Articles Labour

  • The P3 Files

    ncert Properties is a big business. Between 1989 and 1999 it built 80 per cent of the rental housing constructed in Vancouver. With an asset base of $450 million in 2000, it’s now the largest developer of rental housing in Western Canada. Not bad for an enterprise completely controlled by the labour movement. Concert, and its companion enterprise Concert Real Estate Inc., constitute one of the more visible examples of “worker capitalism”, a phenomenon that had its inception in the 1980s and is now flourishing across Canada.

  • The Americanization of CN

    It is day 16 of the strike at Symington Yard, the Canadian National Railway’s main hump yard in Winnipeg. The workers have been on strike since February 20. Since a deal has by now been reached, the question is why CN rail workers from Winnipeg to Montréal felt it was time to send a message to CN’s corporate headquarters.

  • Public Sector Struggles Continue

    here is something almost magical about the power of spontaneous worker solidarity. Across the country, the images of steel workers and bus drivers and municipal workers joining the British Columbia hospital workers on the picket lines struck a chord in the very base of our collective unconsciousness.

    It’s enough to make your heart skip a beat. It doesn’t happen often. When it does, foundations begin to tremble. This is worth remembering.

  • Trade Unions and the Left

    On almost every issue trade union members are significantly more progressive than the other segments of the population. I suppose there are many reasons for this. Collective power probably gives union members the confidence to think more about the potential for changing things. Union education programs undoubtedly play a role. The democratic process of unions also requires members to discuss and debate issues.

    So it should not come as a surprise that gaining employment in a unionized workplace would promote some leftward political movement among a proportion of the members. Of course one can overstate the political development of union members. Unionists may be twice as likely to vote for the NDP than the new Conservative Party, but a majority of union members still choose the Liberals as their first voting choice.

  • The Road to Union Renewal: From Organizing the Unorganized to New Political Alternatives

    In many of the advanced economies, unions are in serious trouble. This crisis for unions is in part the result of changing workplaces and labour markets compounded by the hostility of employers and governments to unions.

  • The Charest Factor

    It is an inescapable fact that, since the 1995 referendum, Québec politics have been dominated by two of Brian Mulroney’s former cabinet ministers. The first, Lucien Bouchard, made his way to the top post of the Parti Québécois (PQ) to replace the fallen Jacques Parizeau. The second, Jean Charest, a much younger politician, was pushed to the head of the Parti Libéral du Québec (PLQ) by the federal Liberals in order to fill the void left by the dull and uncharismatic Daniel Johnson Jr.

  • Labour Battles in B.C. and Quebec

    Recent political developments do not bode well for unionized public-sector workers. While the decisive defeat of the Tories in Ontario is welcome news, the actions of the provincial Liberals reveal they have no intention of undoing the damage inflicted by Mike Harris.

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