Unions will still be ‘picketing and demonstrating’ despite no Labour Day parades due to COVID-19

Unifor president Jerry Dias attends a press conference announcing GM's investment in the Oshawa assembly plant, in Toronto, Wednesday, May 8, 2019. Dias says the massive autoworker strike that hit General Motors in the U.S. today could migrate to Canada next year if trust is not restored. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Cole Burston. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Cole Burston

ONTARIO, Ont. – There won’t be any major parades on Labour Day this year, but unions “will be picketing and demonstrating” nonetheless — along with holding virtual events to mark the holiday.

With the COVID-19 pandemic putting a halt to mass gatherings, John Cartwright of the Toronto and York Region Labour Council says they made the “difficult” decision to cancel this year’s festivities.

Read more: Labour Day in Toronto 2020: What’s open and closed

Cartwright says they have come up with alternative measures to ensure that workers’ rights are celebrated, with a virtual parade that will air on YouTube and Facebook.

Meanwhile, Unifor national president Jerry Dias says many of his members will be picketing in support of grocery store workers in Newfoundland.

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About 14-hundred members of Unifor Local 597, who work for 11 Loblaw-owned stores in Newfoundland, are on strike demanding higher wages and permanent jobs.

Dias says the holiday is not only a day of solidarity but a debate on essential workers’ rights and how they are treated in Canada.


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