Labour Day has got me thinking about my Dad. He spent almost his entire working life with a union card in his pocket. He was never an activist, never strident, never even particularly outspoken about his views or his work or his pride in being a lifelong, integral part of a labour movement that, he knew, had made life better for himself, his family and his community. He chose, on the surface, to be easy going and reserved, and was often rather quiet. But that did not mean he didn’t have strong convictions, a great depth of understanding and an abiding sense of justice. Real justice, for ordinary families.
While he may not have talked about it much, to me he embodied the best core values of what the labour movement has always been about. He lived it every day. All he really asked for was a fair deal – to be treated honestly and with respect for who he was, what he knew, and what he could do. And in return, he expected, always, to give his best, with integrity and with diligence, and with fairness.
At its heart, that’s what the labour movement is striving for as well. It’s not there yet. But if it cherishes and builds on these simple principles, I believe it will continue to make things better for us all. Now, if we could only instill these same concepts in our corporations and our governments we’d really have something to be proud of. (You’ll notice it’s not about money – never has been).
So, in the true spirit of Labour Day, here’s a song for my Dad. I’m sure he would have liked it. It gives me goose bumps.