30, 2007 11:43 ET

When everyday is Labour Day

Commentary by Wayne Hanley, the National President of UFCW CANDA (United Food and Commercial Workers Canada)

Attention: Assignment Editor, Business/Financial Editor, City Editor, News Editor, Government/Political Affairs Editor TORONTO– ATTN: OP-ED EDITORS FOR LABOUR DAY--(Marketwire - Aug. 30, 2007) -

There's an especially good reason to celebrate Labour Day this year in the wake of a recent decision by Canada's Supreme Court.

In June the highest court in the land ruled that under the Charter all Canadian workers have the freedom and right to associate for the purposes of collective bargaining, "that the right to bargain collectively as part of their freedom to associate reaffirms the values of dignity, personal autonomy, equality and democracy that are inherent in the Charter."

Essentially the landmark decision upheld that all workers in Canada, migrant and temporary workers included, are constitutionally guaranteed the right to create a union in their workplace if that's what they want to do.

It's good news but rights aren't worth much if you don't exercise them. That not only means the right to unionize but also the right to participate in a democracy. When it comes to improving things at work both rights go hand in hand.

Gaining a real voice your workplace means having a union. Having a voice in what goes on in this country means actively working to elect candidates and parties that support what's important to working families.

In 1894 when Labour Day was first enshrined as a Canadian national holiday people understood how precious and how powerful these rights could be if they got together and used them.

They also understood that rights can be a responsibility.

What followed was the growth of the trade union movement and a social democratic system that responded to the needs of everyday Canadians.

That's not just ancient history. It's also tomorrow if we want it to be.

We have the right. We have the tools. We have the opportunity to keep the Labour Day mandate going everyday that follows.


Wayne Hanley is the National President of UFCW Canada, one of the country's largest private sector unions with over 240,000 members across Canada.


Contact Information

  • Michael Forman, National Media Coordinator, UFCW CANADA
    Primary Phone: 416-675-1104 ext. 249
    Secondary Phone: 416-579-8330