Daniel McCullough, Next-Up Sask 2014-15:
I remember my sociology professor standing at the front of the theatre one day and asking his students, “Who here likes weekends?” Hand after hand rose until everyone had indicated in the affirmative. With a sly grin, our professor added, “Well, you should thank a union then!”
It may have been a little glib, but it’s true. Every Canadian worker has benefitted, is benefitting and will benefit from the victories of labour unions. Weekends? Thank a union. Minimum wage? Thank a union. Let’s add another big one: on January 30th, 2015, after a seven-year legal battle the Supreme Court of Canada ruled in favour of the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour (SFL), that Canadians are constitutionally guaranteed the right to strike. This means that governments cannot legislate workers back to work, or deem some professions too “essential” to strike.
Strikes brought us the right to refuse unsafe work and minimum wage. Strikes allow those without individual power to have the power to stand up to business owners, politicians; anyone who puts profits ahead of people. So to the SFL and all the unions in Saskatchewan and across Canada who have fought for our right to strike, thank you for your tireless work to make this province and this country better.