TYRLC President Andria Babbington speaking at a rally in July, 2023. Photo: TYRLC
TYRLC President Andria Babbington speaking at a rally in July, 2023. Photo: TYRLC

Workers Continue Labour Day Tradition in Toronto

This year marks the 151st anniversary of Toronto’s historic Labour Day Parade, as we celebrate the Year of the Union across Toronto and York Region. Today, we uphold a legacy that began in 1872, when thousands of workers gathered to protest the arrest of Printers’ Union leaders in Toronto and fought for the right to organize labour unions in this country. While we are proud of this history, we know that our work is not yet done, and we continue the fight for our rights and for a more just and dignified life for all working people.

Right now, we stand at a pivotal moment for working people across the world. If you’ve flipped through the paper lately, or looked at your grocery bill, you already know the crises facing working people. We are in a battle against deepening inequality between the “haves” and the “have-nots;” the working class and the bosses. And we know that things won’t change without a fight.

During a long pandemic we were told “We are all in this together.” But the bosses, and their friends in government, didn’t spend time worrying about working people – they were just scheming to grab a bigger piece of the pie during the crisis. Because of their greed, we are dealing with a housing crisis, a cost-of-living crisis, a health care crisis, deteriorating public services, and the climate crisis which intensifies with every passing day.

This is happening all while corporations continue to make record profits, and governments across borders continue to cut back funds to what public services remain. Most CEOs and government officials are refusing to do the bare minimum to address the needs of working people. Workers are struggling to pay the bills on time and keep a roof over their heads, all while being told by the media and politicians that their problems are imaginary. But we don’t need anyone to tell us how it is – we know the truth. We know who’s gouging us, and workers are not going to take it.

Luckily, we already have the solution in our hands. We need to band together – in the workplace, at the ballot box, and on the streets – to lift up our communities. We need to support each other now and put an end to the pain and immiseration caused by these new robber barons. It’s time to tell them plainly, and loudly: enough is enough!

Working people are fed up with band-aid solutions to the issues we face. Fed up with cheap fixes to the realities we see every time we flip through the paper, ride the bus, or talk to our neighbours.

The good news is: change is in the air. We can see it when workers reject deals which don’t value them, we can feel it when the ground shakes beneath the trample of our feet on the picket lines, and the bosses will hear it when we take to the streets and cry out: enough is enough!

The first step is to get organized. The time is now, to stand together, with the full force of the labour movement, to lift up our communities and face the coming challenges ahead in unity. Every single worker needs to join with us and get out on the streets  – this fight is your fight.

And let me tell you, the bosses are getting organized. They are getting together to try and stop us. They’ve been watching us to see if we’re strong. Together, we are strong.

If we stand together, if hold the line together, we will win together. They think we are only getting ready. But, we’re not getting ready. We are ready. So, let’s show the bosses just how ready we are. The time to fight is now. The time to win is now.

This article appears online only.