On behalf of the 6000 members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees in Newfoundland and Labrador, our executive officers and staff, I want to wish every worker in our province a safe and happy Labour Day weekend.
Every year at this time, I am reminded of the gains that workers have been able to make through their collective efforts and resolve.
Together, workers have created a society where serious illness no longer means personal or family bankruptcy because of medical expenses. Through their hard work and determination, workers have created a society where a good education is not dependent on being born into a family of wealth. Workers have created a society where hard working women and men can earn a decent living, live with dignity and enjoy the fruits of their labour.
But all of our hard work can be lost if we become complacent. It can be lost if we fail to recognize the important role that we have to play. We must ensure that the lives of our children and grandchildren are improved as much by our efforts as our lives were improved by the efforts of those who came before us.
We have the power to make this an even stronger and more just society. We must continue to lobby our provincial and federal governments to protect the vulnerable in our society. We must push our elected leaders to improve social programs, such as Old-Age Security, the Canada Pension Plan and Employment Insurance. We must ensure that adequate levels of funding exist to help and protect all workers and all Canadians when times get rough.
This Labour Day, take time to renew your committment to your family, your co-workers and yourselves. Commit to continue the struggle for social justice. Continue to work towards a society where human dignity is cherished and protected. Continue to fight for a society where the labour of every worker is valued and fairly compensated.
We owe it to those who toiled before us but, most importantly, we owe it to our children and grandchildren.
Have a Safe and Happy Labour Day!