Celebrate May Day and the power of collective action

May Day, also known as International Workers' Day, is a symbolic reminder of the hard-fought battles and ongoing struggles of working people. This day commemorates historic struggles for labour rights and fair working conditions. It serves as a rallying cry for solidarity.

Last year was marked by unprecedented labour unrest in Canada, fueled by a potent combination of factors. The pandemic laid bare existing inequalities. While the wealthiest Canadians made record profits, working people and their families struggled.

Workers – who bore the brunt of the pandemic's impacts – took to the picket lines to demand better. Over half a million unionized workers across Canada fought back, taking part in over 700 work stoppages in 2023, leading to over 6.5 million person-days not worked, the highest in over a decade.

There were many challenges, but workers scored victories from coast to coast to coast. PSAC helped lead the way during our historic national strike for more than 155,000 workers. This was followed by 420,000 public sector workers in Quebec’s Front Commun who launched the largest provincial strike in Canadian history.

Grocery store workers in Ontario and liquor store workers in Manitoba also won fair wage increases, while PSAC members at Iqaluit Housing Authority, the Auditor General’s Office, and Canadian Forces Morale and Welfare Services took strike action to secure stronger collective agreements and better working conditions. British Columbia’s port workers and Windsor Salt workers fought and won better wages and job security.

The list is long and will only get longer as more workers pressure employers for stronger workplace protections and fair wages. These victories mean gains for everyone – raising the bar for all workers, not just union members.

Our cities, towns and communities also benefit, because when workers earn better wages, they spend more in their communities, supporting local businesses and building a strong middle class.

Working people share the same goals and face many of the same challenges. When we come together to demand better we have a lot of collective power.

As we celebrate the achievements of the labour movement, let’s also commit to supporting all workers everywhere.  Whether it's showing our solidarity by joining a picket line or advocating for programs that benefit all Canadians – from universal child care to pharmacare and anti-scab legislation – we all have a role to play to make Canada a better, safer place to live and work.

Remember: when union members work together, we win together.


May 1, 2024