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Sign up for our email newsletter and get our news and analysis delivered on the regular. I can honestly say that despite the tens of millions of dollars squandered in those efforts, the lives of workers have seldom been improved as a consequence. What gives an outside union like Unifor (Canadian-based or not) the right to try to sign-up members of another union? This crisis will severely affect labour councils. 1. There needs to be an honest assessment of what we should look and feel like a decade from now. The CLC Constitution Article 5.4 also calls for every one of those unions to ensure their locals are affiliated to federations and labour councils, but there is a silent wall of refusal to enforce that part of the constitution. John Cartwright, the President of the Toronto and York Region Labour Council, Canada’s largest labour council, has written an open letter to the union movement which summarize key issues that need to be debated, addressed, and resolved in order to move forward. Some of the difficult dynamics we face in a time of Donald Trump and global trade deals can only be addressed by an honest conversation about this issue, and a commitment of every union to develop robust structures that reflect their unique realities and strengths. It was bitter and divisive. But they might not spend much time talking about the history of Canada’s labour movement or their basic rights under existing labour laws – in much of Canada, this history has been glossed over or ignored, leading some academics to conclude “the Canadian worker has been a neglected figure in Canadian history.” Some will opt to keep Unifor delegates and locals active, others will seek to remove them. Many students in Canada will be heading back to school after Labour Day. I have been both an antagonist and on the receiving end of raids, and both the Carpenters and Labourers have come under CLC sanction for raiding. As we struggle with each other to find solutions to the current crisis, a vision of a powerful, effective, inclusive union movement of the future needs to arise. These donations help to pay our bills, and honorariums for some of our writers, photographers and graphic artists. In this podcast, McDermott, who has been exploring the labour movement and its impact on women’s rights for 40 years, discusses the Eaton’s Strike, its place in Canada’s history and impact on the labour movement. It is a cautionary tale. This open letter is intended as an urgent call for leaders in our movement, at every level, to strive to find a solution to this potential rupture before it becomes irreparable. The topic of union renewal is full of landmines, but absolutely necessary. The history of the Canadian labour movement is a history of fragmentation. Non-union workers and their families see our collective impact in their own cities, towns or regions. At the national level NAFTA calls for our urgent attention. 4. A crisis has suddenly erupted within the Canadian labour movement, falling along old divisions of the movement’s archaic organizational structure, and assisted by the lack of any strategic focus or signs of even modest political ambitions beyond self-preservation in either the labour central or any of its affiliates. the invulnerability of Canada's private sector union movement because it failed to distinguish private from public sector markets, union movements, and industrial relations systems.2Therefore, instead of diverging, trends in private sector density have been similar in Canada and the United States except that the US 'led the way'. At the launch, the class direction became clear. Since its adoption, the Article 4 process has generally worked, but there is always the pressure by powerful affiliates to limit its application. Even so, he says there are obstacles the labor movement faces. It took more than ten years for the trades to return to the CLC. On January 17th, 2018 the Canadian labour movement was plunged into a crisis with the exit of Unifor from the Canadian Labour Congress and the launching of raids on bargaining units of UNITEHERE Local 75. Unifor and the Detroit Three. As part of leadership of central labour bodies for a quarter century, I have seen the best and worst of our behaviour, and learned how hard it is to build and maintain solidarity among diverse unions and competing interests. Now is the time to have a fierce debate across the entire CLC family about what “organizing to scale” would actually look like in the face of dramatic changes to the nature of work. Meeting these requires organized labour to reclaim its historic role as the progressive voice of all working people, and as an active participant in broader struggles for social justice. I work with and admire many colleagues in the United States, who are hamstrung by organizational and political decisions made by past generations. Founded in 1963, Canadian Dimension is a forum for debate on important issues facing the Canadian Left today, and a source for analysis of national and regional politics, labour, economics, world affairs and art. Only a handful have full time officers or staff – most are run by committed volunteers who juggle responsibilities in their own locals as well as try to run collective campaigns on a wide variety of issues. Our affiliates committed to campaigns that brought decisive victories on a number of fronts, from defending public services and industrial jobs to building a strong equity agenda and being a key component in the Bill 148 victory. My union was locked into a jurisdictional war with Labourers Local 183, a bitter fight that broke out into all-out raiding many times over three decades. What happens when a parent union disrupts the process and carries out reprisals against the member applying? That may be a longer term discussion, but we don’t get there without taking first steps in the right direction. Unifor’s disaffiliation from the CLC has massive implications for federations and labour councils across Canada – many have leaders from Unifor, and many rely on Unifor affiliation for their financial stability. Many of us know the benefits of working closely with our American colleagues who are leading tremendous struggles against overwhelming odds. I have been both an antagonist and on the receiving end of raids, and both the Carpenters and Labourers have come under CLC sanction for raiding. The labour and union movement has traveled a long since then road paved with substantial achievements and very good results. In response (or as a calculated decision from the outset), Unifor has announced its withdrawal from the Canadian Labour Congress, citing the inability of the Canadian labour central to provide a mechanism for the local’s membership to challenge the trusteeship and allow the members to decide in a democratic vote. How much power do U.S.