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There was no You Must Be This Tall to Ride sign beside CUPEs tables at summer fairs across Manitoba. But like finally looking down on the infamous sign, taking the first summer job is also a rite of passage and CUPE Manitoba was there to help.

For two years, CUPE has visited school career days and summer fairs to help young people make the transition into young workers. Informing young workers of their rights not only helps them on the job, it helps teach about the role of unions.

We developed a leaflet we give out to young workers, said CUPE Manitobas Allen Bleich. Its simple and contains basic information, but its often the only information young workers receive about their rights on the job. A lot of them not only didnt know their rights, but also didnt know the unions role in protecting them.

The leaflet provides information on minimum wage, pay days and when overtime should be paid. It also covers issues such as pay for statutory holidays and provides contact information for relevant government departments.

For people working their first job, knowing when they should start to be paid overtime means something. Their employer isnt going to tell them and they may not be working in a unionized job. People really appreciate being given the facts, said Bleich.

The leaflet also covers health and safety, something particularly relevant. From cutting grass to painting to frying food to working nights in a convenience store, young workers do dangerous work but often dont know about their right to refuse unsafe work.

By performing this service, CUPE is building unions presence in communities and giving young workers the tools they need to make their first job a success.

Jamey Heath