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A Labour Day Message from Stephanie Smith - BCGEU

The future cannot be predicted, but it can be created. 

So far, 2020 has been a year of upheaval and uncertainty and that has many of us questioning what the future will look like for ourselves, our families, and our society. It's also been a year in which working people have shown time and again that we have the power to create a society that is stronger, safer, and more prosperous through solidarity, resilience, and shared values like dignity and respect; equality and fairness; social justice and opportunity for all.

That power and those values are the core of what Labour Day is, and has always been, about: the belief shared by union activists that we have the ability and the obligation to build a better future not just for ourselves but for all working people. As J.S. Woodsworth famously said "what we desire for ourselves, we wish for all."

COVID has not broken us but it has revealed plenty that is broken about how our society works and who it works for. The fact is that the BCGEU and our 80,000+ members across the province were working on many of these issues long before the pandemic hit: from addressing the deep fissures in the long term care system that put the lives of seniors, elders, and workers at risk; to advocating for safe supply and other evidence-based approaches to the overdose crisis; to working for affordable, accessible housing options for all British Columbians; to fighting for a universal, publicly funded child care system; to advancing reconciliation and an end to racism and discrimination in families, workplaces, and communities. I'm proud of that work and of every BCGEU member who has driven our union to get involved and stay involved in these critical issues.

The first Monday in September will look a little different this year as union activists plan pandemic-safe ways to come together but Labour Day will still be Labour Day: an opportunity for union activists to celebrate our history, reaffirm our values, and dream with our eyes open about the future we want to create, battles yet to be fought, values yet to be realized, workers yet to be organized. As we move forward through whatever comes next for our society, the BCGEU and our partners throughout the labour and social justice communities will be front and centre continuing the work to fix what's broken and create a better future. And this Labour Day I'm full of optimism for what we can achieve together.

So, what can you do?