Labrador west and dis­trict Labour coun­cil cel­e­brates Labour Day

The Aurora (Labrador City) - - SPORTS - BY MIKE POWER

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.”

PHOTO BY MIKE POWER

Alexan­der Noel en­joy­ing some of the fun things pro­vided for the Labour Day cel­e­bra­tions by the Labrador West and Dis­trict Labour Coun­cil.

PHOTO BY MIKE POWER

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.

PHOTO BY MIKE POWER

Labour coun­cil vol­un­teers help with the grilling of free hot dogs for ev­ery­body who dropped by.

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