-based International unions still have over their Canadian locals or sections? What happens when a parent union disrupts the process and carries out reprisals against the member applying? Provides a comprehensive understanding of the contemporary structure, issues, and perceptions of labour unions and other forms of working-class organization and social movements. On the eve of the war, Canada was suffering an economic depression, resulting in high unemployment. •. Formidable challenges face Canada’s labour movement. Our mission at Portside is to seek out and to provide information that empowers you -- that empowers the left. The legitimacy of North American labour unions is being called into question. I have bargained with multinational companies and family-owned shops, with public sector bodies and politicians at every level of government. They were assigned to a task force appointed after the convention, but at some point we should allow a full debate on this contentious issue. Unifor would face those same sanctions today if it had not disaffiliated. Many of us know the benefits of working closely with our American colleagues who are leading tremendous struggles against overwhelming odds. We are a long way from building the class struggle unionism and socialist movement needed in Canada to reverse the defeats of neoliberalism and democratize our society. This is not caused by a lack of rhetoric. Many years have passed since the formation of the first labour union in 1790 and since the establishment of the first international workingmen’s association in 1864. The letter, reproduced here, opens up space for a necessary and difficult dialogue. On the other hand, when we were able to undertake multi-union organizing drives in the construction industry during the 1990s, we succeeded in bringing union standards to thousands of members, and Toronto now enjoys the highest level of unionization in construction anywhere in North America outside of Quebec. 3 Credit Hours Levels: Undergraduate Other long-simmering issues (parallel to the split in the late 1990s over similar issues involving CAW and SEIU) organizational issues have been raised in this critical moment. They revolved around workforce rivalries, the relationship with the NDP, union democracy and Canadian autonomy. 2. Some of the difficult dynamics we face in a time of Donald Trump and global trade deals can only be addressed by an honest conversation about this issue, and a commitment of every union to develop robust structures that reflect their unique realities and strengths. With the return of Gerald Yetman to the Presidency of the Nova Scotia Federation of Labour, the words of the movement will again reflect the real tradition of militancy. The recent split in the Canadian Labour Congress over organizational issues will inhibit the search to renew trade unions. Non-union workers and their families see our collective impact in their own cities, towns or regions. In a handful of cases workers left to join another union in an orderly fashion overseen by the CLC. As unions we can help to educate and empower our members so … On the other hand, when we were able to undertake multi-union organizing drives in the construction industry during the 1990s, we succeeded in bringing union standards to thousands of members, and Toronto now enjoys the highest level of unionization in construction anywhere in North America outside of Quebec. Students may not hold credit for both LABR 1290 (153.129) and the former 153.128. Some will explain how they have a culture of local autonomy and cannot force people to belong. What is most vital is that we continue to work together on key issues and campaigns, and maintain the strongest possible personal relationships with every union activist in our community. It took more than ten years for the trades to return to the CLC. Our affiliates committed to campaigns that brought decisive victories on a number of fronts, from defending public services and industrial jobs to building a strong equity agenda and being a key component in the Bill 148 victory. No matter how passionate or committed people are when they undertake raiding activity, at the end of the day it draws incredible resources away from our real task. Material of Interest to People on the Left, Dispatches From the Culture Wars - December 8, 2020, Secret Amazon Reports Expose the Company’s Surveillance of Labor and Environmental Groups, Rebirth of Auto? All content ©1963–2021 Canadian Dimension   |   Top of page, US fearmongering on China not rooted in facts, but racism, COVID long-haulers and the plight of unproductive bodies, Canada’s SMR ‘Action Plan’ banks on private sector nuclear pipe dreams, Socialism for today’s NDP, and today’s Canada, ‘Canada Since 1960: A People’s History’ Winnipeg book launch, Getting ready for the Tory storm in Manitoba. What happens if another union is intentionally supporting the application, hoping to be the beneficiary of a displacement application? What larger concerns remain with the operation of international unions? It is a cautionary tale. No group of workers should be held captive to an organization that does not serve their needs or respect their