September 3, 2015

When we work together, everybody wins

By The Canadian Labour Congress

Over a century ago, trade unions organized a day to celebrate their achievements, most notably their push for an eight-hour work day. Since 1894, Labour Day has been a time for celebration -- and for rest. What began with unions standing up for fairness, finished as something for everyone to enjoy.

That's been the story of the labour movement: When unions stand up for fairness, we all benefit. Researchers at the Canadian Labour Congress have demonstrated this fact by showing the link between vibrant communities and the number of union members who live there. We call this connection "The Union Advantage."

The research shows that, on average, unionized workers in Canada earned $5.28 an hour more last year than employees without a union at work, which translated into an additional $831 million every week into the pockets of 4.6 million working people. Those extra earnings not only add up, they get spent close to home. They support local businesses and bolster the local tax base, which supports public works, community services and charities.

To see the union advantage in B.C. and Kelowna, click here

Having a union at work is especially important for women and younger workers. Research shows that women earn an average of $7.10 an hour more with a union. Young workers (under age 25) earn an additional $3.74/hour with a union at work, which makes a difference as they build lives for themselves, pay off student loans, take mortgages and start families.

Economic data from the provinces, territories and major cities across the country shows that decent, middle-class, family-supporting wages translate into vibrant communities. Places with more union members support a richer mix of businesses and services which benefit everyone. They are better places to live and work.

Workers still turn to the labour movement to stand up for fair wages and work hours, workplace safety standards, parental leave, vacation pay, pensions, and protection from discrimination and harassment. And the labour movement is there to help them win change when it is needed, so they can earn a living and build a life at the same time.

That's why this Labour Day, we'll be talking about why it's time for a change in Ottawa: A change in priorities that will only come through a change in government. Canadians know it's time for a change too. Time for a government that's committed to creating good jobs. A government willing to invest in the health care and child care services that working families need. A government that will help more people save for retirement so they can live their final years in dignity, not hardship.

By making a better choice when they vote, Canadians can get the change they want. By standing together, they can get a Canada that works for them. This election, we can make a better choice, one that will help improve the day-to-day lives of all Canadians.


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