Influenza Pandemic Masked Typist

Nobody ever wanted or expected to find the world in the situation it is as we face perhaps one of the greatest challenges in over one-hundred years. Just over one-hundred years ago the world reeled after a devastating world war directly into an influenza pandemic that killed millions.

The front line shifted from the battlefront to places of care. One hundred years ago these places of care were not the places of care we see today where modern day practices, emergency responders and skilled healthcare workers trained in these modern techniques save lives that a century ago would have been lost.

The frontline of today, not so often talked about, but as we have found out is every bit as critical to our survival, is populated by the services and people we too often have taken for granted. Grocery store staff, truck and transport drivers, convenience store staff, postal workers, bank and financial institution staff, internet service provider workers, utility workers, sanitation workers and so many more providing services that our lives would be impossible without.

Experiencing life in a covid-19 shuttered workplace and talking about public services, Grey Bruce Labour Council President Kevin Smith, is hopeful of a change for the better that history aptly demonstrates often follows after humankind’s biggest challenges. Smith notes, “watching provincial leaders and federal leaders, the tone has changed drastically from the polarizing rhetoric of the last three to four decades and in some cases the months immediately preceding our current crisis. Much of the rhetoric until very recently manifested in vicious attacks on public service workers and repeal of legislation that would have helped vulnerable, precarious and part-time workers. To see the historically right wing, anti worker, pro-privatization, anti union politicians dropping all the vicious attack language and perhaps realizing that privatization will not stand up to the rigorous test of a national and international challenge is a hopeful moment in this rather dark time”.

Smith makes it clear that “he is no starry eyed optimist, but perhaps this global challenge will bring us back to a place of compromise instead of destructive polarization. Compromise and a realization that we accomplish more together than apart is what lead us to the greatest period of prosperity in history, that period of about thirty or so years immediately after World War Two”.

“For over sixty years, The Grey Bruce Labour Council has been the voice of workers in our region. The Council is fortunate to have all manner of public and private sector workers at our table”.

In looking back at these sixty plus years, Grey Bruce Labour Council VP for Bruce, Dave Trumble, says “the labour council and all of organized labour have consistently called for adequate funding of public services and a broadening of public services. As we progress through the covid-19 crisis holding the line in support of public services as much as possible will show that organized labour and our progressive partners have been correct all along and that government tax cuts to corporations at the expense of public services has been a disaster waiting for time to show itself”.

Grey Bruce Labour Council VP for Grey County, Chris Stephen, speaking about the countless people supporting us as in grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations, convenience stores, banks, etc. "They have deserved not only recognition for their vital work for years, but perhaps the time has come that their pay will be commensurate with their contribution. Perhaps the icing on the cake will take place after we have come through the crisis and these very same workers will find their way towards union representation that will help them hold on to gains made in and as result of the crisis as the memory of our current crisis begins to fade”.

Organized labour is a partner in getting all of through this crisis, but when it all said and done and it will eventually be all said and done, organized labour will be there to do everything possible to secure adequate funding for our public services and pay and protection for precarious, part-time and vulnerable workers.

“Let each of us do what is required of us to get us safely through the covid-19 crisis and do all we can to support those supporting us and preventing us from descending into anarchy”, says Smith.

source: media release, Grey Bruce Labour Council






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