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BTL 3

Labour

  • 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.

  • The workers need Chapter 11

    As for all that self-righteous hot air about how B.C. teachers should set a better example by obeying the “law,” I can’t imagine a better lesson in democracy than watching a group of citizens collectively resisting injustice.

    Karl Marx argued that under capitalism, the legal system was pretty much a tool of the ruling class, designed to protect property rights and keep workers in line. This is quite an oversimplification, but every now and then Marx comes close to the mark. If he could see what’s been happening in British Columbia, he’d probably say, “I told you so.”

  • 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.

  • The Call for a Living Wage

    No surprise to those of us trapped in low-wage jobs, but for others more fortunate, let’s make it official: having a job is no longer a way out of poverty. The minimum wage in most provinces is so low that even someone working full time at a minimum-wage job falls far short of the poverty line. Indeed, it’s a fact that half of the families in Canada who are living below the poverty line have someone working 35 or more hours per week.

  • 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.

  • Why is the 35-Hour Work Week in Retreat?

    In February and March, 2005, hundreds of thousands of workers protested in the streets of Paris and other large cities against the current conservative government’s attempt to erode the 35-hour week. So far, however, these protests have not prevented premier minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin from realizing his plans for the reform of the 35-hour legislation.

  • The World’s Most Dangerous Job?

    The news of the death of 213 miners following a gas blast at a colliery in Liaoning on February 14 barely registered outside China, but it was further evidence of an ongoing tragedy, and symbolic of the enormous human cost that China is paying for its phenomenal economic growth.

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