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Labour Day 2019 Message from Nova Scotia Federation of Labour President Danny Cavanagh

I am proud to again celebrate Labour’s accomplishments this past year and look to the challenges ahead with determination and strength.

I believe this is one of the most important days of the year because it is an opportunity to celebrate all the ways the labour movement has improved the day-to-day lives of working people.

Workers, when they come together as a collective and work towards a common goal, have the power to make change. Our Federation can look back on the past year and know that we worked hard in our workplaces and communities to make life better for all Nova Scotians.

Unions make a difference both at work and in the quality of life you live. I want to thank the working women and men of our province who devote their time, energy and talents to make our province a better place to live, work and raise a family.

Working women and men drive the social and economic engines of our province and our communities. I think it’s important to remember that without workers and their brain and muscle as they say, not a single wheel would turn.

It is all too easy to take for granted the role that unions have and continue to play in improving all our working lives. Labour Day is much more than a day off. It is a day to reflect and celebrate the important role that workers play in shaping the economy and the social fabric of our communities and our province. It is also a day to reflect on the gains made over the years and the work that remains to be done. We know that political action is a part of our lives, that’s regardless of whether our unions are partisan or not.

Unions aren’t just about negotiating with employers. We advocate politically so everyone can have fair wages, safer workplaces, pensions for retirement, and dignity at work.

Workers in unions are an important part of the local community and economy because that’s where they spend their pay cheques. Their incomes support local businesses (who create local jobs) and bolster the local tax base, which supports public works and community services that add to everyone’s quality of life.

In Nova Scotia, three by-elections have been called to fill vacancies in the districts of Argyle-Barrington, Northside-Westmount and Sydney River-Mira-Louisbourg. Election day for residents in those areas will be Tuesday, Sept. 3rd, the day after Labour Day.

I would urge everyone in these areas to get out and vote. The Liberal Government’s attack on public sector wages, rights and job security is not the way to move this province forward; in fact these needless attacks will have a negative impact on local and the provincial economies.

We need progressive initiatives for health care workers and patients in a province that still has 100,000 people without a family doctor.

We need to see a real difference in the lives of health care workers, and that in turn, will benefit every single patient, resident of a nursing home or long-term care facility and every member of all our families – we can continue to build this capacity and make all our lives healthier and safer.

Let’s get MLAs in Province House who will work on behalf of all Nova Scotians.

Once we vote in these by-elections, we have a federal election in October, one that is more important than ever. It is imperative that we work to get people elected who will put people first. We need to make sure our voices are counted by making sure that our members get out to vote.

It is important that candidates looking for our vote reflect the values and issues of working families and that they are prepared to talk and act on the important issues such as universal pharmacare for all, climate change, pension protection, good jobs, and affordable accessible public child care for all. It is time we had a federal government that’s committed to creating good jobs, a government willing to invest in the health care and childcare services that working families need, a government that will help more people save for retirement so they can live their final years in dignity, not hardship.

As always, it is important to get out there and vote, make your voice count! It’s important that together that we face challenges both provincially and federally, and we must continue to work together and push the issues important to Nova Scotia workers and our families.

Unions from across the province will gather at our convention at the end of October and we will debate the issues and solidify policies and plans to take action for the next two years. The theme of our Convention is “Unions Matter” and delegates from across Nova Scotia will guide our Federation to be a strong, vibrant voice in this province.

As we celebrate Labour Day, let’s remember we can all make a difference in making life better for Nova Scotians. We can do this at our workplaces and our communities. By working together, we will continue to lobby the provincial government the make progressive changes that will improve the lives of workers and their families. We need to see progressive governments that will put workers first. We need to improve health, safety and compensation laws, our public services and infrastructure. The government can revise the Employment Standards for the province’s most vulnerable workers. We also need to address violence and bullying in the workplace. We need a national pharmacare and public childcare program.

So, on this Labour Day we have a lot to be proud of, and a lot to do. On behalf of the Executive Council, staff and over 70,000 affiliated members of the Nova Scotia Federation of Labour I would like to wish all an enjoyable and safe Labour Day weekend.

Danny Cavanagh, President, Nova Scotia Federation of Labour

See also: PSA – Celebrate Labour Day 2019 on September 2nd!

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