Did you know? Here are a few facts about early union history in Canada, courtesy of the federal government:
Around 1860, the earliest Canadian unions were mostly craft unions composed of skilled workers such as tailors, shoemakers and printers. Today unions represent workers employed in a broad spectrum of industries and enterprises, including transportation, broadcasting, telecommunications, shipping, mining, education, healthcare, forestry, construction, public service, the retail and wholesale trade, and manufacturing.
? In 1872, the Government of Canada passed An Act Respecting Trade Unions designed to ensure that trade unions were regarded as lawful institutions under Canadian law rather than organizations in "restraint of trade" that were illegal.
? In 1873, Canada's first national central labour body, the Canadian Labour Union, held its first convention in Toronto. Forty-five delegates attended. Today the Canadian Labour Congress, Canada's largest union central, has more than three million members.
? In 1894, the Government of Canada created Labour Day through the introduction of legislation that made the first Monday in September a national holiday. Labour Day is a time to spend with family and friends and is a celebration of the social and economic contributions workers make to Canadian society.
Source: Human Resources and Skills Development Canada website, www.hrdsc.gc.ca