Labour & Unions

  • The Guy in the Green Truck

    John St. Amand – A Biography

    By James N. McCrorie     August 2009

    Few mature men and women choose to abandon secure employment with handsome health and retirement benefits for a cause and an uncertain future. This biographical memoir is about a man who did just this, abandoning a promising career as a sociologist at Mohawk College in Hamilton, Ontario, for the turbulent life of union organizer in Nova Scotia.

    In one of his first organizing campaigns, John St. Amand crisscrossed industrial Cape Breton signing up workers to the new Canadian Miner’s Union and became known as “the guy in the green truck.” Archie Kennedy, a miner who worked with John, said, “It is difficult for ‘mainlanders’ to penetrate the culture of Cape Breton and to be accepted by Cape Bretoners as one of their own. John St. Amand did exactly that.” He had a great ability to communicate with people.

    St. Amand’s life became a testament to those who choose to advance the cause of the underdog in the hope of building a better society for us all. This book is a tribute to a courageous fighter who worked tirelessly to bring hope and justice to those most oppressed and neglected in our society. His courage, daring, incorrigible sense of mischief and his dedication to working men and women all combined to banish any thought of defeat in the face of lost campaigns.

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    A Roseway Book
  • Mining Town Crisis

    Globalization, Labour and Resistance in Sudbury

    Edited by David Leadbeater     September 2008

    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.

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  • The Dirt

    Industrial Disease and Conflict at St. Lawrence, Newfoundland

    By Rick Rennie     April 2008

    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.

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  • Capitalism Rebooted?

    Work, Welfare, and the New Economy

    Edited by Wayne Antony and Dave Broad     January 2006

    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.

  • Collective Bargaining in Canada (second edition)

    Human Rights or Canadian Illusion? (2nd Edition)

    By Derek Fudge     December 2005

    “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

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  • My Union, My Life

    Jean-Claude Parrot and the Canadian Union of Postal Workers

    By Jean-Claude Parrot     January 2005

    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.”

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  • Women Fishes These Days

    By Brenda Grzetic     January 2004

    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.

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  • Stickin’ to the Union

    Local 2224 vs. John Buhler

    By Doug Smith     December 2003

    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.

  • John Saville

    Memoirs from the Left

    By John Saville     January 2003

    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.

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  • Industry and Society in Nova Scotia

    An Illustrated History

    Edited by James E. Candow     January 2001

    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

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