Together - Solidarity in Challenging Times
Stephen von Sychowski, President, Vancouver & District Labour
Council and Janet Andrews, Secretary-Treasurer , New Westminster & District Labour Council
celebrate this Labour Day at a time of transition. The
last few years saw enormous social and economic upheaval, loss and
driven by the global pandemic. As
return to in-person gatherings this year we are looking forward to a
reconnection, of solidarity in struggle, of remembrance and
acknowledge those we have lost, those still struggling with illness,
job loss, underemployment, mental health impacts and stress.
is not as straightforward as a return to normal. Indeed,
there is no such thing as normal in this changing but ongoing pandemic.
addition to the changes to the way we work, live and learn, we see
challenges that never left and whose urgency is all the sharper:
affordability, and the opioid crisis. Rising inflation and calls for
the threat of war; the looming climate crisis; food insecurity, and the
of the far-right, intolerance, and hate have brought yet more
stress to the lives of working families. Meeting these challenges will
focus, determination and hard work. Our response must be solidarity in
broadest, deepest, most encompassing meaning, with each other and with
communities, if we are to truly move forward together.
and their families are a source of stability and
constancy in our communities. Good jobs are the foundation of the local
economy, supporting families, businesses, and the public services we
on. It was workers, on the frontline and behind the scenes, who
show up every day during the pandemic, ensuring we were safe, healthy,
and supported. Unlike the self-serving motives of the very wealthy, who
in record profits while fighting against pandemic pay and sick leave,
solidarity and commitment of workers to their neighbours and to each
leadership every bit as powerful and necessary as that of those elected
office. This leadership and constancy are the solid foundation on which
build the future.
brings uncertainty and stress, but also
opportunity. We have a window of time to raise issues and ideas, to
conversations, to question, and to make change. From ensuring a robust
recovery, to creating good jobs, investing in taking better care of
through a stronger social safety net, pushing back against the rhetoric
austerity, tackling climate change with a just transition for workers,
fighting for social justice, equality and diversity, the labour
the answers to what will make a better future for all. But only by
together will we make sure our voices are heard. Without solidarity and
singleness of purpose we risk being drowned out and divided by the
greed and intolerance....
Interest Rates Producing a Predictable but Avoidable Recession
By Jim Stanford, Economist and
Director, Centre for Future Work
New labour force
data from Statistics Canada confirm that Canada’s economy is already
down sharply as a result of aggressive interest rate increases begun by
Bank of Canada in March.
With the U.S.
economy (Canada’s largest trading partner) already in technical
two consecutive quarters of real GDP contraction), and monthly GDP data
no growth since May, this new report adds to worries that Canada’s
heading into recession as well.
data confirm that the aggressive monetary tightening begun by the Bank
Canada in March is having a negative impact on employment and
Canada’s labour market.
in July for the second consecutive month, with a cumulative loss since
74,000 jobs. That’s the worst decline unrelated to COVID lockdowns
lower than it was in March when the Bank of Canada began lifting
sign is the accelerating drop in labour force participation, which has
0.7 percentage points since March. That represents the loss of 225,000
from the labour market, at a time when many employers still complain of
upsurge in inflation was obviously not caused by labour market
Bank of Canada itself agrees it was sparked by supply chain
global energy price shock, and changes in consumer buying patterns.
arises mostly from supply-side constraints, it is self-defeating to
chasing hundreds of thousands of workers out of the labour market. That
fix supply chain problems, it makes them worse.
rates also discourage investment in new capacity and supply
This will also make the underlying cause of today’s inflation worse,
wage growth has increased, it still lags well behind current inflation.
means that average real wages (and the living standards of Canadian
continue to fall.
In the 12
to June, average real hourly wages declined by 2.7%, and are now below