Labrador west and district Labour council celebrates Labour Day
The Labour movement has always been big in Labrador West. From the early days when the steelworkers formed the union at the local mines to this day, organized labour represents a large number of the Labrador West area workforce.
Claude Grey, who is with the Labrador West and District Labour Council, told the Aurora “there are a number of steelworkers locals here, as well as NAPE, CUPE, CUPW, and UNIFOR just to name a few.”
Grey estimates there are well over 3,000 unionized workers in the area.
The local labour council celebrated this year’s Labour Day with a family day. There were many activities to keep younger children busy. Face painting, bouncy toys, movies, and of course everybody’s favourite, hot dogs, prepared by council members who volunteered their time to make it a great day.
“We want to acknowledge the contributions that the labour movement have made to make people lives better,” Grey told the Aurora.
Some of those contributions are the 40-hour work week, overtime and, of course, health and safety, which is a major issue for the labour movement.
Ron Thomas, who is on the labour council, is also president of local 5795 of the Steelworkers Union, the largest union in Labrador West with about 1,400 members.
“The steelworkers in Labrador West helped establish the province’s right to refuse unsafe work conditions, and we contributed greatly to the provincial silica code of practice,” Thomas told the Aurora.
One of the main messages that was part of Labour Day was the effort being made by the Canadian Labour Congress for a national Pharmacare program, an effort to have a universal prescription drug plan for everyone.
“Our sisters and brothers who were employed by Cliffs had their drug plan taken away from them after Wabush mines closed, leaving many to make difficult choices of being able to afford the medications they needed,” Thomas told the Aurora.
The CLC campaign says people should not have to make choices between paying for drugs or buying food or paying for electricity or rent.
“It’s a day that highlights our community’s involvement in the Labour movement of this province,” Grey said. “A day we are proud to celebrate.”
Alexander Noel enjoying some of the fun things provided for the Labour Day celebrations by the Labrador West and District Labour Council.
Labrador West and District Labour Council members at Labour Day celebrations. From left, top, Jamie Patterson, Marilyn Currie, Kim Conway. From left, bottom, Claude Grey, and Ron Thomas.
Labour council volunteers help with the grilling of free hot dogs for everybody who dropped by.