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Political Science Labor & Industrial Relations

The Canadian Auto Workers

The Birth and Transformation of a Union

by (author) Sam Gindin

James Lorimer & Company Ltd., Publishers
Initial publish date
Jan 1995
Labor & Industrial Relations
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Jan 1995
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The Canadian Auto Workers union, the CAW, has a long and rich history. Part of the U.S.-based United Auto Workers for almost fifty years, the CAW separated from its American parent in 1985. Today, the Canadian Auto Workers union encompasses members from a broad range of industries. It is also one of the most powerful unions in the country. Yet few people know the union's history, how it acquired its strength, or what accounts for its split with its American parent.
This illustrated history provides a fascinating look at the union from its origins to the present. Beginning in the twenties, Sam Gindin describes the early years of the automobile industry and the emergence of GM, Ford, and Chrysler. He looks at the birth of the UAW in 1936, the conflicts that rocked the union in the fifties, the signing of theAutopact in the sixties, and the historic split of the Canadian section from the UAW two decades later. Finally, he considers the issues facing the union and the Canadian labour movement as the century draws to a close.
By providing a profile of the CAW as well as the labour and social movements that it helped shape, The Canadian Auto Workers offers us something unusual -- an engrossing glimpse of our past, written from a union perspective.

About the author


Sam Gindin is a Canadian academic and intellectual who served as research director of the Canadian region of the United Auto Workers (UAW) union and later as chief economist and Assistant to the President of The Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) union after the latter became independent from its American parent organization.

Gindin is a graduate of the University of Manitoba. He worked as a research officer for the New Democratic Party of Manitoba and later taught at the University of Prince Edward Island. He obtained his MA in economics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, but while working on his PhD dissertation in 1974, he took up the position of first director of research for what was then the Canadian section of the UAW. He rose within the union and served as an assistant to both Bob White and Buzz Hargrove, where he participated in major collective bargaining, the formation of union and social policy, and strategic discussions on the structure and direction of the union. He also wrote a book on the history of the CAW entitled The Canadian Auto Workers: The Birth and Transformation of a Union.

In 2000, Gindin retired from the CAW. He joined the faculty of York University in the Political Science department as Packer Visitor in Social Justice, where he continues to teach.


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Other titles by Sam Gindin