Workers’ Rights, Human Rights: Making the Connection

Conference to provide a forum for the labour and human rights communities to explore labour rights as fundamental human rights

Ottawa - (Oct. 18, 2007) The Centre for Research on Work and Society (CRWS), a research unit associated with York University will be sponsoring a conference on November 16-17, 2007. The conference will provide a forum for the labour and human rights communities to explore labour rights as fundamental human rights.

“This is an important conference, not only for the labour movement, but for those who are interested in strengthening human rights protections in Canada”, noted NUPGE President James Clancy. “It provides an opportunity for us to build on the political and legal environment in Canada that recognizes labour rights as fundamental human rights”.

During the past quarter century or more, a time of increasing awareness of other human rights, the protection and promotion of workers’ rights in Canada has been in decline. Since 1982, our governments have passed 175 pieces of legislation that have restricted, suspended or denied collective bargaining rights for Canadian workers.

The conference comes at critical time for the Canadian labour movement – less than six months after the Supreme Court of Canada decision in June of this year which recognized collective bargaining as a constitutional right of all Canadian workers. The Supreme Court decision offered very positive and powerful language recognizing the legitimacy of labour rights as human rights in Canada.

“This is one of the most important court decisions for the labour movement in 25 years’, according to Clancy. ”We need to recognize however that we can’t just simply rely on the benefits of a court to make us a stronger, larger labour movement. We need to continue our labour rights are human rights campaign and ensure that progressive labour law reform remains central focus of our political agenda. I think the CRWS conference will be an important step in helping build on the momentum that we have.”

Clancy will be one of several national and international union leaders who will speak at the conference. He will give an overview of the Labour Rights are Human Rights campaign that the National Union has led across Canada for the last several years and encourage those in attendance to become active participants in the campaign.

The conference will take place at the Best Western Primrose Hotel in Toronto. The full conference agenda and registration form is available on the CRWS website.


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