Articles Labour

  • Ontario labour: fight or flee?


    It is no exaggeration to say that Ontario has elected the most right-wing government in its history, one that is far more to the right than the Mike Harris government of the 1990s. While both governments belong to the same socially conservative, neoliberal strand, the Ford government is far more populist and connected to far-right, white-supremacist fringe groups, with far more negative implications for racialized people who make up the majority of exploited and marginalized workers in Canada’s most populace province.

  • Oshawa and Postal Workers: Big and Small Lies We Accept


    In 1979, Canada’s postal union (CUPW) bargained and bargained with the employer. Eventually, having exhausted all possibilities, it made the decision, supported by a huge majority of its voting members, that its members would no longer provide their services on the basis of the existing terms and conditions of the now expired collective agreement. Workers had determined, democratically, not to sell their labour power on those terms. In a liberal democracy, they had every right to take such a decision. Only a slave society would deny them this right.

  • Taking on the GM Shutdown: Unifor, Oshawa and Community Control


    General Motor’s plan to end production at its Oshawa plant at the end of 2019 is a callous, cynical act by the U.S.-based multinational auto giant that needs to be challenged. After accepting $13.7-billion bailout offered by the Canadian public to the big automakers back in 2008 to keep GM and Chrysler alive, the company plans will leave 2500 workers at the plant out of work, with perhaps further spinoff losses of jobs and taxes. This is a brutal blow for the home of industrial unionism in Canada and one of the long-time centres of Canadian auto production.

  • The Google Walkout


    Thousands of Google employees around the world walked off their jobs on November 1, “to protest sexual harassment, misconduct, lack of transparency, and a workplace that doesn’t work for everyone.” Beginning in Singapore and working its way around the globe the movement closed Google offices from California, in Boulder and New York, as well as in London, Dublin, Zurich and Berlin.

  • Ford Takes on Bill 148: But There is Resistance


    But with such a hostile government, the tactics will have to become more confrontational in order to leverage the pressure needed to make Ford and the Tories retreat. There were several missed opportunities in the fightback against Harris where the government looked like it was going to reverse course, but the pressure was throttled in favour of negotiation and electoralism. Now, we must learn from our past mistakes and build a broad and militant front in order to protect what we have already gained. Without that we won’t be able to make gains in the future.

  • 100 Years After: Winnipeg General Strike


    What made the Strike “general” was that it mobilized an entire class. This included Winnipeg’s unionized workers who voted overwhelmingly to risk hunger, permanent dismissal and perhaps violent repression to support their colleagues. But perhaps half of the strikers were not union members at all. Most remarkably, the Strike mobilized in large numbers those who had benefitted little from a labour movement dominated by skilled men of mostly British origin who appeared primarily interested in defending their own relatively privileged place in the labour market.

  • The tipping point


    Until last year, the only acknowledgment of this historical moment was a plaque hidden in the underground walkway beneath city hall. With renewed investment in public art by the Winnipeg Arts Council, who are overseeing this project with help from Heritage Canada, myself and sculptor Bernie Miller set out to create a memorial streetcar in bronze adjacent to the site of Bloody Saturday, on the present day Pantages Plaza at Market and Main St., one of the city’s busiest intersections.

  • #MeToo: Fighting sexism through labour activism


    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.

  • Whither Work? The Second Industrial Revolution


    There’s no going back to the so-called golden age of capitalism. Nor should we want to. Our technologies give us the potential to create a far better future. One that’s environmentally sustainable and one in which we have the time and financial security to do what really matters to us. Getting there will require a revitalized commitment to the common good, but there’s no specific blueprint for the ideal society. Each country, city and community will have to work out its own vision of the future it wants through democratic processes.

  • Will the Ontario Labour Movement Return to Class Struggle as Austerity Deepens?

    Canadian Politics

    The Ontario labour movement is in deep crisis, and has been staggering since the end of the 1990s. Given the labour movement’s historic role in leading and supporting progressive change, its current disorientation should be a matter of alarm to its members of course, but also to anyone concerned with countering the insatiable greed and social destructiveness of capitalism.

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