On May 1, CUPE Ontario’s 280,000 members are among the many around the world who recognize International Workers’ Day, or May Day.
With this being the second May Day in the grips of a global pandemic, and with the third wave disproportionately crashing on the backs of workers, the lessons and the path forward are not lost on us.
We’re watching in real-time the effects of anti-worker, anti-public services ideology, combined with toxic indifference and callousness on the part of the Ford Conservatives.
From the beginning of this pandemic, we were warned that it would be racialized and immigrant communities who would face the greatest impacts.
We have borne witness as Black and racialized people continued to work on the frontlines, with fewer pharmacies offering vaccines, and disproportionately without paid sick days. We have seen a similar shortage of vaccines on the global state, with countries in the global south largely going without life-saving shots.
Migrant workers in Ontario are still largely unprotected at work and precarious in their immigration status. And instead of ushering in the measures people need to stay safe, the Ford Conservatives have expanded the power of police, which will certainly mean greater harassment of racialized people and of people without homes, while escalating the xenophobic dog whistles about closing borders.
CUPE members, no matter where we are in Ontario, what our race, gender identity, age, orientation, or level of ability, are all working so very hard to keep our communities going 14 months into this crisis. We know you are exhausted. But we also know you keep doing the important work of supporting others to keep our communities going, even after all the stress of uncertainty, even after all this time.
CUPE members share this reality with other public sector workers but also those working in the private sector, in grocery stores, and factories, and distribution centres, without whose labour our communities would also suffer. This is a bond that unites us all as working people, not only here in Ontario, and across this land, but around the globe.
On this International Workers’ Day, when we are called on to reaffirm our bonds of solidarity transcending borders, we must resist the rising tide of racism and the impacts of mismanagement on racialized and immigrant communities, and continue foster a rising understanding in the importance of the collective action and the common good.
On this day, and always, we must redouble our collective efforts with the confidence that they will prove fruitful. From the power emanating from striking Indian farmers winning improvements, to our work to keep the heat on the Ford Conservatives, solidarity and collective struggle will deliver change for the better.