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Working People

An Illustrated History of the Canadian Labour Movement

by (author) Desmond Morton

Publisher
McGill-Queen's University Press
Initial publish date
Jan 1999
Category
  • Paperback / softback

    ISBN
    9780773518018
    Publish Date
    Jan 1999
    List Price
    $29.95

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Description

Desmond Morton highlights the great events of labour history -- the 1902 meeting that enabled international unions to dominate Canadian unionism for seventy years, the Winnipeg General Strike of 1919, and an obscure 1944 order-in-council that became the charter of labour's rights and freedoms. He looks at the "new model" unions that used their members' dues and savings to fight powerful employers and describes the romantic idealism of the Knights of Labor in the 1880s, one of the most dramatic and visionary movements ever to seize the Canadian imagination. He recounts the desperate struggles of miners, loggers, and fishers to protect themselves from both employers and the dangers of their work. Working People explores the clash between idealists, who fought for such impossible dreams as an eight-hour day, socialism, holidays with pay, industrial democracy, and equality for women and men, and the realists who wrestled with the human realities of self-interest, prejudice, and fear. Morton tells us about Canadians who deserve to be better known, such as Phillips Thompson, Helena Gutteridge, Lynn Williams, Huguette Plamondon, Mabel Marlowe, Madeleine Parent, and a hundred others whose struggle to reconcile idealism and reality shaped Canada more than they would ever know. This new edition brings the book up to date with discussions of globalization and its challenge to nationally based workers' organizations.

About the author

DESMOND MORTON is professor of history at the University of Toronto and principal of Erindale College. He is the author of ministers and Generals: Politics and the Canadian militia, 1868-1904, A Peculiar Kind of Politics: Canada’s Overseas Ministry in the First World War, A Campaign (with J.L. Granatstein), and numerous other books.

Desmond Morton's profile page

Editorial Reviews

"This is the best introductory text on Canadian labour history to date." Bob Rae, The Gazette "No contemporary history is as ambitious in its scope as Working People, or more perceptive in its judgments." Globe and Mail "A captivating ... chronicle on the history of unionism in Canada with all its warts and virtues." The Spectator "Working People is a welcome addition to the shelves of Canadian history." Canadian Reader

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