They revolved around workforce rivalries, the relationship with the NDP, union democracy and Canadian autonomy. This is not caused by a lack of rhetoric. 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. In 1914, the Workmen’s Compensation Act was established in Toronto. In Western Canada the idea of the Union became very strongly represented in labour and political movements. It will take courage on all our parts to get through this. In 1919 many of the workers unions came together … Sadly, that decade also saw a massive attack on the building trades across North America that devastated union density in construction. 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. 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. Yet it is clear that those practices are not universally applied. That was won in 1974 after fierce controversy over Canadian autonomy and workers leaving their internationals to form Canadian 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.” 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. Click here for Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, and Part 6. I have bargained with multinational companies and family-owned shops, with public sector bodies and politicians at every level of government. 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. 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? On the eve of the war, Canada was suffering an economic depression, resulting in high unemployment. The topic of union renewal is full of landmines, but absolutely necessary. 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? 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. That was won in 1974 after fierce controversy over Canadian autonomy and workers leaving their internationals to form Canadian unions. Raiding has rightly been identified as a cancer in our movement. 4. 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. 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. 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. Many are calling the Unifor actions a membership raid. In reflecting on the current crisis, I draw on these experiences to suggest some key areas that need to be addressed by our movement. 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. But the disturbing events around the application for justification procedures by ATU 113 President Bob Kinnear showed a fatal flaw. Our mission at Portside is to seek out and to provide information that empowers you -- that empowers the left. Labour Councils themselves will have to grapple with how they react. Non-union workers and their families see our collective impact in their own cities, towns or regions. Labour Councils themselves will have to grapple with how they react. 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. Bennett as an attempt to provide emergency relief, created unemployment relief camps where single men were offered room-and-board for physical labour [i]. 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. It will take courage on all our parts to get through this. 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. 6. 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. 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. Members of Parliament, MLAs and MPPs are elected in local ridings. However, movements like the Fight for $15 and Fairness show a potential way ahead. 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. I have a deep foreboding of where this division can lead. Union democracy is a fundamental principle of our movement. Our first priority must be organizing workers and reversing the decline of union density in our country. These donations help to pay our bills, and honorariums for some of our writers, photographers and graphic artists. At its core is the question of labour power, commitment to real social unionism, and equity. In 2001, I was elected to lead the Toronto & York Region Labour Council. If leaders let personal grievances or institutional rivalry dominate the discussion, we will fail, and it may take years to heal the damage. 4. What larger concerns remain with the operation of international unions? Effective Labour Councils are crucial to the power of our movement. Our first priority must be organizing workers and reversing the decline of union density in our country. That may be a longer term discussion, but we don’t get there without taking first steps in the right direction. 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. 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. 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. 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. 3. No group of workers should be held captive to an organization that does not serve their needs or respect their voice. 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. How much power do U.S.-based International unions still have over their Canadian locals or sections? 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. But in reality, instead of the labour party demanded by worker militants, a popular front movement was set up. They live on a shoe-string budget, and seldom receive institutional support from staff of national or international unions who live and work in their communities. Without involvement of the regional structures, the labour bureaucracy imposed an "interim" national executive drawn largely from the … The legitimacy of North American labour unions is being called into question. 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. Article 26 of the CLC Constitution says there will be minimum standards of self-government. They respond to pressures from their local constituents, not just rallies on Parliament Hill or provincial legislature. If we do it right, we will emerge with a movement that is ready for the immense challenges of the years to come. 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). But there are clear examples of the best commitment – Steelworkers and Postal Workers require mandatory affiliation, as did CAW before the creation of Unifor. We all have a part to play. 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. The burgeoning Canadian labour movement of the early 20th century held much promise for Canada's racial minority workers. 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. Please help. 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. In the case at hand, the crisis is centred in Toronto and UNITEHERE Local 75, a large, diverse local with a militant history of organizing in the hotel and hospitality sectors in the Greater Toronto Area. 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. 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. 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. Members of Parliament, MLAs and MPPs are elected in local ridings. Sign up for our email newsletter and get our news and analysis delivered on the regular. 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. 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. But some beginning steps of rebuilding workers’ confidence through successful grassroots campaigns and bold organizing drives are occurring. 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. 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. That may be a longer term discussion, but we don’t get there without taking first steps in the right direction. More than 75% of our operating budget comes to us in the form of donations from our readers. 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. Every day we search hundreds of sources to connect you with the most interesting, striking and useful material. 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. 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. 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. Unifor would face those same sanctions today if it had not disaffiliated. 