Unions out in force to mark Labour Day
From the home of the originators of Labour Day , Canadian workers had plenty to say.
Thousands of workers took to the streets across the country Monday to remind Canadians of the true meaning behind the last long-weekend of summer.
In downtown Toronto, the annual parades kicked off with calls from labour unions for everything from more nurses, to lower post-secondary tuition fees, to improvements for the beleaguered manufacturing sector.
The slashing of 1,200 jobs at an Ontario General Motors truck plant days ago makes this particular Labour Day rally that much more important, said Canadian Auto Workers Union president Buzz Hargrove as he marched with hundreds of fellow autoworkers.
"Unfortunately bad news kind of gets people's attention more so than good news," he said. "We're seeing a lot bigger turnout here today than we normally see on Labour Day."
While colleagues will be reflecting on some of the gains the auto sector has made over the year, he said the layoffs will be hard to ignore.
"It's not good news," he said. "People are going to start winding up for further protest this fall to ensure that we get the leadership from the federal government to defend the interests of workers, families and communities, not just the corporate interest."
NDP Leader Jack Layton said working families and the middle class are "being squeezed" by the manufacturing job crisis, and that it's time the government did something about it.
"Working people just don't have the revenues they once did because they're scrambling to find jobs," he said.