Unifor statement on May 1 - International Workers’ Day


On May 1, Unifor marks the International Workers' Day - May Day!  

For the second time, workers across the world are marking May Day in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. The danger and threat of COVID-19 continues to weight heavy on working people and their communities across the globe.

Over the past 14 months, frontline workers have faced the threat of illness, contagion and death as they have been required to show up to work despite few protections.

Health care and long-term care workers have battled a pandemic, with little to no access to personal protective equipment at first, and an overwhelming refusal from governments to recognize the value of their work by raising wages and ensuring adequate staffing levels.

Retail workers have been stocking grocery store shelves across the country, performing public-facing work during all stages of the pandemic, with little to no recognition for their work or labour.

Transit workers have continued to work, supporting working class communities to get to work on a daily basis despite the risks and challenges.

Warehouse workers have been defined as essential in all Canadian jurisdiction without being provided with essential worker's rights, be they paid sick days, the right to refuse unsafe work, or fair wages and stable employment schedules.

Aviation and hospitality workers face uncertainty as their sectors are still suffering major layoffs and job losses, throwing thousands of workers in Canada into worry and anguish.

Manufacturing workers face intermittent production schedules as the global supply change remains affected by pandemic delays.

While no one could predict the full impact of this pandemic, it's safe to say capitalism has resulted in a pandemic response that has created a heavier burden and more instability for working class people the world over.

Despite the challenges, workers across the world are finding ways to challenge unsafe practices, push back on bad bosses, and organize their co-workers into unions.

Unifor has proudly welcomed new members this year, and continues to support workers to join our union. To learn about the benefits of a collective agreement, and the importance of collectively organizing workers in your workplace, join our union now.

On May Day, we recognize that our struggles of today are shaped and influenced by our fights of yesterday. We also recognize that we are not alone in the fight for worker's rights, justice and equity for everyone.

Our solidarity extends beyond borders. And as such, we recognize that:

  • We must continue to support workers at home and abroad, and Unifor's Social Justice Fund currently support projects in Canada and in 46 other countries.
  • We must continue to support workers and trade unionist facing violence, harassment and imprisonment in their struggle for freedom, better labour standards and social justice.
  • We must continue to support the Myanmar labour movement leading the fight against the military coup,
  • We must continue to oppose the imprisonment of labour leaders and social justice activists by the Hong Kong Authorities
  • We continue to recognize that there can be no press freedom if journalists exist in conditions of corruption, poverty or fear.
  • We must continue to support the one thousand labour and social justice activists who were the victims of violence in Colombia since the peace agreement was reached in 2012.
  • We will continue to work with international global unions and our allies part of the North American Solidarity Project to build a coordinated, international vision for working people.

While we cannot deny the challenges, difficulties, loss and trauma caused by a global pandemic, we must also recognize and celebrate union activists across Canada who are organizing, fighting, struggling and doing everything they can to make their workplace, their community and their world a better place. We see you and our union is here to support you in those fights.

Fighting for justice for all workers is what unites us. It is in this struggle that we find friends, allies, partners and community.

We wish all Unifor members a happy May Day! And we look forward to our collective work in the coming year.