voice. The service sector has long been known, as the “Achilles heel of the labour movement” (Yates) due to its small base and susceptibility to employer hostility. After long and painful debates on how to end raiding, Article 4 was developed to offer workers a realistic option of fixing problems within their unions instead of seeking another home. Effective Labour Councils are crucial to the power of our movement. In 1891, localised labour parties were formed, by trade union members in the British colonies of Australia.They later amalgamated to form the Australian Labor Party (ALP). Labour Councils themselves will have to grapple with how they react. Our first priority must be organizing workers and reversing the decline of union density in our country. Since then, many internationals have gone through a process of creating Canadian structures, which has led to those unions being able to authentically represent the interests and distinct union culture of Canadian members. Fortunately, we have a different history, which includes a commitment to coalition work and a social democratic party that, despite its flaws, has been crucial to the extensive social policies and labour laws we enjoy. There will be some bruises and setbacks along the way. I am cautiously optimistic that the foundation of our labour movement is solid enough to allow us to survive, and grow. I have a deep foreboding of where this division can lead. Some of this will only become clear with results from the recertification process and others will remain muddy and disputed. Raiding has rightly been identified as a cancer in our movement. But there are clear examples of the best commitment – Steelworkers and Postal Workers require mandatory affiliation, as did CAW before the creation of Unifor. Bennett as an attempt to provide emergency relief, created unemployment relief camps where single men were offered room-and-board for physical labour [i]. That was won in 1974 after fierce controversy over Canadian autonomy and workers leaving their internationals to form Canadian unions. labor movement in the industrial revolution A labor union is a group of people within a particular job or industry that join together to fight for improved working conditions. Organized labour - Organized labour - The United States and Canada: Trade unionism in North America had its beginnings in a transition during the late 18th century from a mutualist/dependent to a free wage-labour system. If leaders let personal grievances or institutional rivalry dominate the discussion, we will fail, and it may take years to heal the damage. Click here for Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, and Part 6. Desmond Morton argues that the economic downturn was caused by overproduction, dismissing the common explanation of insufficient manufacturing ability. But as the most recent Ontario election results suggest, the Tim Hudak-style attack on organized labour can easily backfire. How the integrity of the process is safeguarded, and how top leaders around the CLC Executive choose to uphold that integrity will be a test to our movement and may be an essential element to resolving this crisis. In the coming months, every union in Ontario should be dedicating its full attention to helping bring union voice to hundreds of thousands of unrepresented workers using the tools of Bill 148. But by that time relationships had been permanently damaged, and very few labour councils or federations have been able to regain the active involvement of construction unions. Fortunately, we have a different history, which includes a commitment to coalition work and a social democratic party that, despite its flaws, has been crucial to the extensive social policies and labour laws we enjoy. Now is the time to have a fierce debate across the entire CLC family about what “organizing to scale” would actually look like in the face of dramatic changes to the nature of work. However, a union being Canadian is by itself no guarantee of progressive or effective practice. Yet it is clear that those practices are not universally applied. There is no reason for other unions to avoid an honest discussion on what is their obligation if the removal of Unifor from councils and federations results in crippling those crucial central labour bodies. 5. Unions in Canada suffered some setbacks in 2017. It is crucial for national unions that wish to enforce the removal of existing affiliates of labour council to ensure there is an alternative funding stream in place, by enforcing affiliation of all of their locals to labour councils. How can an individual union like Unifor simply leave the larger Canadian union central by decision of its leadership and National Executive Board, in order to avoid dealing with consequences of a raid, without consultation with its numerous locals or decision in convention, given that much of the membership has strong commitments to provincial federations and local councils? I was elected as a Representative of Carpenters Local 27 in December of 1982. Labour Councils themselves will have to grapple with how they react. The Effect of WWI on the Indian Independence Movement. 