Canadian Labour Unions – Past, Present, and Future

Nowadays Canada is a country of many Labour Unions, which are organized on national or local level to protect the rights of millions of working men and women across the country. All of the Labour Unions existing in Canada are united into The Canadian Labour Congress, which is “the largest democratic and popular organization in Canada with over three million members” [1]. More than a hundred of national and international Labour Unions participate in the CLC (Canadian Labour Congress) in order to improve the quality of work and life of millions of workers not only in Canada but also outside its borders. The main goal of any union, including Labour Unions, is to strive for equitable wages, proper and safe working conditions, health care, equal rights and equal treatment towards men and. Thus, all labour unions have to be active in all spheres of life, such as economic, political and social spheres. Labour unions provide workers participating in them with certain benefits, including higher payments, social benefits and better pensions. According to official website of CLC a labour union “means having someone in your corner, bringing fairness and balance to the workplace”. Generally speaking, Canadian Labour Congress is an organization, which supports all Canadian Labour Unions, guides them and counsels. It also helps regular workers to overcome problems at work and brings the most burning issues concerning wages and working conditions out, so everybody is aware of what is going on in “big” business.
As it has been mentioned above there are various Labour Unions in Canada. The first Labour Union that appeared in Canada was Canadian Labour Union. Its foundation was initiated by Toronto Trades Assembly in 1873 to support Canadian workers. Canadian Labour Union was not going to protect workers who went on strike, however, the main purpose of its establishment was to implement more favourable labour legislation and to increase number of workers participating in labour unions. After Canadian Labour Union (CLU) was founded it started to hold annual conventions, and the first ones of them were devoted to labour representation in the Parliament, to apprenticeship system and its regulation, to the amount of working hours and improvement of working conditions and other important issues.
The largest Labour Union in modern Canada is Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE). CUPE was established to represent the rights of people working in education and health care, in municipalities and public utilities, in social services and public transportation. The main purpose of CUPE is “improving the quality of life for workers in Canada” [2]. It has about 79 offices all over Canada, which makes it easy for people to get acquainted and join CUPE.
It is obvious that a group of people can draw attention of government and public attention more successfully than if there is only one person. Thus, the work of such Labour Unions appears to be rather effective, especially in negotiating wages and improving working conditions. By means of Labour Unions workers get rid of fear of reprisal, they can freely speak up showing their point of view.
In conclusion it is necessary to emphasize, that the importance of Labour Unions is continuing to grow together with the growth of business and global economy, where workers desperately need to be protected.

1. “Canadian Labour Congress”
2. “About CUPE”

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