The North Simcoe Muskoka & District Labour Council (NSMDLC) held their annual Labour Day Picnic in Gravenhurst at the Muskoka Wharf on Sunday, with a free BBQ, raffles and giveaways, live music, and a special presentation by the Muskoka Indigenous Friendship Centre.
“Labour Day is always an important day for any worker in Ontario.” said NSMDLC President Mike De Rose, “But in 2023, with the affordability and housing crisis impacting almost everyone, workers really need to come together and advocate for things like real wage increases, paid sick time, and keeping our public services well funded and accessible to all people, no matter their income, no matter where they live in Ontario.”
Joining in for the first time this year was a group from the Muskoka Indigenous Friendship Centre, who led guests in a crash course in indigenous drumming and dancing. They shared stories, brought interesting material, and also had an inflatable archery range for kids and kids at heart.
The NSMDLC invited local politicians to come out to celebrate workers. They were happy to have been joined by District of Muskoka Councillor Tatiana Sutherland and Bracebridge’s Deputy Mayor, Brenda Rhodes.
“This isn’t a political event,” De Rose shared. “but showing up matters. People want to talk with their representatives. They want to see them at events in their neighbourhoods, not just at $500 a plate fundraisers. We’re so pleased that some were able to come and talk with people and enjoy the beautiful day.”
Local Unions and businesses donated food, prizes and raffle items, with one union, OPSEU, donating a new scooter (with safety equipment) for a special draw. All for no cost to guests of the picnic. A 50/50 draw was held with proceeds being donated to Gravenhurst Against Poverty.
“We want to give back to workers,” De Rose shared. “People work hard in this Province, and as of late they’ve had to work even harder. There’s not very many places that you can go where you’re not being sold something. We wanted to give people a chance to come down with their families, play some games, eat a little food, and just enjoy the end of the summer. We think we did that.”
The North Simcoe and Muskoka District Labour Council serves as a collective voice for workers in the region, representing a diverse range of local unions. Their mission is to promote social justice, workers’ rights, and equitable labor practices through advocacy, education, and collaboration with community partners.
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