One of the greatest stories in world labour history is the fight for the 8-hour day;
In the early 1800’s, a normal work week in Canada and the U.S. was 14 to 16 hours a day, 7 days a week;
Canadian workers went on strike in 1834 for a 10 hour day, and again in 1872 for a 9 hour day. By the late 1800’s, workers began to organize and challenge employers to further reduce working hours to 8 hours per day;
On May 1, 1886, workers of the world tried simultaneous strikes and other job actions;
Some were killed, including policemen. Others were forced to pay the price, whether they were involved or not;
Over one hundred years ago, in 1894, the Canadian government proclaimed the first Monday in September as Labour Day, a statutory holiday;
To this day, workers of the world commemorate May 1 and the fight for the 8-hour day in Chicago.
When workers stand up together for fairness:
Working time is reduced to improve work-life balance;
Processes are put in place for a fairer allocation of working hours and holidays;
Overtime is paid at 1.5 times and even more;
But most provinces still don’t have an 8-hour work day;
In some provinces, the normal work week remains at 48 hours a week, and full-time employees still work, on average, more than 40 hours a week in many provinces.