To most people of my generation, a full time, unionized job with benifits sounds like a pipe dream, let alone a job that will last us until we retire. Most of us these days are in contract jobs or part-time positions that force us to keep focused on keeping a job (or finding one) and less on what our rights are as workers. For young people, particularly people with disabilities, there is an underlying notion that we should feel lucky to even have a job, and basically just suck it up and be a good employee if you want to keep it.
Where did the idea of good jobs go? Is it just an idea? There are still good jobs out there, but most of us do not have access. The methods of governments over the last several decades have privatized public jobs traditionally held by youth, forcing youth to find explotive underpaying jobs. This limits youth exposure to unions, and there access to information on worker’s rights.
In the case of youth with disabilities, those that do find jobs often do so through employment services that offer low wage, low skill jobs regardless of the person’s education. The people working for the youth are likely making more than the positions they offer. Profiting off the backs of young people with disabilities in a nice neat neoliberal view of employability that still maintains the oppression of people with disabilities by treating them like charity cases.
My point is, if we don’t pass down the knowledge of worker’s rights we will lose those rights. With the older workforce coming into retirement, and a neww work force coming in with little knowledge of their rights or how they were attained, it is the perfect recipe for an exploted young workforce.
These rights were not given to us freely by the good hearts of employees and politicians, they were fought for. Those coming into the workforce need to learn to fight for themselves, especially those most vulnerable. Unions are not dead, striking still works, we need to be aware. There are people profiting off the belief that good jobs for young people are impossible, we’ve been taught to think this way.
There is a particularly strong movement going on in Sudbury right now. The Vale Inco strike has been called the tipping point that will make or break worker’s rights in Canada,
A March and Rally is being held on Thursday, April 29th in support of those workers, and to support workers rights in Canada.
Join them at the Sheraton Centre Hotel on Queen Street at 1:15pm, they will be marching to Queens Park for the rally at 2:00 pm.
For more infomation on worker’s rights check out the Young Worker Awareness Program
For more information on the Vaale Inco Strike check out: http://www.FairDealNOW.ca