Labour & Unions
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.
An Illustrated History
In 1990 the steam locomotive Samson was relocated to its current home in Stellarton’s Museum of Industry, where it was dismantled, conserved, re-assembled and put on display as the centerpiece of the Museum’s permanent collection. It is now the oldest surviving locomotive in Canada, and one of the oldest in the world. Samson, Hercules and John Buddle arrived in Nova Scotia in September 1839, the most conspicuous evidence yet that this British North American province had joined the industrial revolution. Ten fascinating essays, in this richly illustrated volume, detail Nova Scotia’s industrial history. Ranging from coal, steel, and iron to ropeworks and railways, this work reminds us of our rich and diverse industrial heritage. One of the central themes that emerges is the persistent role of external capital in Nova Scotia’s industrial development. From the British-owned General Mining Association in the 1820s to the American-owned TrentonWorks in our own day, foreign ownership has prevailed. The human impact of industrialization, forming the second main theme of the collection, is discussed in chapters by Janet Guildford and Michael Earle. Women, Guildford notes, were “downwardly mobile in the face of industrialization.” Meanwhile, Earle recounts the building of a steel union local in Sydney, the first important breakthrough for industrial unionism in the Canadian steel industry. Other chapters focus on lesser-known passages of our industrial history, including stone quarrying and rope manufacture. Contents: Introduction James E. Candow and Debra McNabb-The Iron Works of Londonderry, 1848-1910 William D. Naftel-The Building of Steel Union Local 1064, Sydney, 1935-37 Michael Earle-Coal in the History of Nova Scotia Michael Earle-An Introduction to Nova Scotia’s Industrial Railways Robert D. Tennant, Jr.-Stone Quarrying in Wallace Peter Latta-Dartmouth Ropeworks, 1869-1958 James D. Frost-The Rise and Fall of Industrial Amherst, 1860-1930 Nolan Reilly-Wooden World to Tourist Gateway: Yarmouth in the 1880s and 1890s Margaret J. Dixon and Delphin A. Muise-The Role of Women in Nova Scotia’s Industrial Revolution Janet Guildford-Heritage Recording of the Starr Manufacturing Company Premises, Dartmouth Anthony D. Barlow
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.
Globalization and the Casual Labour Problem in Canada
More and more people in Canada and other Western countries are now working at part-time, short-term and other casual jobs. People are now asking: What happened to full-time employment? Why is part-time work being promoted by business people and politicians as a positive thing? Situated historically, the restructuring of global capital and labour markets does not paint such a rosy picture. This book explains the contemporary casualization of work as integral to global economic restructuring. Hence, the increase in casual work is not simply a reflex of the expansion of the service sector, or of women’s post-second world war re-entry into paid employment, but is tied to a business agenda aimed at improving corporate profitability and controlling labour. A discussion of more democratic alternatives to the hollow society concludes the book.