Labour Day is the time of year when working people can take stock of our achievements, reflect on our struggles, and evaluate what is required to improve the everyday life of everyone in our communities.
We have come through an era of corporate domination, where it became accepted that corporations don’t just need to be profitable but that those profits must continue to grow bigger and bigger every year. We’ve been told that if profits don’t keep growing the economy will falter. To all workers out there we ask: How’s that been working for you?
It is 2016 – Canadian workers are far more educated than at any other point in our history, yet for those with jobs, wages have stagnated, workloads have escalated and part-time and precarious work has become the norm, particularly for racialize workers and those under thirty. Women are still paid a fraction of their male counterparts, and the gendered wage gap is actually growing not shrinking.
While corporations have been stockpiling billions in off-shore bank accounts people’s costs are skyrocketing, workers’ wages haven’t come close to keeping up, retirement pensions are under attack, there aren’t enough jobs to go around, and corporations now pay such little tax that we’re losing the public services that have made this country a fairer place to live.
Compounding these problems, our governments are choosing to sell-off assets and privatize the services that were built through our tax dollars, so that corporations will haul in even more money that should be going back into providing public services.
The Ontario Liberal government would have us believe that the only solution to their current revenue problem is to sell-off our public hydro system which is only causing bills to sky-rocket to increase profits while they give away billions in long-term revenue. People all across Ontario recognize how wrong this is.
As many are saying these days, “It’s 2016.” Life should not be getting harder for most of us while a small group of elites continue to hoard more wealth than anyone could ever actually use.
It is time for the tide to turn. It’s time for our government to stop bowing to the corporate agenda and start representing the needs of working people in this province.
As the government of Ontario embarks on its Changing Workplace Review in the year ahead we have a once in a generation opportunity to come together, say enough is enough – and ensure that any changes they make to the our labour laws are made to truly protect and improve the lives of all working people.
It’s time we focused on a true agenda for fairness, “because it’s 2016.”
- Pay all workers a fair wage for their hard work – one that doesn’t lock people into poverty
- End the gendered wage gap – make sure all women earn the same as their male counterparts
- Stop the explosion of precarious work and make sure all of us, especially young and racialized workers are not stuck in multiple, precarious, low-wage jobs
- Create a public, universal, high-quality, accessible childcare system
- Make profitable corporations and banks pay their fair-share in taxes – to help fund the services and infrastructure from which they also benefit
- Stop selling the our public assets that will leave future generations even worse off
- Guarantee paid sick time for all workers covered under the Employment Standards Act
- Make it easier for workers to join a union – because you recognize that unionization is a key factor of our economic success
- Protect our aging seniors in long-term care by legislating the four hours of hands on care that they need every day.