Mayday is the day each year when workers around the world celebrate working-class movements and commemorate our historic struggles for a living wage, safe working conditions, and reduced work time. This issue of Dimension analyzes Wisconsin’s magnificent protest movement to defend public sector unionism, the campaign of Ontario’s Coalition Against Poverty to “raise the rates” and Hamilton’s Steel Workers Local 1005 battle to protect workers’ pensions.
This issue also offers a special focus on precarious work, by far the fastest growing category – comprising 35-40 percent – of all jobs in Canada. They pay way less, draw no benefits, call in workers only as needed, and they are non-union. No wonder employers favour them. Our articles cover a wide array of precarious labour, from tree planters to care givers and from students to temp work.
This past year has been an extraordinarily active one for labour and social movements in Canada. Harsha Walia gives an inspiring account of the campaigns for environmental justice, boycott divestment sanctions to end Israeli apartheid, shutting down the tar sands and the Enbridge pipeline, the nine month strike against the mining giant Vale, the protests against police brutality and racist immigration policies; and the establishment of workers assemblies, the rise of a young feminist movement, independent media including participatory media through media co-ops, bookfairs, legal defense networks such as the Movement Defense Committee, organic gardens and farms, autonomous peer-run safe spaces and drop-ins for street and queer/trans youth.