Precarious labour: a special issue

Volume 45, Issue 2: May/June 2011

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Mayday is the day each year when workers around the world celebrate working-class movements and commemorate our historic struggles for a living wage, safe working conditions, and reduced work time. This issue of Dimension analyzes Wisconsin’s magnificent protest movement to defend public sector unionism, the campaign of Ontario’s Coalition Against Poverty to “raise the rates” and Hamilton’s Steel Workers Local 1005 battle to protect workers’ pensions.

This issue also offers a special focus on precarious work, by far the fastest growing category – comprising 35-40 percent – of all jobs in Canada. They pay way less, draw no benefits, call in workers only as needed, and they are non-union. No wonder employers favour them. Our articles cover a wide array of precarious labour, from tree planters to care givers and from students to temp work.

This past year has been an extraordinarily active one for labour and social movements in Canada. Harsha Walia gives an inspiring account of the campaigns for environmental justice, boycott divestment sanctions to end Israeli apartheid, shutting down the tar sands and the Enbridge pipeline, the nine month strike against the mining giant Vale, the protests against police brutality and racist immigration policies; and the establishment of workers assemblies, the rise of a young feminist movement, independent media including participatory media through media co-ops, bookfairs, legal defense networks such as the Movement Defense Committee, organic gardens and farms, autonomous peer-run safe spaces and drop-ins for street and queer/trans youth.

Table of Contents

  • Harper’s Drive to Demolish Dissent
  • Around the Left in 60 Days
  • Chief Ralph: 1947-2011
  • Labour Report
  • Emperor’s New Cloths
  • Rebelles
  • Québec Communiqué
  • Precarious Labour
  • Precarious Workers, Precarious Lives: Ontario’s Private Health Care Secret
  • The Plea for the Planter: Time to Clean Up Bad Labour Practices in B.C. Forestry Camps
  • Students and Precarious Labour
  • The Making of a Global Disposable Workforce: The rise of Canada’s “Renta- Worker” Program
  • Cafe Culture in an Era of Precarious Employment
  • Working Through the Loopholes Undermining Workplace Gains, One Temp Worker at a Time
  • 2011: Reflecting on Social Movement Successes in Canada
  • Bringing a Struggling Ideology to its Knees
  • Harper’s Hitlist
  • Raise the Rates
  • Their Struggle is Our Struggle
  • Stop the Keystone XL
  • Media as Insurgent Art
  • Book Marks
  • On the Edge

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