Print this page
Thursday, 30 August 2012 10:53

Labourous strain put on workers: enjoy Sept. 3

Written by  Ryan Dahlman
Rate this item
(0 votes)

The Labour Day weekend marks the unofficial end to summer.  It’s generally the last day where people have an opportunity to enjoy a mandated three-day weekend with their children before they go to school and where there’s (cross our fingers) warm weather. Perhaps it’s a time to catch up on yard work or sleep.

Little did the Toronto Printers Union know that when they were battling with their publishers for more time off in 1872 that they would help generations of Canadians take a day to relax.
They went on to strike and garnered support of other workers and unions. According to, 2,000 workers started a march in Toronto and by the time they had reached Queen’s Park they quintupled in size which at that time was 1/10th of Toronto’s total population.
According to “The parade that was held in support of the strikers carried over into an annual celebration of worker’s rights and was adopted in cities throughout Canada. The parades demonstrated solidarity, with different unions identified by the colourful banners they carried. In 1894, under mounting pressure from the working class, Prime Minister Sir John Thompson declared Labour Day a national holiday.”
The hard-working souls had fought the corporate elite and earned a victory.
Unfortunately, while they earned a victory, many workers today have not. Many workers such as farm workers in Alberta have suffered without adequate protection if they get injured. Working conditions in some agricultural-based businesses aren’t up to proper standards. There are some places in Alberta and Saskatchewan where employers take advantage of workers. Before business owners get too angry about this statement, it’s a simple fact in business it’s all about the bottom line.
Unions complain the Sask. government isn’t playing fair in labour negotiations and are pushing through legislation which will weaken the labour movement (thus supposedly, workers). In Alberta, the government there created the Unsatisfied Employment Standards judgments search — the Government's Human Services new web page which names approximately 1,700 employers who have a combined 3,500 unsatisfied claims for earnings totalling more than $14 million.
As a business owner, it’s tough sledding in today’s marketplace. The economy is not growing nearly as fast as many government economist spin doctors will state.
Cutting costs is a popular way of trying to make that bottom number on the spreadsheet a black/positive one. Unfortunately it means the employees have to take the brunt. Longer hours in fewer days and more difficult tasks because the workload isn’t spread out makes today’s worker more stressed. Sometimes workers don’t have full-time benefits so they have to take other jobs in order to make ends meet which creates stress on not only workers, but hurts the family dynamic as well.
Labour Day is just one day. Yes, we all should celebrate it, but we have to put it into perspective. One day vs. 364 others in a year.
Nevertheless, we all should just stop and remember those who don’t get Labour Day off and have to toil in whatever modern mires in order to provide for themselves and their families. And we just just also stop and thank the Toronto Printers Union of 1872. Without them, many of us fortunate souls wouldn’t be enjoying this Monday away from our jobs.
Here’s to them and here is to you: hope you enjoy your day — you truly deserve it.

Read 5947 times