Happy Labour Day

 Labour Day 2020 is like no other Labour Day in recent memory.

 Usually on this day we celebrate the contributions of working people at community picnics, local fairs, or other neighbourhood events. We gather to visit with friends, family and colleagues to enjoy the end of summer.

 This year is a bit different. While we are still celebrating the working people of BC, we are doing it through online meeting apps or social media, and through e-mail messages like this one. COVID-19 has made us change how we communicate and socialize, how we manage our family commitments, and has definitely changed how we work.

 We generally take time on Labour Day to reflect on the historical wins working people have achieved, like protected maternity leave, the weekend, and the eight-hour work day. We should also reflect on the recent wins we have achieved: critical protections brought in by the BC NDP government, including paid leave for victims of domestic or sexual violence, banning contract flipping in the health sector, and increasing the minimum wage to $15/hr.

But on this Labour Day we can’t just look back – we must also look forward, because working people are at the heart of rebuilding a resilient and inclusive economy post-pandemic.

One thing I am very aware of is that this global pandemic has shone a bright light on just how important working people are to our collective success. It is not cliché to say that working people are the backbone of our economy and our communities. It is simply the truth.

We are going to get through this pandemic in large part because of all the hard-working people who show up each day with commitment and compassion. The working people who are bringing innovative and creative thinking to meet the needs of their community. The working people who provide critical services, often at personal risk.

As health care and community social service professionals, COVID-19 took us by storm back in February, and even now the ‘new normal’ brings increased risk and uncertainty. You have been at the forefront of this pandemic; when others were told to stay home, you were asked to show up. And you did.

On this Labour Day I want to honour all our members and the deep commitment you have to your professions and the people of this province.

I want to say to the whole team of health care and community social service workers: we can’t do this without you. The work you do is critical to our collective well-being. And your union, and the labour movement, are behind you every step of the way.

In solidarity,
Val Avery
President, Health Sciences Association

 PS: This ad will appear in community papers across BC, to thank the whole team of health care and community social service workers this Labour Day!