Seemingly never ending, the health fears of the last two plus years have continued with COVID likely here forever, RSV causing so much childhood illness and the ever present seasonal flu making a big comeback.
“Not only are the illnesses as predicted by public health with us, but 2022 witnessed the perpetual and predictable attacks on public healthcare by the Ford Tories. Ford, and for that matter any government at any level in Canada that aligns with Conservative dogma, remains myopically attached to this endless attack on public services anywhere,” says labour council secretary, Amy Stephen.
Well understood forever by organized labour, the need to recognize all workers with dignity, better than a living wage and a safe workplace it seemed that 2022 brought about an element of collective amnesia relative to the many workers called essential in the early days of the pandemic. Labour council president, Kevin Smith notes that, “Workers had been living under a very long shadow. A shadow cast by employers and governments unfriendly to workers. This shadow told workers for over 50 years that they should be thankful to have a job. Unaffected by such forgetfulness, workers after living under this shadow, made it supremely clear that the future was not going to look like that past. Having recognized that the job market has shifted, workers rediscovered their voice and will no longer be intimidated or coerced.”
In Ontario, no one event framed the collective voice and strength of workers and their representatives more than the day the petulant and deeply misguided Ford nation and his caucus of boot lickers thought they could ram a collective agreement down the throat of workers while discarding the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Dave Trumble, Labour Council VP for Bruce County says, “The tide of labour relations for decades to come changed when all of labour came together to support 55,000 CUPE education workers and took Ontario closer to the abyss of mass strikes than at anytime since the days of the profoundly repugnant Mike Harris government.”
Chris Stephen, Labour Council VP for Grey County remembers our history in the labour adage of “an injury to one is an injury to all”. For over a hundred years this has meant something to workers and, as we enter 2023, it will be as meaningful as it ever has been.
“Workers will not take one step back, and for a new year,” says Labour Council Sergeant at Arms Anna Morrison, “there is no better place than to see workers take the initiative and to make work better for everyone.”
To a new year full of worker solidarity and the Grey Bruce Labour has been the voice of workers since 1956.