Labour history shows us that working people can make great gains when they come together to challenge the power of capital. But it also reminds us that workers and the labour movement must be vigilant. They must continue to resist rollbacks of hard-won rights and protections, and they must continue to push for new victories. The history of labour struggles over issues related to gender discrimination and sexual harassment in the workplace holds important lessons that we can incorporate into our discussions of how to tackle these issues today.
The fact that the retail sector is one of the largest employers in Canada today, and yet the majority of retail workers remain unorganized, speaks to the need for workers and their allies to look to the past when developing new tactics and strategies to improve retail jobs. This holiday season let’s learn from the ghosts of labour’s past as we work toward a better present and future.