The International Day of the Worker, also known as May Day, is a holiday celebrated by millions across the globe to commemorate workers who died in the struggle for the eight-hour work day. In the past, this day encompassed positive events occurring worldwide, specifically for the purpose of celebrating the new season. Moving forward into the 19th century, May Day became associated as an International Worker’s Day, focusing solely on worker’s rights and labor movements. Fast forward to present day, Mayday is currently celebrated as an official holiday in 66 different countries.
On May 1, 2022, workers gathered and protested in Queen’s Park Toronto for the May Day rally. The Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) organized the event in hopes of getting worker-related issues to be prioritized before the provincial election taking place on June 2nd. Just one of 20 other events happening across the province have a shared vision for Ontario to be more geared towards, among other things, a raised $20 minimum wage, paid sick days, well-funded public services and an end to oppression and racism.
The International Day of the Worker gives an opportunity for all dedication of justice to come together in one strong united movement. The Toronto Community Benefits Network (TCBN) will also be alongside OFL to help establish this ultimate vision. Gaibrie Stephen, an emergency physician who spoke with CBC News at Grange Park, stated health-care workers have been working through the COVID-19 pandemic and are tired of seeing the impact of precarious work and workplace issues and their impacts on people. “Workers have been fighting for paid sick days for a long time, we know that this is a basic measure that improves people’s health,” Stephen said.
This is a harrowing year for worker’s all over the province, while political officials were prioritizing their focus towards the COVID-19 pandemic, it seems as though many workers feel they have been left in the dust regarding their requests and needs. Ontario Federation of Labour President Patty Coates said “In the lead-up to the provincial election, we’re making sure that workers’ issues are on the table.”
At Watson Labour Law our goal is to recognize and provide support to dedicated workers. A day of celebration combined with a movement for change is only a glimpse of what drives our firm towards bettering the workplace one step at a time.