April's jobs numbers were released this week, showing unprecedented job losses in some areas. The numbers are so low that either our economy is tanking fast, or there were inaccuracies in survey. Either way, not a great sign…
I don't want to chide you for reading rabble.ca 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.
In Canada, May Day has always been the rebel workers holiday.
First celebrated in the 1880s, International Workers Day has its roots in the historic struggle for workers rights and collective action.
In the latter half of the nineteenth century, the era known as the Gilded Age, the rise of industrialism and unregulated capitalism led to unprecedented inequality in North America. At the same time, however, political radicalism and trade unionism were on the rise among working people.
These groups found common front in their demand for a shorter work week. And on May 1, 1886, workers took to the streets in the thousands to demand an eight-hour work day.
Hundreds of public sector union members rallied outside the Ontario government buildings on Thursday to protest the provincial budget.
"This is about the kind of Ontario that we want," said OPSEU Executive Board Member Ibrahim Bozai, "We are anticipating serious cuts. We’re anticipating the government digging in their heels when it comes to investments in public services, and more privatization."
The Federal and Ontario budgets announced this week were packed with austerity. The false promises of balanced budgets were used to justify service cuts and privatization across the board. Add that to the similarly lean budget released by the Nova Scotia Liberals last week and we’ve got a whole lot of mess coming our way.
What’s that saying? April austerity brings what in May? Here's what happened this week in labour:
Hassan Yussuff is the president of the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC), the umbrella organization which encompasses dozens of affiliated unions and represents over three million workers. In February, the CLC launched its election preparedness campaign, which seeks to mobilize union members to defeat Harper's conservatives in the upcoming federal election.
I spoke with Yussuff about what we can expect from the campaign's second phase, which is set to start in the upcoming weeks. This interview has been edited and condensed.