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2014 Labour Day Message from the President of the New Brunswick Federation of Labour

For Immediate Release

August 27, 2014

(Moncton) It is my pleasure on behalf of the New Brunswick Federation of Labour, and our 40,000 affiliates, to wish all New Brunswickers a Happy Labour Day!

It is all too easy to take for granted the role that unions have played and continue to play in improving our working lives. Labour Day is more than a day off. It is a day to reflect on the important role that workers play in the economy and in society. It is also a day to reflect on the gains made over the years and the work that remains to be done.

These gains were achieved through the hard work, sacrifices and solidarity of working people and organized labour. Some examples include the 40-hour work week, workplace health and safety requirements and maternity/parental leave benefits. These benefits and protections have been part of our workplaces for several decades now. Most of us do not realize that working people and their unions had to work hard to obtain them.

The work of unions today is no less important. Today’s unions are focussed on: 1) making work safer, 2) on making sure that a 40-hour work week can pay the bills and 3) protecting the rights of individual workers to make sure that they are treated fairly. For example, governments have lowered standards and wages by making it easier for large food-chain companies to bring in temporary foreign workers, without the same rights and protections as Canadian workers. Organized labour is standing up to protect these vulnerable temporary migrant workers and to protect Canadian jobs.

Another area where organized labour and our allies continue to work tirelessly is retirement security. Too many men and women work their whole lives only to retire into poverty. Many jobs do not offer retirement plans, personal retirement savings are often not enough with the unpredictability of the stock market and the large fees that financial institutions charge for managing personal savings. The best way to improve the retirement security for everyone is by expanding the Canadian Pension Plan (CPP) program. A program entirely funded through employer and employee contributions.

As the world becomes smaller with globalization, unions have become more relevant today than ever before. On the one hand, company profits are rising. On the other hand, these profits are not being shared with company employees through better wages. Too many companies are coming to the bargaining table and demanding wage concessions, cuts to benefits and longer working hours. Too many

companies are trying to increase their profits by cutting corners on health and safety protections at work. Also, too many Canadian companies are contracting out work to overseas contractors.

Working men and women, through their labour union, continue to stand up for the working classes. The New Brunswick Federation of Labour will be lobbying all of the political parties during the 2014 provincial election campaign to improve the policies and laws that affect workers.

This Labour Day weekend, let’s remember the working people who stood together to obtain the good working conditions that we enjoy today. Let’s also take a moment to realize that by working together now, we can protect these gains and continue to improve the lives of New Brunswick workers.

One way you can get involved is by attending one of the Labour Day events organized throughout the province. A complete listing of Labour Day events is available on the New Brunswick Federation of Labour web site at:

Finally, I leave you with these inspiring words by Nelson Mandela – words that many trade unionists live by: “We must use our time wisely and forever realise that the time is always ripe to do right.”

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Patrick Colford, President New Brunswick Federation of Labour

Office (506) 857-2125

Cellular (506) 381-8969