Sep. 7, 2020
Labour Day Statement from GSU National President, Randy Howard
Comrades, Sisters, Brothers,
On behalf of the Government Services Union, I want to wish all our members a happy and safe Labour Day 2020. This year will be different than most, with gatherings of family and friends, and labour community parades cancelled or restricted. 2020 has been a tough year, and there is not a member of our union or a worker across this country who hasn’t had to adjust to a new and more difficult situation in their working life.
This pandemic has shown us that the union movement isn't just about getting fair pay for our work; it is about ensuring that the lives of workers are taken into consideration by employers. This pandemic has transformed our workplaces into a run of hazards. Something as harmless as a handshake or a conversation now carries a risk to both us and our families. One hundred years ago, the union movement fought for railings and safety gear to protect people from being hurt in the factories where they made their living, now we fight for protective equipment, proper sanitation, and flexible work with the same goal: to keep our workers safe.
Similarly, across this country, there are new demands for accountability and inclusion in the workplace. The Black Lives Matter protests across North America are a reminder of the work that we need to do to ensure that we live in a society free from discrimination. In the federal public service, we still have a lot of work to do as well, as our increasingly diverse membership comes into conflict with systems that were designed to marginalize women and people of colour. The GSU will continue to speak up for its members in cases of discrimination and we will continue to fight against systemic racism.
While this challenging year has brought these issues to the forefront, these needs are the same as they were last year. 2020 hasn’t changed our goals, only the urgency of the problems that we face.
This year has provided us with many challenges, and we can be certain that there will more to come. I firmly believe that we can overcome these challenges by working together. As we enjoy this quieter Labour Day long weekend, let us reaffirm our solidarity with each other, and with all working people across this country, in their demands for dignity, safety, and fair pay.
Government Services Union, PSAC