Labour Day 2001 - A Time for Optimism
September 3, 2001
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As the Canadian Auto Workers joined their brothers and sisters from other unions to celebrate Labour Day 2001 in festivities across Canada including the massive Labour Day Parade through downtown Toronto, their national president Buzz Hargrove was looking forward to the future.
CAW National President
"I'm one labour leader who feels very, very confident about the future. Working people are standing up. They are fighting back, both in the private sector, we have had long strikes in our own union, other unions have had long strikes, the public sector after a decade of inaction where their wages were rolled back, or they lost a lot through inflation. They lost a lot of security; a lot of people lost their jobs. There was just an incredible attack on the public sector. They are standing up. You've got nurses fighting back. You've got education workers, teachers, you've got the Public Service Alliance of Canada is fighting back. So I think it is a time for optimism. There is an opportunity for the labour movement to reach out to new people. To say this organization is alive is vibrant. It's got ideas; it's got energy and enthusiasm. But we have to not only challenge employers and government we also have to challenge ourselves, to be a more open, more democratic, to provide more opportunities for people to play a role in our movement and I believe we will launch this new century with a great deal of pride and new energy in our movement."
That pride was very evident in the faces of the CAW members marching through downtown Toronto. Autoworkers, their families and retirees turned out for the parade, which took over three hours to complete the route. Hargrove says the struggle remains, but the solidarity shown in the Labour Day Parade is sending a message to workers everywhere that they can fight the right wing agenda.
CAW National President
"I feel great. Our union has been on the march this last year. We are going to continue to play a major leadership role in the labour movement and in the broader struggle along with our social partners. We've always got to remember that there are a lot of people who aren't as fortunate as we are. Those without power and privilege, those who are living in poverty, those who are struggling to pay rent, to educate, to shelter, to feed, to clothe their families and we have got to keep reaching out to them and working with their organizations to make sure we are building a strong coalition to fight the right wing attack on past gains."
CAW "Fighting Back Makes a Difference."