- Topic: Labour & Unions
A Study in the Politics of Labour
Of political parties claiming socialism to be their aim, the Labour Party has always been one of the most dogmatic–not about socialism, but about the parliamentary system. This is not simply to say that the Labour Party has never been a party of revolution: such parties have normally been quite willing to use the opportu-nities the parliamentary system offered as one means of furthering their aims. It is rather that the leaders of the Labour Party have always rejected any kind of political action which fell, or which appeared to them to fall, outside the framework and conventions of the parliamentary system. The Labour Party has been a party deeply imbued by parliamentarism. And in this respect, there is no distinction to be made between Labour’s political and its industrial leaders. Both have been equally determined that the Labour Party should not stray from the narrow path of parliamentary politics.
The Labour Party remains, in practice, what it has always been–a party of modest social reform in a capital-ist system within whose confines it is ever more firmly and by now irrevocably rooted.
“One of the seminal texts of the British New Left.” –Leo Panitch
Globalization, Labour and Resistance in Sudbury
Sudbury is the largest hardrock mining centre in North America and among the largest in the world. Given the enormous mineral wealth that exists in the Sudbury Basin, one might think that prosperity would abound and that cultural, educational, health and social-welfare institutions would be of the highest order, existing within a well-maintained and attractive physical infrastructure. But this is not the Sudbury that people know. This book explores key aspects of Sudbury’s economic, health and social conditions. It analyzes how globalization and corporate power in a hinterland mining town have impacted on working people, how and why resistance has emerged and why alternative directions are needed. While Sudbury is the focus of this book, the Sudbury experience offers important lessons for other mining and resource communities.
Industrial Disease and Conflict at St. Lawrence, Newfoundland
In the cemeteries of St. Lawrence and several neighbouring towns on the south coast of Newfoundland lie the remains of some 200 workers, killed by the dust and radiation that permeated the area’s fluorspar mines. The Dirt chronicles the many forces that created this disaster and shaped the response to it, including the classic ‘jobs or health’ dilemma, the contentious process of determining the nature and extent of industrial disease and the desire of employers to ‘externalize’ the costs of production onto workers and communities. Central to the account is the persistent effort by workers, women in the community and other activists to gain recognition of health hazards in the mines, their effects on workers and to obtain adequate compensation for victims and their families.
Work, Welfare, and the New Economy
The so-called New Economy, based on huge advances in information and communication technologies, economic globalization and neoliberalism, promised to expand economic opportunities and growth, provide stimulating and well-paid jobs, reduce inequalities and develop the Third World. But the experiences of the past two decades have hardly been positive for workers and their families. While there have been significant economic and workplace changes, these changes have not been the boon to working people that was predicted. In fact, as the authors of this book show, there is significant unemployment and underemployment, including for knowledge workers. Management strategies continue to be authoritarian, and work presents new dangers to our health. Meanwhile, social services have been ripped apart. “New Economy” is simply the name being given to current attempts to reboot a very old and exploitative economic system. However, there are signs a truly new economy is possible, as trade unions, working people and progressive social movements continue the struggle for social justice.
Human Rights or Canadian Illusion? (2nd Edition)
“Canada’s reputation as an international champion of human rights falls appallingly short when it comes to the question of workers’ rights. While we are among the first nations to sign international labour conventions, too often we break them when they prove inconvenient at home. This timely and valuable publication chronicles a list of these abuses, and challenges us as a nation to reclaim our once shining international reputation.” –ED BROADBENT, FORMER MP
Jean-Claude Parrot and the Canadian Union of Postal Workers
Jean-Claude Parrot was National President of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers for fifteen years and its chief negotiator for eighteen. During that time he provided the leadership which built what became Canada’s most militant and democratic union. When Pierre Trudeau decided to make the post office a crown corporation Parrot was there to guide the transition. He was also there to oversee the merger of the various postal unions into “one union for all.”
As the fisheries have dramatically changed in Newfoundland and Labrador, so has the work and learning experiences of women fishers. Restructuring, work and learning are not gender neutral. Women Fishes These Days explores women’s lives in the restructured fishery, their workload and work responsibilities, work relations, professionalization and training. It also, through a series of interviews with women fishers, looks at the impact on their identity, their autonomy and, particularly, their health.
Local 2224 vs. John Buhler
Stickin’ to the Union tells the story of the nine-month battle that the workers at Versatile Industries fought with their employer, the eccentric millionaire John Buhler, in the winter of 2001. Buhler, who had just bought the Versatile tractor plant with a $32-million government loan, provoked a strike by demanding a gutting of benefits and seniority provisions in the union contract. The union surprised all by charging Buhler with bargaining in bad faith and won a $6-million dollar labour-board victory.
Memoirs from the Left
John Saville has been one of the most influential writers of the second half of the twentieth century in the field of British Labour History. He was a Professor of Economic and Social History at the University of Hull. He has written or edited over twenty books including 1848, The Consolidation of the Capitalist State, and the Dictionary of Labour Biography. His political memoirs touch upon: • Early life; joining the Communist Party at the LSE, travels in France and Nazi Germany • Stories of war service as an Anti-Aircraft Gunnery Sergeant-Major • WW2 army life in India–colonialism and the Communist Party • Teaching at the Department of Economic History at the University of Hull • Deeply involved in the crisis of the British Communist Party in 1956, following the Soviet invasion of Hungary • Acquaintances and co-thinkers: the MI5 agent planted at his home in Hull, John Griffith, Stuart Hall, Philip Larkin, Doris Lessing, Ralph Miliband, Sir John Pratt, Raphael Samuel, E.P. Thompson • Working against America’s Cold War politics • Editing the Dictionary of Labour Biography and the Socialist Register • Life in Hull, perspectives on the rightward drift of Labour An engaging read that provides much insight on the life of John Saville, his writings and his impact on the thinking of The Left.
Working Classes, Global Realities
Managers want new workers who can be used casually-people scared and disciplined by lacking a secure job. Restricting workers’ skills and depriving workers of opportunities to learn and to organize makes for a more dependent and docile work force. Unions are not welcome. Blairs, Clintons and Schroeders may believe that their policies are working, and that opportunities are growing for ‘everyone’ but class exploitation and oppression remain facts of life in the new century. Socialist Register 2001 examines the concept and the reality of class as it effects workers at the beginning of the 21st Century. Theoretical contributions explore: today’s old and new working classes, workers ‘north’ and ‘south’, peasants and workers, gender and the working class, migrant workers, tele-working. Other essays examine critically important regional experiences in East Asia, India, South Africa, Brazil, Iran, Russia, Europe and North America.