The Canadian Labour Movement tells the story of Canada's workers and their unions from the mid-nineteenth century through to today. It paints a vivid picture of key developments, such as the birth of draft unionism, the breakthroughs of the fifties and sixties, the setbacks of the twenty-first century, and the factors leading to the emergence of today's mega-unions like Unifor.
Workers fighting for their rights were met with hostility from employers and governments. Unions themselves have often fought with each other — sometimes for members, sometimes for Canadian control versus American. Labour activists in Canada have been a key source of political pressure on the wealthy and powerful to recognize human rights and needs. And in these efforts they have shaken up Canadian society profoundly and gained a bigger share of the economic pie for their members. Their struggle continues as the nature of work in Canada changes, union membership declines, and the gap between rich and poor widens.
This short book, now in its fourth edition, offers an up to date, readable introduction to a major theme of Canadian history.
CRAIG HERON is a professor of History at York University in Toronto and the author of several works in Canadian social history, including Working in Steel: The Early Years in Canada, 1883-1935, The Workers? Revolt in Canada, 1917-1925, Booze: a Distilled History, and The Workers? Festival: A History of Labour Day in Canada. He lives in Toronto.