Let’s Make History: A Labour Day Message from Ken Neumann

Dear Sisters and Brothers,

Labour Day is more than just the last long weekend of the summer. For Steelworkers, Labour Day means celebrating the accomplishments and sacrifices made by all of those workers who preceded us, who struggled for gains for all workers, gains many take for granted today.

100 years ago, 1915, the First World War was underway. Our soldiers were overseas and women were entering the workforce on a massive scale. In British Columbia, Helena Gutteridge, a lifelong labour activist, suffragette and CCFer (Cooperative Commonwealth Federation, later to become the NDP) was organizing for the first minimum wage law. Today, the labour movement continues to fight the battle for a decent minimum wage and many other workers’ rights. It’s people like Helena that I encourage you to remember today.

Helena would be very proud to see how far we have come, both unions and the NDP. There is a wave of excitement across the country following the NDP’s majority victory in Alberta’s provincial election. More and more Canadians are joining the Orange Wave and putting their trust into Tom Mulcair’s NDP. Stephen Harper, your time is up! The Conservatives have proven themselves to be bad for workers and our economy. Meanwhile it was the Liberals in 1996 who eliminated the federal minimum wage.

With the federal election on October 19, we have a chance like never before. This election we have a chance to make history. We can elect Tom Mulcair as Prime Minister of the first New Democratic Party government in our country!

The NDP has a concrete plan to keep working families at the forefront. Tom Mulcair’s plan includes better pensions, affordable quality childcare, increasing the federal minimum wage and retirement security for seniors. These are issues that Steelworkers have fought for and together with an NDP government we can build a stronger middle class.

This Labour Day, we’re proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with our brothers and sisters from USW local 9176 at Crown who are going back to work with a new agreement after 22 long months on the picket line. While this struggle was not easy, our members and supporters showed us what solidarity is all about, mobilizing across our union and our movement.

This Labour Day, I join you in celebrating our accomplishments as a movement, recognizing the struggles that continue and committing to making history by electing the first-ever NDP federal government.

Let’s make history and vote NDP!  Helena would be so proud.

In solidarity,

Ken Neumann
USW National Director

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