Labour Day part 2



Unite against Austerity” was the Labour Day theme. By my reckoning, not a bad one.

The corporations sitting on a pile of dough certainly take the theme seriously. They are very austere investors.Last week they open ly laughed at Finance minister Jim Flaherty when he asked them to open their pockets

I walked with Librarians, Ironworkers, Nurses, Power workers, Energy workers, hotel workers, even Labour for Palestine had a banner, OSSTF which seemed to have more marchers than the Catholic  teachers. Why is this?

There were many thoughtful signs like “We are all affected,” “Children are in crisis”, “We didn’t cause the problem.”




Earlier in the week the Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate Elizabeth Warren  caused an uproar with what I would have thought was the obvious.

“Nobody does it by themselves.”

Republicans hate this and immediately began to mock Warrren who said:

“There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own — nobody. You built a factory out there — good for you! But I want to be clear. You moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for. You hired workers the rest of us paid to educate. You were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for. You didn’t have to worry that marauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory, and hire someone to protect against this, because of the work the rest of us did.” 

Obama earlier made the same point:

If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen. The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet. The point is, is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together.”

Romney supporters were in a frenzy. No, Romney built Bain Capital by his lonesome.No, he took corporate welfare in every state he was in. Romney saved the Salt Lake City Olympics—by himself, of course.

Not counting the $250 million the Feds  kicked in.

Where do these guys get off with this nonsense?

So Labour finds itself almost on its own. Unions are struggling—to keep workers from racing to the bottom. Like the latest American takeover of Zellers. Now Target comes in—and fires all the retail workers.You know what’s next. A drop in pay for everybody. TARGET loves the US where 7% of the  private sector are unionized.

If you are in a union, you make a minimum $5.00 an hour more. If you are in a unionized country like Europe you do not have extremes of rich and poor.

In Canada under the Tories unions are under attack. It is more difficult to do any advocacy work now.

It is very sad to see Toronto’s Catholic bishops virtually absent in their defence of unions. They were nowhere to be seen on Labour Day.



1 Comment »

  1. 1
    wmgrace Says:

    There just doesn’t seem to be a lot of knowledge out there about the origins and history of labour unions in our society – how they brought a level of economic security and prosperity to entire generations of industrial workers, white collar workers and to those in almost every economic sector.

    It could be argued that our last true and profound economic boom of the post war era (say, 1945-1970’s and beyond perhaps, and the one which helped more people in every social class to improve their real economic status) would not have been possible without the awesome contribution and cooperation of labour unions.

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