Renewed Solidarity Amid Historic Upheaval

Labour Day Message by District 6 Director Marty Warren

As a fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic takes hold in much of the country, we are forced to celebrate a physically distant Labour Day for the second consecutive year.

While we continue to face enormous social and economic upheaval, on this Labour Day I want to recognize and celebrate the incredible efforts of Steelworkers throughout District 6 who have been fighting tirelessly to defend our members’ jobs and for decent working and living standards for all.

Virtually every Steelworker family has been affected in some way by the pandemic, from layoffs and financial hardship, to increased safety risks and stress on the job, to social isolation, mental health struggles and COVID-related illness and death.

Steelworkers have responded to these daunting challenges with unmatched USW commitment, caring and solidarity.

USW local leaders and members have redoubled efforts to enforce health and safety protections at work. Many have committed their resources and labour to provide personal protective equipment not only to our members, but to other workers who have been callously placed at undue risk from a lack of protective measures from employers.

Across our district, our members continue to embody the USW motto that Steelworkers Make Great Neighbours, generously supporting and volunteering with all manner of causes and groups to help countless people in need.

Many District 6 locals have overcome pandemic-related challenges to negotiate good collective agreements that defend and improve our members’ working conditions.

While most of these agreements were achieved without labour disputes, several locals faced strikes and lockouts provoked by employers attempting to exploit the pandemic to deny workers decent contracts. However, our members stood strong, and their unwavering solidarity led to the best-possible contracts that ended these disputes.

Our union recognizes that too many of our members, particularly in sectors hit hard by the pandemic, remain laid off. That’s why Steelworkers and our labour and political allies are demanding that our governments improve supports for workers and families, and make major investments in a worker-centred economic recovery.

The pandemic has further exposed the fact that our laws must be improved to make it easier for workers to join unions and to enjoy the benefits of collective bargaining. Steelworkers throughout District 6 have been expanding our organizing efforts, and have helped workers in several communities join the union, with several similar campaigns under way.

Labour Day also is a time to remember and mourn members who have been killed on the job. Today we recommit to our fight for safer workplaces and greater enforcement of laws to ensure justice for grieving families and accountability for those responsible for workplace deaths.

In the midst of so many challenges and rising COVID infections across the country, it is shameful that the prime minister called an unjustified federal election that most Canadians don’t want. This self-serving attempt at a power grab will cost taxpayers more than $600 million – just to feed the Liberals’ lust for a majority government.

Though the election is unnecessary, Steelworkers are compelled to do everything we can to elect the party that truly supports unions and the working class – Jagmeet Singh and the New Democratic Party.

It is a matter of record that the policy demands and pressure exerted by the NDP are responsible for improved government supports that helped millions of Canadians through the pandemic. Only the NDP pushed for a doubling of the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, a substantial enhancement of wage subsidies, paid sick days, and supports for seniors and students.

Unlike the corporate agendas of the Liberals and Conservatives, Jagmeet Singh and the NDP are genuinely committed to investing in an economic recovery that will create good union jobs; made-in-Canada infrastructure projects; a higher federal minimum wage; fair taxation to ensure the ultra-wealthy and corporations pay their share; and crucially, true reconciliation and justice for Indigenous peoples and communities.

Steelworkers, over the past year we have confronted a level of social and economic turmoil unseen in our lifetimes. On this Labour Day, I wish to thank all of you for your efforts and commitment to our shared goal of fighting for workers’ rights and social justice.

Press Inquiries

Thank You

Thank you for contacting us. We will try to get back to you in a timely manner.

Media Contacts

Communications Director:
Shannon Devine
sdevine@usw.ca
416-544-5946 or
416-894-7118

Communications Department:
Nicole Desnoyers
ndesnoyers@usw.ca
416-544-5991 

Communications Department - Québec
Clairandrée Cauchy
ccauchy@metallos.ca
514-774-4001 

Mailing Address

United Steelworkers
234 Eglinton Ave. E., 8th Floor
Toronto, ON M4P 1K7