Labour Day Message 2021

Sep. 2, 2021

Comrades, Sisters and Brothers, 

On this, our second Labour Day under the pandemic conditions, with many of us still working from home and others in a modified workplace, I would like to say thank you to every hardworking Government Services Union member. You are the lifeblood of the public service, you make the machinery of government run, and you are the strength that our leaders rely on when they make decisions on behalf of the people of Canada. Your work is appreciated not just by your union, but also by the millions of people who rely on you.  

Labour Day is our holiday to acknowledge the achievements made by organized labour. The eight-hour workday, paid vacations, pension and health benefits, these were all won through direct action and through negotiations – negotiations that continue to this day every time we work to renew our contract. The benefits we have were not gifts, they were the product of hard work.  

The rights won by labour have not been easy to achieve, and we won't hold them without working together. To that end, I invite you all to participate fully in your local. The union local is where the work of our great union occurs. This is the first step to defend the interests of our brothers and sisters, and it is the first place of community for our union. This is where our representatives work for the benefit of all.  

The labour movement is in a period of transition, driven by changes which were already happening in the workplace and accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic. For the last two years, many of us have been on modified work arrangements including work from home. As we start to see an end to this pandemic, and as things start to return to normal, we will fight to preserve, for those who want it, the flexible work arrangements that many of us have enjoyed. We're transitioning to a different place when it comes to work, and the union will always be there to support its workers. 

On this Labour Day, I would also like to acknowledge the many people who have been lost during this pandemic. We know that some of our comrades, brothers, and sisters are no longer with us, and some of our sisters and brothers have lost loved ones as well. A part of the reason why we all stayed home was to make sure that we can keep each other safe, but we must acknowledge that not everyone made it. We stand in loving solidarity with those who have lost friends, colleagues and family.  

At this second pandemic Labour Day, let us recommit ourselves to standing together to achieve our collective goals – a safe workplace, good working conditions and a life of dignity for every worker. 

In Solidarity, 

Randy Howard 
National President, Government Services Union