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‘This used to be a protest march:’ Unionized workers celebrate Labour Day in Halifax

WATCH: Many of Nova Scotia’s unionized workers gathered in Halifax for a rally and march in celebration of Labour Day. Jeremy Keefe reports.

Many of Nova Scotia’s unionized workers gathered in Halifax to celebrate Labour Day with a rally followed by a march through one of the city’s busiest streets.

The NSTU, NEGEU and many more groups took part in the event that drew a crowd of several hundred people, first to Victoria Park and later to the Halifax Common.

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“We really want to acknowledge why we have things like weekends and reasonable working hours,” explained Suzanne MacNeil, the president of the Halifax-Dartmouth & District Labour Council.

“That’s because successive generations of workers fought for decent working conditions and leisure time and a work life balance and really all the things that make life livable for us as workers,” she added.

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“Without organized labour you wouldn’t have maternity leave, paternity leave, equal pay for equal work, holidays, weekends,” said Grant Frost, president of the Halifax County Local NSTU Chapter.

“A lot of that stuff came because of organized labour,” Frost said.

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The crowd heard from several speakers that the rally is an event that highlights the wins of the past as well as provides an opportunity to think about what needs to change going forward.

“This used to be a protest march,” explained NSTU President Paul Wozney. “This was where workers got out and demonstrated and fought for the right to unionize.”

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“It’s also to look at what’s ahead of us, what we need to deal with in the future in order to make workplaces better, safer and more inclusive for everybody,” added NSGEU President Jason MacLean.

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