Toronto unions call for “a fair recovery for all” this Labor Day

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For the first time in 148 years, union leaders and members did not march through the streets of Toronto on Labor Day, but instead delivered their message online amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Toronto and York Region Labor Council has canceled its annual Labor Day parade due to ongoing health and safety concerns.

Instead of the march, the council recorded a virtual parade and launched a city-wide digital and transit advertising campaign to mark this year’s theme “A Fair Recovery for All”, which calls for all levels. government to fight against the economic and racial inequalities encountered. by workers.

Union leaders gathered outside Steelworkers Hall on Monday to discuss their call to action and said this year was particularly difficult for workers due to the pandemic.

“We have seen millions of people lose their jobs, lose their income, we have seen families under tremendous stress from the impact of COVID and hundreds of thousands of people who do not know if they will ever return. at work, ”Toronto and York Region Labor Council president John Cartwright said at the press conference.

The Labor Council campaign was sponsored by 39 individual affiliates representing workers in the public and private sectors.

The pre-recorded virtual parade, consisting of performances and images from the past parade, is displayed on the Labor Council’s YouTube page.

The group also took their message to the streets with ads that will be plastered on more than 130 buses in Toronto and York Region this month.

According to a Labor Council press release, the theme “A Just Recovery for All” is inspired by the “Six Principles for a Just Recovery” endorsed by hundreds of civilian groups in Canada and around the world.

The six points needed to achieve a just and sustainable recovery include prioritizing people’s health and well-being, strengthening the social safety net, prioritizing the needs of workers and communities, building resilience to prevent future crises, strengthening solidarity and equity between communities and respect for indigenous rights.

Labor Council Secretary Abdi Hagi Yusuf was also present to the media on Monday and stressed the need for reform of workers’ rights.

“We need a recovery that covers workers ‘rights, workers’ health and safety and leaves no one behind,” Yusuf said.

One of the industries most affected by the pandemic is the hospitality sector.

Shelli Sareen is the secretary-treasurer of UNITEHERE 75 and said 90% of its members have been laid off due to COVID-19.

“We are calling on all levels of government to enact legislation around three key areas for our members, which are income support for our members throughout the crisis, job protection and a safe return to work. Sareen said.

The Labor Council represents more than 220,000 women and men who work in all sectors of the economy, including health care, education, childcare, food and hospitality.

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