Aug 22, 2013 03:18 PM
Young workers today face many challenges in the workplace.
Entering the workplace is the first challenge. The youth employment rate is almost double the national average, at 13.6 per cent. You hear stories all the time of new graduates who are unable to find work in their field. Unpaid internships and short term coop placements are the norm.
Job insecurity is rampant. Many young workers have to work two or three jobs to make ends meet. Part time and contract work is common.
Soaring housing prices, lack of affordable child care and crippling levels of student debt for graduates mean putting off starting a family for many, and struggling just to get by for others.
These were just some of the issues identified by young workers at the Canadian Union of Public Employees’ first ever young workers strategy session. The three day meeting brought together over 60 young people from all across Canada to have their voices heard and discuss getting young people involved in the labour movement.
There is a perception amongst union activists that young people today are apathetic and don’t care about unions. The conversations had over those three days however, showed that young people are ready to get involved and they want to take action.
The words below are taken directly from the quotes of young people participating from across Canada. They remind us of the vital work that trade unions do on behalf of all society.
In a world where the role of unions is constantly questioned and attacked, these young workers spoke to the heart of the matter of why unions matter.
This meeting was part of CUPE’s ongoing work to engage young workers and honour the Year of the New and Young worker. For more information http://cupe.ca/youngworkers