By Jerry Dias, Unifor National President TORONTO, Sept. 1, 2013 /CNW/ - Labour Day is a chance to spend time with friends and family one last weekend before summer closes and the rich colours of fall are upon us, to reflect on the good fortune in our lives and the fruits of our labour. And we have a lot to be grateful for in Canada. We live in a beautiful country, full of good people who believe in caring for one another. This weekend, I was honoured to be elected president of Unifor, which brought together two great Canadian unions - the Canadian Auto Workers union and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers union. Canada's largest union in the private sector with more than 300,000 members in every region of Canada and every sector of its economy, Unifor is a reflection of Canadian society, and Canadian values. I come to this job after 35 years in the labour movement, beginning as a shop steward at the de Havilland Aircraft plant (now Bombardier Aerospace) in 1978. My father, a Guyanese immigrant, worked at that plant too, and was also a committed union activist, while my mother worked in another factory. I've seen struggles, and I've seen hope. I've seen workers come together in the belief that by joining hands they could make their workplaces and their communities better places - and then I've seen them do just that. That's what inspires me and that's what Unifor is all about. We celebrate labour this holiday weekend by giving working people an extra day off to spend with friends and family. After all, it is for friends and family that we labour in the first place. To provide good lives while we raise our children, in the hopes that they will have a secure future and a reason to be optimistic about their lives.