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NLR 2

Geoff Bickerton

  • The Labour Report

    One might think that a prolonged and deep recession would provide the inspiration for socialist renewal. The contradictions of capital, combined with the insatiable greed of many capitalists, have once again revealed how this system doesn’t work for people who depend on selling their labour. But failures of capitalism don’t automatically lead to thoughts of socialism. If history can teach us, we should look beyond the labour movement for sources of new inspiration and leadership.

  • Dissent and Democracy

    For a while it looked like the 2007 CUPE national convention was going to be a placid affair. As in 2005, the majority of delegates voted in favour of increasing the representation of women on the National Executive Board. But once again, nothing will change because the vote was not quite sufficient to break the two-thirds threshold required by CUPE for constitutional changes to be adopted.

  • Labour Should Follow CUPE on Israel

    When CUPE delegates returned to their homes and workplaces after attending the Ontario Division’s annual convention in May, the media reports they would see and hear focused on but one resolution adopted at the convention. That was the now-famous Resolution 50, which called for the Division to work with Palestine solidarity and human rights organizations and develop an education campaign about the apartheid nature of the Israeli state and the political and economic support of Canada for these practices. The resolution also called for CUPE Ontario to support the international campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions until Israel meets its obligation to recognize the Palestinian people’s inalienable right to self-determination and fully complies with the precepts of international law including the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN Resolution 194.

  • Labour Stands Up Against War

    The Canadian Labour Congress’s statement on Canada’s involvement in Afghanistan is clear and unequivocal; it calls for the troops to be brought home now. The statement marks a significant step forward for the labour movement concerning the development of policy with respect to the use the Canadian military.

    Not only does the CLC demand the “safe and immediate withdrawal of Canadian troops from Afghanistan,” it also challenges many of the arguments used by those who would have our troops die and kill to support the American war in the Middle East.

  • B.C Teachers Move Labour Forward

    llegal strikes are almost always caused by management provocations – firing union activists, health and safety violations, introducing non-union workers at a job site, or the introduction of repressive labour legislation.Illegal job actions mostly don’t end up in clear victories for the unions. Dismissals, arrests, or court injunctions often enter into the equation, adding to the issues that must be resolved and putting the unions further onto the defensive.

  • CAW, CUPE & Struggles for Jobs

    For many years the Left in the labour movement fought to get the Canadian Labour Congress to play a role in establishing collective agreement priorities. In the 1980s the CLC held conferences and produced educational materials on issues like reduced working time and bargaining technological change. But affiliate unions showed little interest in developing common priorities or coordinating their efforts concerning bargaining.

  • Leaders and Members at Odds on CLC

    There is a tendency within Canadian labour to ignore the split occurring in the AFL-CIO. This is a mistake. In the United States the leadership of the largest unions have initiated a debate about the structure of the movement and the role of the AFL-CIO. The three largest unions have left the AFL-CIO and more may join them. In contrast, the leaderships of most Canadian unions appear completely satisfied with the laissez-faire approach of the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) towards organizing and bargaining. But the election results in the CLC convention, where challenger Carol Wall received a whopping 37 per cent, indicates many activists feel otherwise. In fact, the debate in Canada is alive and well whether the leadership likes it or not.

  • Leadership the Issue at CLC Convention

    Just another day in the labour movement. On June 13, 2005, 212 garbage collection workers began a legal strike in Mississauga. The workers were confronted with scabs performing their work. The union, Teamsters Canada Local Union 419, refused to comment publicly on the reasons for the strike or the issues at stake. The Toronto Star reported on the frustration of the public having to deal with hot weather, smelly garbage, with no idea of the reasons behind the strike.

  • CLC Convention 2005

    It is time for the labour movement to seriously debate the role and function of the Canadian Labour Congress. If the CLC is to assert itself as a leading institution in the labour movement it must be led by a president with the vision and courage to unite the labour movement in the key collective bargaining and organizational struggles that lie ahead.

    Under the current leadership the Congress is viewed by many activists to be floundering and largely irrelevant to many of the important struggles of the labour movement. This is in spite of the fact that the Congress is widely recognized as doing valuable work, especially in the areas of research, and on issues such as racism, sexism, homophobia and equality.

  • American Labour Debates Radical Moves

    An outsider looking at the Canadian labour movement might be tempted to ask why we call it a movement. The genuine solidarity that exists between union members is too often eclipsed by the competition between the unions they belong to.

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