Fight Back

Work Place Justice for Immigrants

By Aziz Choudry, Jill Hanley, Steve Jordan, Eric Shragge and Martha Stiegman  

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Displacement of people, migration, immigration and the demand for labour are connected to the fundamental restructuring of capitalism and to the reduction of working class power through legislation to free the market from “state interference.” The consequence is that a large number of immigrant and temporary foreign workers face relentless competition and little in the way of protection in the labour market. Globally and in Canada, immigrant workers are not passive in the face of these conditions: they survive and fight back. This book documents their struggles and analyses them within the context of neoliberal globalization and the international and national labour markets. Fight Back grew out of collaboration between a group of university-affiliated researchers who are active in different social movements and community organizations in partnership with the Immigrant Workers Centre in Montreal. The book shares with us the experiences of immigrant workers in a variety of workplaces. It is based on the underlying belief that the best kind of research that tells “how it really is” comes from the lived experience of people themselves.


  • Introduction
  • Context
  • Becoming an Immigrant Worker
  • Access to Social Rights
  • Seasonal Agricultural Workers
  • Live-In Caregiver Program
  • Survival and the Fight Back
  • Bibliography


  • Aziz Choudry

    McGill University

    Aziz Choudry is assistant professor in the Department of Integrated Studies in Education at McGill University, Montreal. With lengthy experience as a social and political activist, educator and researcher, he currently serves on the boards of the Immigrant Workers Centre (Montreal) and the Global Justice Ecology Project.

  • Jill Hanley

    McGill University

    Jill Hanley comes to McGill after having studied in Montreal, Boston and Brussels, having benefited from an interdisciplinary education. Her research today focuses on community organizing and social policy as they intersect with people’s immigration status, and she is pleased to be involved in several research teams around this broad topic. She remains active in Montreal-based community organizations, particularly the Immigrant Workers’ Centre. Jill is interested in working with students who are interested in bridging the community-university divide.

  • Steve Jordan

    Steve Jordan is associate professor and chair of the department of Integrated Studies in Education at McGill University. Steve’s areas of teaching and research interest include qualitative research methods, participatory action research, adult education and sociology of education. His research focuses on exploring how forms of action and participatory research can be used to enhance the learning of adults and aboriginal peoples in Canada. He is currently involved in two research projects that employ these methodologies. One focuses on the informal learning experiences of immigrant workers in the Montreal labour market, while the second is a participatory evaluation of an after-school program with the Cree Nation of Wemindji. Steve has published several articles on various aspects of adult education in, Societies and Education, International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, McGill Journal of Education and Journal of Vocational Education and Training.

  • Eric Shragge

    Concordia Univeristy

    Eric Shragge is the Principal of the School of Commuity and Public Affairs at Concordia University. His research interests include community economic development, workfare, and social economy. His publications include Community Economic Development: Building for Social Change with Michael Taye, Cape Breton University Press, 2006; Action Communautaire: derieves and possibilities, Eco-Societe, 2006, Activism and Social Change: Lessons for Commuity and Local Organizing, Broadview Press, 2003.

  • Martha Stiegman

    Concordia University

    Martha Stiegman is a Maritime-bred, Montreal-based filmmaker and PhD candidate at Concordia University. Her documentary film, In the Same Boat?(2007) examines grounds for solidarity between Mi’kmaq and non-native communities in the fight against the Privatization of the Nova Scotia Fisheries. []

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