United we stand – The Royal Gazette


Created: Sep 10, 2022 07:57

On September 5, people celebrated Labor Day in the United States of America, Canada and Bermuda. We could be here all day listing the gains for workers that organized labor has brought, but here are a few:

• Job security

• Maternity leave

• Paternity leave

• Sickness benefits

• Vacation pay

• Pension

• Health and security

• On-the-job training and progression

Suffice it to say that most employers would not voluntarily grant these rights to workers.

The point of being in business is to make a profit. However, some employers, not all, have always believed that profits should always come before the basic needs and rights of workers; the constant refrain being that any gain awarded to the workers would cost the company money and potentially put them out of business.

Nevertheless, all over the world, unions held firm – often at the cost of work stoppages, general strikes and, yes in the case of the coal miners in the north of England in the 1970s, outpourings of blood.

Closer to home, less than a century ago, agricultural workers in the Caribbean had to unionize to earn a wage slightly above “slave” wages. Here in Bermuda in the 1940s, American naval base workers suffered unfair and unequal wages.

In 1944, this led to the formation of a labor organization, initially known as the Bermuda Workers Association. Edited by Edgar Fitzgerald Gordon, PhD.

The BWA then evolved into the Bermuda Industrial Union in 1947.

Batting Partners

Just as businesses and corporations had their political arms to achieve their goals, every union needed legislation put on the table to make gains for its workers and the population at large. What better than to form their own political parties.

Whether it is the British Labor Party, the Australian Labor Party, the Labor Party of Saint Kitts and Nevis or the Progressive Labor Party, there are historical and binding links between global labor movements and progressive politics that have improved worker well-being over the past 100 years. years.

Undeniably, every worker, whether unionized or not, has directly or indirectly benefited from the relationship between unions and labor political parties. Indeed, it was a winning partnership.

United we stand.

Christopher Famous is the Government MP for Devonshire East (Constituency 11). You can reach him on WhatsApp at 599-0901 or by email at [email protected]

Ottiwell Simmons brought together organized labor and political influence for the good of all Bermuda (file photo)


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