Human rights, workers’ rights, and the condition of our environment are all intertwined. A clean, healthy and sustainable environment is essential in the enjoyment of our human rights. Labor unions have, historically, fought to protect workers from environmental contaminants.
Strong unions might have helped us make corporations reduce their carbon emissions. Yet, unions were crippled and corporate power has dominated over the last sixty years, especially in the U.S.
A Brief History of Trade Unions in Canada
Until 1872 trade unions were illegal in Canada. In that year twenty-four Toronto Typographical Union members were imprisoned for fighting for a nine-hour day. A workers’ protest ensued.
As a result, Prime Minister Sir John A. McDonald was compelled to abolish the laws that made being a union member illegal. It is thought that the protest was inspired by the Tolpuddle Martyrs, five of whom moved to London, Ontario upon being freed in 1839.
Jump to present day. Strong unions are needed to balance corporate power that, today, holds the upper hand. Strong unions could help us in our fight to make corporations reduce their carbon emissions.
Attended Tolpuddle Award Ceremony 2022
Every year the importance of unions – and how the Tolpuddle Martyrs fought for them – is commemorated through an awards ceremony in London, Ontario. The award is given to a member of one of London’s labor unions for championing worker’s rights and our labor unions.
I attended the 2022 Tolpuddle Award ceremony in support of workers today. The ceremony was held in Peace Park at 11 a.m. Afterwards, we marched to Victoria Park for today’s International Worker’s Day rally.
I spoke with Peggy Satler, our New Democrat Party (NDP) Provincial Member of Parliament (MPP) and Jennifer Chesnut, an environmentalist activist. On behalf of Greenspace Alliance, I agreed to participate in a youth eco-activism workshop at Central Library on Sat May 7, 2022.