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“Hold our heads high on Labour Day” CLC president says unions stand up for fairness

Posted: Saturday, 1 September 2012

OTTAWA – The Canadian Labour Congress says that union members should hold their heads high on Labour Day because they stand up for fairness for all Canadians.

“On Labour Day we celebrate the many contributions of working people toward building a better Canada,” says CLC president Ken Georgetti. “Many of the benefits first won by unions are enjoyed by all workers today, including maternity leave, vacation pay and occupational health and safety laws. When unions stand up for fairness, they raise the bar for everyone.”

The CLC released a study in August showing that on average unionized workers in Canada earn $5.11 an hour more than do non-union workers. “That extra money in the pockets of individual workers means the union advantage is worth $793 million per week that is added to our economy,” says Georgetti.

The study, called The Union Advantage in Canadian Communities, shows the benefits that workers with unions bring to Canada as a whole as well as in 29 selected communities across the country. Georgetti says that cities and towns with more union members enjoy higher incomes overall and support a richer mix of businesses and services. “These services benefit everyone in the community. In short, they are better places to work and live.”

Georgetti says that the International Monetary Fund and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development have confirmed that broadly-based collective bargaining is the best mechanism to build a healthy middle class. “When working Canadians, through their unions, are able to bargain freely for decent wages, working conditions, pensions and benefits, there are demonstrable benefits for society as a whole.

The Canadian Labour Congress, the national voice of the labour movement, represents 3.3 million Canadian workers. The CLC brings together Canada’s national and international unions along with the provincial and territorial federations of labour and 130 district labour councils. See the CLC website for a copy of The Union Advantage study: www.canadianlabour.ca. Follow us on Twitter @CanadianLabour

Contact: Dennis Gruending, CLC Communications: 613-526-7431 or mobile and text: 613-878-6040 Email: dgruending@clc-ctc.ca

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