September 3, 2015

A happy Labour Day to all

By Andrew Pritchard

As President of the North Okanagan Labour Council and Southern Interior Representative for Local 40 UNITE HERE I would like to extend my best wishes to all on this holiday weekend.

This day off with pay was the first non-religious, non-military, non-royal and non-government holiday. It is an acknowledgement of the common working class to have a right for a day off with pay. It is to celebrate their contribution to the nation and to the society as a whole.

Public pressure was put on the Government of Canada to declare a national holiday and on the 23rd of July, 1894, the Government declared the first Monday in September to be known as Labour Day.

Labour Day originated in Canada. The first Labour Day event was a parade held in Toronto in 1872 in support of cutting the work week down to 58 hours. It is now celebrated in many countries around the world. The United States celebrates it on the same day as us, but many others celebrate it on May 1st

Labour Day has strayed from its original celebration of workers rights and freedoms. It has become the last celebration of summer, filled with BBQs, picnics and a last opportunity for going to the beach.

The North Okanagan Labour Council, the Canadian Labour Congress and the B.C. Federation of Labour, along with many local and provincial unions have brought back an event long been missing from this area. Last year we held our First Annual Labour Day Picnic at Bertram Creek Park. This event was such a success that we have moved to a larger venue. This year it will be on Monday Sept 7th from noon till 4:00 pm at Mission Creek Park on Springfield Rd. We will once again be serving food and refreshments along with family friendly activities for all to enjoy.

So while eating your hotdogs or burgers, take a moment to remember all of the union workers whom have paid dearly for this wonderful day. Please stay on guard for them, to keep the laws and rights they fought for, strong and current.


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