Unifor May Day Statement 2024

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A crowd of people holding up Unifor flags

On May 1st, Unifor joins unions across Canada and around the globe to mark International Workers’ Day – a day where we celebrate workers and the labour movement – from our collective victories to our common struggles. 

The ongoing affordability crisis continues to be a challenge for working class communities across Canada.  This crisis has been fueled by growing economic inequality exacerbated by global corporate giants who squeeze workers’ wages while extracting more wealth for their executives and shareholders. As recently reported by Oxfam International, the richest five men in the world have doubled their fortunes since 2020, while the wealth of 5 billion people has decreased. Further, seven out of ten of the world’s largest corporations have either a billionaire CEO or a billionaire as their principal shareholder.

It is no surprise then that we have seen a corresponding wave of labour actions take place in Canada, the U.S. and around the world. It is clear the labour momentum of the 2023 ‘Hot Labour Summer’ has carried forward into 2024 as workers reject sub-par offers and concessions from employers that are simultaneously recording massive profits. 

Since May Day of last year, thousands of Unifor workers have fought hard at the bargaining table, and in some cases engaged in strike action to achieve the fair gains they sought. This includes our 3,700 Unifor grocery store members at Metro, one of Canada's grocery giants, who took strike action for fair wages. It also includes workers at Autoport, a subsidiary of CN Rail, who fought their employer who brought in scabs on the first day of the dispute. Elsewhere across North America, port workers, auto workers, writers and screen workers, media workers, transport workers and many others took unprecedented months-long strike action fighting for better job protections and working conditions. 

These bold labour actions have inspired more workers to look to join unions and have resulted in equally bold organizing campaigns. In the past year, thousands of workers have joined Unifor to gain a seat at the bargaining table, a voice in their workplace and a place in the labour movement family. In B.C., Unifor is working hard to organize Amazon workers.  We have also seen the UAW make recent history by successfully organizing workers at the Volkswagen assembly plant in Tennessee, despite fierce right-wing political opposition – a strong signal that even in the most challenging of labour environments, workers are looking for dignity and respect on the job and are ready to stand up for their rights. 

Only by building working-class power and uniting our movements at a global level can we effectively challenge the growing concentration of multinational corporate power.

On May Day, let us continue to mobilize and organize in solidarity, fighting for peace and social and economic justice and build the better world all workers deserve.