1. Provides a comprehensive understanding of the contemporary structure, issues, and perceptions of labour unions and other forms of working-class organization and social movements. Some will explain how they have a culture of local autonomy and cannot force people to belong. 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. 2. Some will explain how they have a culture of local autonomy and cannot force people to belong. 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. 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. 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. Many of us know the benefits of working closely with our American colleagues who are leading tremendous struggles against overwhelming odds. 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. 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. 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. 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'. What happens when a parent union disrupts the process and carries out reprisals against the member applying? 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.. This by contemporary standards could not be termed as labor movements. The real issue, The topic of union renewal is full of landmines, but absolutely necessary. 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. Because at the end of the day, all politics are local. But the disturbing events around the application for justification procedures by ATU 113 President Bob Kinnear showed a fatal flaw. Are the reasons given by UNITE’s International leadership for the trusteeship valid (internal divisions and the alleged meddling of Unifor)? 3 Credit Hours Levels: Undergraduate Information is power. If we do it right, we will emerge with a movement that is ready for the immense challenges of the years to come. Many students in Canada will be heading back to school after Labour Day. I work with and admire many colleagues in the United States, who are hamstrung by organizational and political decisions made by past generations. It is a cautionary tale. This is hardly a time for internal division, a further entrenchment of competitive unionism, or ignoring the organizational impasse and strategic drift at the centre of the Canadian labour 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. 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. Sadly, that decade also saw a massive attack on the building trades across North America that devastated union density in construction. These issues threatened to blow up the 2017 CLC convention. The Labour Program is responsible for protecting the rights and well-being of both workers and employers in federally regulated workplaces. Canada’s labour movement has a long history of improving workers’ everyday lives. The recent split in the Canadian Labour Congress over organizational issues will inhibit the search to renew trade unions. 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. In a handful of cases workers left to join another union in an orderly fashion overseen by the CLC. 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. 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. In a handful of cases workers left to join another union in an orderly fashion overseen by the CLC. 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. What happens if another union is intentionally supporting the application, hoping to be the beneficiary of a displacement application? What happens when a parent union disrupts the process and carries out reprisals against the member applying? There is an urgent need to create an organizing culture in the Canadian labour movement. At the launch, the class direction became clear. 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. 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. LABR 1290 - Introduction to the Canadian Labour Movement (Formerly 153.129) An introduction to the development of the contemporary working-class movement in Canada and to workplace issues today. And to allow time to explore solutions before hardening differences. Unions in Canada suffered some setbacks in 2017. Desmond Morton argues that the economic downturn was caused by overproduction, dismissing the common explanation of insufficient manufacturing ability. 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. My first full-time union position was not with my own union, but as a CLC Representative travelling the province trying to stop the split in our movement after the international Building Trades unions withdrew in 1981. 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. At its core is the question of labour power, commitment to real social unionism, and equity. In 1900, the Federal Department of Labour was established, putting William Lyon MacKenzie King as the first Minister of Labour. Formidable challenges face Canada’s labour movement. Just once a year we appeal to you to contribute to make it possible to continue this work. There will be some bruises and setbacks along the way. When and under what procedures do union members have a right to decide to change unions (given that the relevant articles in the CLC constitution and rulings of umpires in disputes clarify next to nothing)? There needs to be an honest assessment of what we should look and feel like a decade from now. Anti-union employers, judicial interpretations, geographic realities, uneven regional development, union structures, ideological divisions, and the bi-national character of Canada all posed great obstacles for the development of an independent and cohesive … 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. 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. Even so, he says there are obstacles the labor movement faces. 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? During pre-industrial Canada, there existed very few trade unions. If leaders let personal grievances or institutional rivalry dominate the discussion, we will fail, and it may take years to heal the damage. 3. Some of this will only become clear with results from the recertification process and others will remain muddy and disputed. A vision of a powerful, effective, inclusive union movement of the future needs to be developed. The labor movement made efforts to stop child labor, give health benefits and provide help to workers who were injured ( Riggs, 2015, p. 1484 ). This crisis will severely affect labour councils. The key issues in that split 37 years ago were similar to what we face today. There's the fact that a majority of states — 28 — now also have those right-to-work laws. Throughout history, labor unions have played a vital role in the relationship between workers and owners and have helped to improve conditions for working-class people. Our supporters are part of everything we do. 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. They live on a shoe-string budget, and seldom receive institutional support from staff of national or international unions who live and work in their communities. 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. I have a deep foreboding of where this division can lead. 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? •. 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. 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.” Events around the application, hoping to be the beneficiary of a application! By overproduction, dismissing the common explanation of insufficient manufacturing ability Unifor ) and... Unemployment insurance system in Canada limited power blow up the 2017 CLC convention we need to create organizing! Of cases workers left to join another union in an orderly fashion overseen by the CLC and. Were similar to what we should look and feel like a decade from now grassroots. 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