Labour Day is an important opportunity for us to reflect on our hard-won victories and re-commit ourselves to fighting every day for a more just world. To mark Labour Day 2022, we want to extend our deepest gratitude and appreciation for the 700,000 CUPE members nationwide doing vital and important work serving our communities. We also thank the many activists in our organization who make our union a powerful force for change and justice in our communities.

Every day in workplaces and communities across the country, we are standing up for workers’ rights and a better life for everyone. Despite the challenges of organizing in the context of the pandemic, we continue to bring in thousands of workers who now enjoy the benefits and protections of membership in Canada’s largest, strongest union.

At bargaining tables across Canada, we are fighting for stronger health and safety protections, major improvements in staffing levels in our care sectors, and the significant wage increases that CUPE members across this country need and deserve. We are fighting for less precarious work and more stable employment. We are standing firm against concessions and two-tier proposals. We are fighting for better benefits and more secure retirement for our members. And we are winning.

At the political level, we are encouraged to finally see real action on things that generations of CUPE activists have fought for. Over the past year, we have seen all 13 provinces and territories sign agreements with the federal government to establish a national affordable child care system.

Thanks to the relentless pressure of the labour movement and our allies, the federal NDP was able to secure a deal with the federal government to kickstart a national dental care program for lower-income families, and begin the groundwork for a national pharmacare program. The deal also requires federal anti-scab legislation to be passed by the end of 2023 to balance the scales and protect our right to free collective bargaining.

That’s welcome news for workers during a time when life is getting harder for so many. With inflation out of control and the cost of living skyrocketing, while wages rarely keep pace, we must redouble our efforts to organize and fight for real wage increases.   We must resist attacks by conservative governments and profiteers on the public services so many rely on. Our health care system in particular, already underfunded and understaffed before it was battered by COVID-19, is on the brink. But rather than fix the funding and staffing crisis in health care, so many provinces are now looking for ways to accelerate the slow creep towards an American-style privatized health care system.

Of course, we will not let them. But this just goes to show that despite the progress we’ve made this year, our struggle continues. We have fought so hard to protect workers through this pandemic and build a fairer, more equal country, and we are not about to start taking steps backward now.

On behalf of our 700,000 members across Canada, we wish you a safe and happy Labour Day.

In solidarity,

Mark Hancock
 National President

Candace Rennick
 National Secretary-Treasurer