December 1, 2013
December 1, 2013 Andrew Chernoff
The greatest challenge facing the labour movement is re-establishing itself as a valid and vital movement in the lives of working people, politics and society in the 21rst century.
The fights and struggles that the labour movement had in the 20th century, continue. The gains that the labour movement achieved, are being threatened, challenging unionism and the strength of the union movement
The labour movement needs to rediscover and identify with the roots of its movement—-what inspired the rise of unions in Canada; its impact on Canadian politics; and its influence on society over the last one hundred years.
For example, advocating for justice, health and safety for workers.
Being a voice for decent wages; the 8-hour work day/40 hour work week; decent working conditions.
Speaking up politically as stewards of Canada’s resources and the land,; promoting laws and regulations that not only advance, but protect, our standard of life for all Canadians, now and for the future.
Politically, the 20th century saw the emergence of the federal New Democratic Party which the labour movement helped found.
The impact of the labour movement on Canadian society was no more apparent than the realization of Universal Health Care for all Canadians.
In short, the labour movement needs to embrace the ideals and passions, the inspiration, that got labour and Canadians in general, engaged in the late 19th century and early 20th century, in combating its greatest challenge in this century: its reestablishment as a valid and vital movement in the lives of Canadians, society and politics.
No more less important, and imperative for the labour movement, are our leaders; specifically, our leaders possessing and utilizing skills that are essential in taking on the great challenge facing the labour movement.
Being well versed in parliamentary procedure and a good public speaker are necessary skills when advancing the agenda of the labour movement whether it is in a union meeting, on the shop floor or at a community hall meeting on a local issue important to all. To articulate simply, clearly and effectively, in a way that instills faith, confidence and engages the listener, creates conversation and participation, and helps to maintain order.
Being a good listener. It is essential in determining what is working, what isn’t working; how it could be made better. If our leaders are too busy speaking, then they are not listening and endeavouring to find out what someone else has to say and contribute to the conversation.
Finally, engagement. The skill of being able to engage those in the union movement in a personal and real way that makes a difference for them; that makes them feel empowered and encouraged that they can make a difference, not just as part of the labour movement but as a citizen in their community, their province and in their country.