Winnipeg, MB – Over the weekend, organized labour in Canada celebrated the 100th anniversary of the 1919 Winnipeg General Strike. The Immediate post-World War 1 period in Canada was not a time of peace. Soldiers returned home wanting jobs and a normal lifestyle again, only to find factories shutting down and soaring unemployment. Corporate profiteering fed inflation and a high cost of living. Poor factory working conditions caused worker unrest.
“IAM political action committee members know the value of member
engagement,” explains Derek Ferguson, IAM Special Representative for Political
Action. “The more members who are actively engaged in our workplaces – the more
power we have at the bargaining table. The more members who speak up on issues
that matter in our communities, the more power we have to get our governments
to prioritize the needs of working people.” Often it is hard for members to
grasp that there is a connection between collective bargaining and political
action. There is a direct connection between negotiating a pension into your
collective agreement and lobbying the government to protect that pension if the
employer goes bankrupt, as an example.
Our 24/7 economy demands 24/7 labour. Instead of working 9 to 5, many workers work 5 to 9 to make ends meet. But at what cost?
Non-standard hours of work are not only inconvenient, but a growing number of studies indicate they are harmful to workers’ minds and bodies. Taken all together, studies show non-standard shifts can lead to a host of health issues including digestive disorders, pregnancy complications, heart problems, and even cancer.
Non-standard work hours include shift and night work, week-end work, split shifts, on-call work, compressed work weeks, and extended hours. In Canada, in addition to working excessive hours, as much as 30 per cent of the workforce are now engaged in non-standard hours.