Unions appeared in Canada around the Industrial Revolution. In those days, men and women (and sometimes children) were forced to work long hours in dangerous environments for very little pay.
Employers were focused on production and workers had little say about their working conditions.
After years of struggle, many workers formed unions to fight for change. They organized strikes and walk-outs. Workers risked their jobs – and sometimes their lives – to establish eight-hour workdays, 40-hour work weeks, child labour laws, minimum wage, basic supports (like employment insurance), and safe working conditions in coal mines, factories, plants and construction sites.
Today’s labour standards are a direct result of sacrifices early union members made.
Unions ensure all workers are treated fairly at all times. Unions improve wages and benefits for workers.
Unions protect our society’s middle class. We negotiate good pay, benefits and working conditions for workers. Unions are advocates. We lobby governments to change laws and policies to benefit all workers.