Thank you, thank you, thank you for your editorial, "On Labour Day, consider modern workplace" (The Record, Sept. 2).
It was timely and well-written to connect the past with today's working world. As you pointed out, it is far to easy to think that the need for labour unions is no longer with us in 2011.
This writer has a number of personal connections to your editorial: first, that my two grandfathers were part of the labour movement. One was a griever for railroad workers; the other a business agent for the electricians union.
Second, as a Franklin D. Roosevelt historian, F.D.R. helped the working men and women throughout the U.S. In 1935 the president signed the Wagner Act, giving workers the right to form unions and engage in collective bargaining, followed by the standard work week legislation for 44 hours per week (changed to 40 hours in 1950).
However, I am even more proud to live in Canada because of its progressive attitude towards workers and workers' unions: it was in 1872 that the Canadian Parliament passed the Trade Union Act in 1872, legalizing unions. In 1944, Canada established a national system of labour relations laws, from a labour relations board, certification of unions, goodfaith collective bargaining, to prohibitions on unfair labour practices. Abolished at the close of the war, similar legislation was then enacted nationwide in 1948.
It was in the third paragraph of your editorial that gave me pause: "Sure, there are some workers on shift schedules with longer days - like nurses, doctors (much, MUCH, longer), and air traffic controllers. " I am employed in nursing support at a downtown Vancouver hospital. Hospitals are not on a nine-to-five schedule but open 24/7. Thanks for recognizing nursing who, along with paramedics, fire, police and other hospital support staff like lab, blood bank, security, housekeeping, etc., are there when you need us. Even on Labour Day.
Scott Larsen, New Westminster