The History of Labour Day & United Way

The History of Labour Day & United Way

September 06, 2018

Labour Day is an annual holiday to celebrate the achievement of workers. Labour has its origins in the labour union movement, specifically the eight-hour work day.

In the woollen mills and cigar factories, children under the age of 14 worked alongside men and women. A 66-hour work week was not uncommon. Woodworking shops had little ventilation, subjecting workers to clouds of fine dust. And a carpenter earned 25 cents an hour if he was experienced. These were the working conditions in the late 1800's in the city that would become Toronto, according to testimony before the Royal Commission on the Relations of Labour and Capital.

Labour Day has been celebrated in Canada on the first Monday in September since the 1880's. The origins of Labour Day in Canada can be traced back to December 1872 when a parade was staged in support of the Toronto Typographical Union's strike for a 58-hour work-week.

United Way and the Canadian Labour Congress have been partners since 1988 – working together to strengthen communities across Canada. The partnership developed around a common interest: ensuring that workers and working families have the support they need to succeed.

Unions across Canada are longstanding and generous contributors to United Way campaigns, encouraging members to volunteer and give. But the partnership goes much deeper than just financial support. Labour representatives advocate for those in need in their communities. They serve on United Way boards and committees, and offer programs like cooperative housing, childcare and other services.

Each year, United Way partners with unions across the country to improve lives in local communities. On behalf of United Way -Happy Labour Day! We hope you enjoy a well deserved "day off" and remember why you have it! #LocalLove