All Together Now!

Red banner, central grey panel with illustration of large Victorian building with parade of people outside, holding at the front a red banner, at the top and bottom of the panel is white text, below the text at the top is a red and white logo of two shaking hands under a range of tools
Workers Arts and Heritage Centre Banner by Carole Condé and Karl Beveridge

Labour union banners demonstrate collective strength. Carried in parades, brandished at protests, and hung in union halls, they convey messages of common purpose, pride, unity, and the dignity of work.

The earliest labour banners were used to identify groups of workers who did the same job. Recurring images such as shaking hands symbolizing unity and solidarity have appeared on banners across time, and around the world. More recently, banners have demonstrated solidarity with broader social justice issues and struggles, including those of fellow workers. 

A banner’s beauty and construction communicated a worker’s pride and the dignity in their work; they were often made with great care and at great expense, intricately and colourfully sewn and painted by skilled artists and regalia makers. In contrast, other banners were made of humble materials. Because banners are made of textile, unions could add, remove, or adjust information on a banner to reflect organizational change. From a patch containing new information added to a banner, to embroidered information carefully ripped out and replaced, changes provide important clues about both banners’ uses, and their users, over time.


Black and white photo of women demonstrating in the street, some are holding placards

The ILGWU in Canada

The International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union was known for its social unionism, bringing education, co-operative housing, immigration support, and recreational opportunities to its members.

A discoloured long, vertical, white banner with a blue fringe across the bottom, and text in blue and black relating to ILGWU union, and what the union, and the label on the banner, symbolize, an image of a needle and thread crosses behind the logo in the centre.

A long horizontal dirty white banner with a circular yellow logo with blue writing with JOBS in the middle with a fist punching through the O, HAMILTON UNION OF UNEMPLOYED in blue around the edge of the logo, and again in large capitals across the centre of the banner
Hamilton Union of the Unemployed Banner. 1980s, cotton canvas and paint


A man leans on a chair or sofa in front of him (almost out of shot) with his hands and lower arms crossed in front of him, he has grey hair and glasses.

Hank Wong and USW Local 4488

Read about Hank Wong, a WWII veteran, and an important figure in both the history of USW Local 4488, and Chinese-Canadian history

A banner made of shiny fabric, most of the background is red with a black band across the top with LOCAL 4488 and LOCAL 2771 on each side in gold, across the bottom LONDON CANADA, in the middle a logo with union initials and a standing workman, each side of the logo is a gold maple leaf


  • Banner, Energy and Chemical Workers Union
  • Banner, International Union of Electrical Radio & Machine Workers
  • Banner, Journeymen Tailors Union of America, ACWA Local 132
  • Banner, Cloak & Skirt Pressers Union, ILGWU Local 92
  • Banner, Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America, Toronto Joint Board and Affiliated Locals 132, 211, 212, 216, 219, 222, 233, 235

Read the stories behind the banners:

  • Dominion Regalia
  • Unions of Unemployed
  • Service Workers’ Unions and the Royal York Strike
  • Carole Condé and Karl Beveridge
  • Photo Story: Labour Day