3. At the national level NAFTA calls for our urgent attention. It is the largest in the country, with resources and membership larger than many provincial federations. Nationalism and the Labour Movement in Canada Michael McDonell 301087870 Pol 222 Instructor Andrea Migone TA Nigel Kinney 28/07/12 1 Nationalism and the Labour Movement in Canada The founding of nation-states since the 17th century has been a decisive correlate to the rise of the capitalist mode of production. Sadly, that decade also saw a massive attack on the building trades across North America that devastated union density in construction. If leaders let personal grievances or institutional rivalry dominate the discussion, we will fail, and it may take years to heal the damage. How can the Canadian workers’ movement push forward in this era when unions and workers are taking such a beating in a spirit of solidarity, when such divisions between unions are happening? Sadly, that decade also saw a massive attack on the building trades across North America that devastated union density in construction. Or are there important reasons – based on internal union organizational issues and a direction being forced on the members of the Canadian local – to challenge the International’s control of the local? We need to fight for more labour law reform, including broader based bargaining so that precarious workers can have a vehicle in which to achieve dignity and economic justice. Modern labour parties originated from an increase in organising activities in Europe and European colonies during the 19th century, such as the Chartist movement in the United Kingdom during 1838–50.. If we do it right, we will emerge with a movement that is ready for the immense challenges of the years to come. It is in later years that workers started realizing their common interests as working class. In 2016, the United Nations adopted Target 8.7 as one of its Sustainable Development Goals, calling on all governments to take immediate and effective measures to end forced labour, modern slavery and human trafficking, as well as child labour in all its forms. 1940 – The Canadian Congress of Labour is founded following the expulsion of supporters of the Congress of Industrial Organizations from the Trades and Labour Congress of Canada in 1939 as a result of pressure from the American Federation of Labor. In reflecting on the current crisis, I draw on these experiences to suggest some key areas that need to be addressed by our movement. The Challenge The proportion of working people who are unionized has collapsed in the U.S.A. On January 17th, 2018 the Canadian labour movement was plunged into a crisis with the exit of Unifor from the Canadian Labour Congress and the launching of raids on bargaining units of UNITEHERE Local 75. That was won in 1974 after fierce controversy over Canadian autonomy and workers leaving their internationals to form Canadian unions. Effective Labour Councils are crucial to the power of our movement. We fought for and won many of the rights enjoyed by all workers today – minimum wages, overtime pay, workplace safety standards, maternity and parental leave, vacation pay, and protection from discrimination and harassment. In that role I have been afforded the opportunity to meet with my counterparts in labour councils of all sizes, across the geography of this country. In reflecting on the current crisis, I draw on these experiences to suggest some key areas that need to be addressed by our movement. Many union leaders who now demand that labour councils and federations remove Unifor from our ranks do not themselves ensure support for those same labour bodies. Some will opt to keep Unifor delegates and locals active, others will seek to remove them. Every day we search hundreds of sources to connect you with the most interesting, striking and useful material. This by contemporary standards could not be termed as labor movements. They respond to pressures from their local constituents, not just rallies on Parliament Hill or provincial legislature. At its core is the question of labour power, commitment to real social unionism, and equity. Important developments internal to the local and the international are clearly at play. Without involvement of the regional structures, the labour bureaucracy imposed an "interim" national executive drawn largely from the … The labor movement made efforts to stop child labor, give health benefits and provide help to workers who were injured ( Riggs, 2015, p. 1484 ). But by that time relationships had been permanently damaged, and very few labour councils or federations have been able to regain the active involvement of construction unions. At its core is the question of labour power, commitment to real social unionism, and equity. Yet it is clear that those practices are not universally applied. They revolved around workforce rivalries, the relationship with the NDP, union democracy and Canadian autonomy. Feminists active in the labour movement worked with other union women to put pressure on their unions and central labour bodies to take up issues such as affirmative action/employment equity, childcare, equal pay for work of equal value, maternity leave, and sexual harassment. We cannot reverse the decline of union density and power unless far more resources – staff, money and leadership time – are devoted to organizing unrepresented workers. This is an important event as this department was responsible for key decisions and was the go-to department when problems arose. In 2018, those looking to renew the labor movement need to build power from below, encourage greater membership involvement, forge international solidarity, and confront governments, even those that are ostensibly friendly. 6. That will provide guidance for the steps we need to take in the coming weeks. We are part of the Employment and Social Development Canada portfolio. In 1914, the Workmen’s Compensation Act was established in Toronto. As the working class of this country becomes truly multi-racial in every region, we have to examine the urgency of achieving equity within every institution in this country, including our own. The CLC Constitution Article 5.4 also calls for every one of those unions to ensure their locals are affiliated to federations and labour councils, but there is a silent wall of refusal to enforce that part of the constitution. These issues threatened to blow up the 2017 CLC convention. Surveying the continental scene, we find conservative politicians in multiple jurisdictions attacking union security. But the disturbing events around the application for justification procedures by ATU 113 President Bob Kinnear showed a fatal flaw. How the integrity of the process is safeguarded, and how top leaders around the CLC Executive choose to uphold that integrity will be a test to our movement and may be an essential element to resolving