This week in labour: May Day madness

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Photo: Flickr/Robert Cudmore

I don't want to chide you for reading but this is International Workers Day, so you should really be in the streets, doing some rabble rousing there. Oh wait, you're on your phone reading? Well, keep on marching, then!

Since the 1880s May 1 has been a day to celebrate the rites of spring and the spirit of revolution. So read about what the labour movement has been up to this week and then go take part in the revolution, please.


  • On Monday, workers gathered across the country to commemorate thousands of workers who have died or been injured while on the job. If most recent statistics are any indication, at least two workers will have died on the job today. With better health and safety policies and stronger enforcements, these deaths could be prevented. 
  • Relatedly, the Ontario Federation of Labour wants to know why Ontario's Workplace Safety and Insurance Board is covering up 1,150 workplace deaths, reported since 2009.  
  • At their convention this week, the Public Service Alliance of Canada passed an emergency motion to release 5 million dollars from the union's contingency fund to defeat the Harper conservatives in the upcoming federal election.
  • On Thursday the B.C. Court of Appeal ruled that Bill 22 did not violate teachers' constitutional rights. Introduced in 2012, the legislation temporarily limited teacher bargaining rights on class size and composition. 
  • Good news from Labrador: Happy Valley Goose Bay municipal workers, who were locked out by their employer during the dead of winter, have managed to protect their pension plan!
  • And yet again, the zombie anti-union Bill C-377 has risen from the dead. Senate committee met in April to discuss Bill. Justin Trudeau now says that he will work to fight the Bill.
  • Nova Scotia has erupted in protest against Bill 100, which would ban strikes and collective agreement at universities for a 12 to 18 month period. The Bill, introduced amidst other austerity measures, has been called ham-fisted and unconstitutional.
  • Confirming what union members have long argued, Ontario's auditor general released a study this week stating that privatization of road maintenance services has made the province's roads less safe
  • All female professors at McMaster University in Hamilton will receive a pay raise, after a university-led study revealed a significant gender wage gap amongst the university's faculty.
  • Today marks the beginning of Asian Heritage Month. It's time to acknowledge the history of excluion that asian workers have long faced in this country, and also the major contributions that they have made – from the last spike to the first


Ella Bedard is's labour intern and an associate editor at GUTS Canadian Feminist Magazine. She has written about labour issues for and the Halifax Media Co-op and is the co-producer of the radio documentary The Amelie: Canadian Refugee Policy and the Story of the 1987 Boat People.

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