Labour Day 2019: Working towards a brighter future for workers

Photo: PSAC

Labour Day is a time to recognize and appreciate what workers contribute to making Canada a better country.

This year, Labour Day falls just as the federal election period officially begins. From now until election day workers and PSAC members can make sure that the next federal government takes real action to recognize our contribution. The election is our chance to elect candidates who support workers and our communities, and keep those who don’t at bay.

Andrew Scheer’s Conservatives cannot be trusted to support Canada’s workers. The recent Conservative record on the public service under Stephen Harper is well-known: job cuts; service cuts; and constant attacks on working conditions.

Scheer is going to pick up where Harper left off. He’ll come after pensions, benefits, and many other hard-fought gains. He’ll also raise the retirement age, attack workers’ rights, trample on civil liberties, and turn good jobs into more precarious work.

And let’s not forget that while the Liberals are responsible for carelessly rolling Phoenix out, it’s the Conservatives’ slash and burn approach to the public service that created the Phoenix disaster that PSAC members continue to endure.

PSAC members deserve better. They deserve a government that will commit to:

Moreover, all workers in Canada deserve a government that wants to make life more affordable and financially secure for them by committing to:

    • Universal pharmacare. Canadians pay some of the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs. The current health care system must be expanded to include a universal pharmacare plan. No one should have to decide between buying groceries and getting the medicine they need.
    • Affordable child care. Parents in Canada continue to face exorbitant bills and long waitlists for child care. Making affordable, high-quality, inclusive and culturally appropriate child care available to all—including parents who work non-standard hours and those who live in rural communities—will grow the economy, promote gender equality, increase women’s labour force participation and enhance children’s well-being.
    • Retirement security. The public pension system is due for a massive expansion to ensure all workers can retire with financial security. Moreover, new laws are needed to ensure that employee pensions are safe in situations where companies declare bankruptcy.

As we take some time to relax and celebrate workers this year, let’s also commit ourselves to building a brighter future for Canada—a future with strong public services for all.


Young People Really, Really Want a Green New Deal

New polling data show that millennials are more enthusiastic than older generations about radical efforts to save the planet and create jobs.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez outside the Capitol Building.
Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) talks to reporters outside the Capitol Building. (AP Photo / Susan Walsh)

It’s finally here: Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Edward Markey introduced a Green New Deal resolution on Thursday.

Their proposal would achieve net-zero greenhouse-gas emissions by creating millions of green jobs and investing in a new, clean-energy infrastructure. But how receptive will Americans be to such a radical reshaping of the economy?

Our polling shows that the Green New Deal actually polls very well, even when people consider the potential costs. First, in our election survey last fall, we tested a green-job guarantee, which is a core component of the Green New Deal. The resolution released Thursday proposes “guaranteeing a job with a family-sustaining wage, adequate family and disability leave, paid vacations, and retirement security to all members of our society.” Mainstream Democratic think tanks have released differing plans on how the government could achieve this goal, though this push has upset some and neoliberals.

We asked voters if they would support “giving every unemployed American who wants one a job building energy-efficient infrastructure.” Sixty percent of respondents said they somewhat or strongly support the policy, compared to just 13 percent who somewhat or strongly opposed the policy. (The rest were unsure.)  MORE