If ever there were a time in our history where we would say to workers everywhere, “take the day off, you deserve it!,” this Labour Day would most assuredly qualify. There has often been world turmoil that has impacted workers lives, but none as impactful as this enduring pandemic that has put workers mettle to the test. Time and time again over the last year and a half, workers worldwide have stepped up to the plate, unfairly carrying more and more of the pandemic’s burden each time.
My members have continued to be stalwart providers of community services, from childcare to long term/senior care, public health to community housing, by-law to social services, and everything in between. They have tried to inject a sense of “normalcy” into the services they provide, during an otherwise fraught and chaotic time, that is intensely felt by our most vulnerable and at-risk community members. But this approach takes a toll over time. My members are rightly fatigued and struggling to keep up with frequent changes to their work routines. To state that their wellbeing is in jeopardy would not be an overstatement.
Like all of us, my members want to see an end to this pandemic, but they do not necessarily want a return to the pre-pandemic past. If anything, COVID has highlighted how important true work-life balance is and how deserving all workers are of having realistic workloads, respect from their employers, and job satisfaction. My challenge, and that of other union leaders, is to make sure they get it!
On behalf of 1600 members at CUPE 543, I want to wish all workers a safe and relaxing Labour Day. For all my members and all workers who are working this Labour Day, my thanks and gratitude. I hope you too will get a well-deserved break soon.
David Petten, President CUPE 543