Canadian Labour Congress President Bea Bruske addressed the 40th IAM Grand Lodge Convention with a message on the strength and solidarity of workers in the U.S. and Canada.

“We know that the IAM in Canada has been fighting for Canadian families for more than 100 years,” said Bruske. “You fought for jobs, PPE, health and safety, and strong collective bargaining agreements.”

She thanked IAM members in Canada for leading the charge in advocating for workers as the world encounters new technology and companies are starting to use artificial intelligence in the Machinists Union’s heaviest industries: manufacturing, aerospace, air transportation, and health care.

Bruske also praised the Machinists Union’s efforts in fighting for worker protections from the Canadian parliament.

“Your participation is legendary,” said Bruske. “You’re always the biggest and most well-prepared delegation in Parliament.”

She emphasized labour’s victories in Canada, citing legislation the Machinists Union advocated for.

“Together we won the Pay Equity Law, making sure that women are paid on an equal level with the men they are working beside,” said Bruske. “We won a $15 per hour federal minimum wage that is indexed to inflation so that workers don’t continuously fall behind. We won billions of dollars in emergency benefits to help workers stay afloat during the Pandemic, and we won 10 days of paid sick time at the federal level so that workers don’t have to choose between their health and their communities’ health when they go to work.”

Bruske said that there is still much left to be done. “We are just getting started,” said Bruske. “We’ve got some really big fights ahead of us, and there’s nothing that this President of the CLC would rather have than an army of IAM members standing right next to me.”

Bruske called on Machinists members to fight for good jobs that work for working families, better employment insurance benefits, a stronger social safety net, expansion of Canada’s public health care system, climate action, and outlawing companies from hiring strike-breakers.

Bruske also called attention to the cultural opportunity labour is meeting right now.

“This is our moment for organizing,” said Bruske. “This is the time for every single union to prioritize organizing to ensure that every single worker gets the rights, privileges, benefits, and the dignity at work that comes with signing on the line of their union card. We have to grow our union density, and we have to grow our movement.”

Bruske expressed that turning dues-paying members into committed union activists is the most important element in building the labour movement.

“Our members, when they’re engaged, shape the direction of the countries we live in.”