This Labour Day, there’s certainly lots for working people to be concerned about. Elementary schools, high schools, colleges and universities, are reopening without the safety measures students and workers alike need. Meanwhile, the Ford Conservatives are still refusing to sign an agreement to ensure $10/a day childcare. Cases are steadily going up, with the latest modelling for Ontario saying we can expect a “substantial” 4th wave, and people are yet again worried about their health and safety, their jobs, and their futures.

All the while, Doug Ford is hosting fundraisers that cost $1,650 a piece to attend and barring reporters from attending his first press conference in over a month.

Challenging days indeed. We’re up against a lot, and increasingly our political leadership make it clear who they’re really working for.

But as disheartening as it is to see Labour Day landing in the middle of a pandemic for the second time in a row, during an avoidable forth wave, there is hope, there are signs of good things to come for our communities.

CUPE Ontario members in every sector – airlines, municipalities, health care, social services, school boards, and universities – haven’t let up one bit after 18 months and have made it clear they won’t anytime soon.

The 280,000 members in every community across Ontario are still doing the quiet work of keeping them functioning, as well as the loud work of campaigning for permanent paid sick days, the reversal of legislation like Bill 124 that attacks the right to free and fair collective bargaining, more funding for the public services that have kept us as safe as possible despite all the challenges, demanding real action against anti-black racism and real reconciliation with Indigenous peoples, and an end to privatization and profit making, especially from the care for our loved ones.

In this period of such enormous uncertainty and challenge, there are also rising calls for real justice, to not just “get back to normal”, but to rebuild our communities with better and improved public services, good jobs, real actions to fight the climate crisis, and more respect and understanding for us all.

On this day, we celebrate the contributions of all workers. We recommit to improving working conditions communities count on. And, as challenging as things might seem right now, we remain hopeful because of the skill, caring, hard work, and determination of the members of CUPE Ontario and all workers.

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