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Labour Day: A celebration of gains to be defended

Publish date: Thursday, September 01, 2022 presidentsMessage

Contrary to its name, Labour Day most often brings visions of fun and leisure –a long weekend spent relaxing with barbecues and fireworks before throwing ourselves into the rush of returning to a more scheduled routine of school, work, and colder weather. 

Labour Day is a celebration of the many hard-fought gains made by workers since our country’s inception. With struggles dating back one hundred and fifty years to April 14, 1872, when ten thousand workers marched at Queen’s Park in a show of solidarity to establish a nine-hour workday. They did this despite unionization being illegal in Canada at the time. Thanks to their courage, unionizing was decriminalized just two months later in June. With their new found power, workers set to drafting and defending many of the job benefits we still enjoy today: defined working hours, job security, safety in the workplace, and statutory holidays - like Labour Day itself.  

We have our own struggles in 2022. This year, we bargain in the shadow of the unconstitutional Bill 124 that limits compensation increases to 1% - an insult in the face of inflation and a prolonged pandemic that has called on the public service to go above and beyond, and to be a bastion of calm amid the chaos. 

Although our position is not that of the courageous marchers of 1872, and though as public servants it can feel uncomfortable to cause a stir, it is nonetheless important that we push back on laws that are inherently unjust. If the strikers of 1872 have taught us one thing: it is that solidarity is the way to make gains, which is why we’ve teamed up with over 40 other Ontario unions to challenge Bill 124 in court.

You can show solidarity with your bargaining team by participating in our suggested weekly actions and by joining thousands of your colleagues when they take part in our next bargaining update town hall scheduled for noon on September 15. Please watch upcoming Member News editions for more details. 

With the Labour Day long weekend upon us, we ask that you not take lightly what those before us fought so hard to achieve, and that you support your union in its present-day efforts to improve your working conditions. We are always stronger together. 

Hope to see you at the Labour Day parade

Stronger together,

Dave Bulmer

More about AMAPCEO and our Members: Established in 1992, AMAPCEO is a bargaining agent that represents 15,000 professional and supervisory public servants, most of whom work directly for the Government of Ontario in every ministry and in a number of agencies, boards and commissions; in 130 communities throughout Ontario and in 12 cities outside Canada. We also represent employees outside the Ontario Public Service in: the Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario; the Ontario Arts Council; Ontario Health (Quality Unit); Public Health Ontario; the Waypoint Mental Health Centre in Penetanguishene; and in the former Offices of the Ontario Child Advocate and the French Language Services Commissioner (now part of the Ontario Ombudsman).