this crisis. In that role I have been afforded the opportunity to meet with my counterparts in labour councils of all sizes, across the geography of this country. There is an urgent need to create an organizing culture in the Canadian labour movement.We cannot reverse the decline of union density and power unless far more resources – staff, money and leadership time – are devoted to organizing unrepresented workers. If we do it right, we will emerge with a movement that is ready for the immense challenges of the years to come. But in reality, instead of the labour party demanded by worker militants, a popular front movement was set up. As we struggle with each other to find solutions to the current crisis, a vision of a powerful, effective, inclusive union movement of the future needs to arise. As part of leadership of central labour bodies for a quarter century, I have seen the best and worst of our behaviour, and learned how hard it is to build and maintain solidarity among diverse unions and competing interests. The ill-fated CLC review of organizing carried out some years ago had no real mandate, and offered no solutions because the political will of top leadership was lacking. Canada’s unions have a role to play in promoting fairness, equality and freedom from violence for all workers, regardless of age, race, religion, ability, sex, gender identity and gender expression, or sexuality. The real issue, What is most vital is that we continue to work together on key issues and campaigns, and maintain the strongest possible personal relationships with every union activist in our community. Many are calling the Unifor actions a membership raid. The events have opened up a series of questions, some related to the specific case at hand, and others speaking just as much to the organizational impasse of the Canadian union movement. With Bill 148 in Ontario we have a unique opportunity to utilize tools that can dramatically change the reality of life for hundreds of thousands, and in the process help shape the politics of the coming decade. The Labour Movement in English Canada During the Great Depression, about 1 in 4 workers in Canada were unemployed so the federal government under Prime Minister R.B. On January 17th, 2018 the Canadian labour movement was plunged into a crisis with the exit of Unifor from the Canadian Labour Congress and the launching of raids on bargaining units of UNITEHERE Local 75. Just once a year we appeal to you to contribute to make it possible to continue this work. Tidbits - Nov. 12, 2020 - Reader Comments: 2020 elections and What Next; Organizing Rural Manufacturing Workers; Honoring Veterans - Ending War; Bolivia; Yiddish Immigrant Left from Popular Front to Cold War; Announcements; more.... General Motors to Reopen Assembly Operations at Oshawa, The Union Members Who Voted for Trump Have to Be Organized—Not Ignored, Trump Is Guilty of Sedition and Must Be Brought to Justice, 'This Is No Bluff': Sanders Vows to Filibuster Military Budget to Force Senate Vote on $2,000 Checks, New Book Digs Into Government Files to Keep Alive Memory of Radical Folk Artists. It was bitter and divisive. Are the procedures in place adequate for a proper democratic decision of locals to occur, or are their only formal rules mainly protecting the control over members of existing affiliates? It is crucial for national unions that wish to enforce the removal of existing affiliates of labour council to ensure there is an alternative funding stream in place, by enforcing affiliation of all of their locals to labour councils. Nobody doubts that there must be penalties to stop raiding but instead of immediately forcing Labour Councils into a divisive action, the CLC should allow time for everyone to digest the implications of this split before imposing an administrative answer to a deeply political problem. And to allow time to explore solutions before hardening differences. In a handful of cases workers left to join another union in an orderly fashion overseen by the CLC. More than 75% of our operating budget comes to us in the form of donations from our readers. Many union leaders who now demand that labour councils and federations remove Unifor from our ranks do not themselves ensure support for those same labour bodies. John Cartwright is President of the Toronto and York Region Labour Council. The Great War is an undoubtedly important turning point in world history.Beyond the obvious casualties and resultant shifts in power, the Great War profoundly affected the colonies of the great powers involved. This crisis will severely affect labour councils. There have been few actual raids since its adoption. Raiding has rightly been identified as a cancer in our movement. 2. But there are clear examples of the best commitment – Steelworkers and Postal Workers require mandatory affiliation, as did CAW before the creation of Unifor. They respond to pressures from their local constituents, not just rallies on Parliament Hill or provincial legislature. They are affected by a number of factors, including labour organizations, collective bargaining, labour market, government policy, the structure of the economy, labour law and technological change. Canada’s labour movement has a long history of improving workers’ everyday lives. Many students in Canada will be heading back to school after Labour Day. During pre-industrial Canada, there existed very few trade unions. But they might not spend much time talking about the history of Canada’s labour movement or their basic rights under existing labour laws – in much of Canada, this history has been glossed over or ignored, leading some academics to conclude “the Canadian worker has been a neglected figure in Canadian history.” John Cartwright is President of the Toronto and York Region Labour Council. There have been few actual raids since its adoption. labour movement has been, to an equivalent degree, a failure in its pursuit of working class interests in the province. 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