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Labour Day, Labour Books
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Labour Day, Labour Books

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tagged: labour day
Books about the labour movement and work, and workers.
Overtime

Overtime

Portraits of a Vanishing Canada
edition:Paperback
tagged : lifestyles

In Overtime, Karl Kessler and Sunshine Chen document the lives of men and women who practise vanishing trades, professions and cultural traditions in the cities and townships of Waterloo Region, Ontario.

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Excerpt

Joe Kelly: Town Clock Keeper

'It actually is something beating inside this building, keeping it alive....'

The town clock in the tower of the former Elmira post office has ticked the seconds and struck the hours since 1914, even when the building has sat vacant. 'You had whistles to tell you when to go to work, you had whistles to tell you when to stop working,' says Joe Kelly. 'This clock told you when church was over-the church across the street-at twelve noon.... When this tower went off, the pastor had to quit his sermon!'

Once a week Joe climbs into the base of the tower to wind the giant original brass movement of the J.B. Joyce and Co. eight-day pendulum clock. Using 'elbow grease' and a two-handed crank, he spools up the weighted drive cables.

As they unwind from the movement, turning the gears and striking the bell, the cables ascend two storeys, pass through a series of pulleys, and disappear into a space behind the wall where they slowly drop. A gear shaft also rises to the uppermost room, where it moves the hands of the four glass- and-metal clock faces. In a room between the faces and movement is the big bell.

The clock loses two minutes between windings. Some locals tell Joe they set their own clocks by it.

Several tower clocks still operate in Waterloo Region, but Elmira's is one of the last in Ontario keeping time with a wind-up mechanism. Joe says it could run forever: 'The only thing stopping it would be somebody not caring.'

Most of what Joe knows about the clock he learned from its previous keeper, his father-in-law. Joe meticulously cleans and oils the gears; any debris could halt the entire works. He also makes repairs. 'You have to treat it like it's your own.' The bell strikes eleven and the tower reverberates. Joe winds the bell, then the movement: sixty-four turns of the crank each. He is breathing quickly, smiling. 'We worry so much about tomorrow, but we should just live in today,' he says. 'Today is precious.'

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Enforcing Exclusion

Enforcing Exclusion

Precarious Migrants and the Law in Canada
edition:Hardcover
also available: eBook Paperback

Migrant workers, though long welcomed in Canada for their labour, are often excluded from both workplace protections and basic social benefits such as health care, income assistance, and education. Through interviews with migrants and their advocates, Marsden shows that people with precarious migration status face barriers in law, policy, and practice, affecting their ability to address adverse working conditions and their access to institutions such as hospitals, schools, and employment standar …

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On the Line

On the Line

A History of the British Columbia Labour Movement
edition:Hardcover

The BC tradition of fighting back against unfair pay and unsafe working conditions has been around since before the colony joined Confederation. In 1849 Scottish labourers at BC’s first coal mine at Fort Rupert went on strike to protest wretched working conditions, and it’s been a wild ride ever since. For years the BC labour movement was the most militant in the land, led by colourful characters like Ginger Goodwin, murdered for his pains, and pull-no-punches communist Harvey Murphy, who br …

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Rough Work

Rough Work

Labourers on the Public Works of British North America and Canada, 1841-1882
edition:Paperback
also available: Hardcover eBook

The labourers at the heart of this study built the canals and railways undertaken as public works by the colonial governments of British North America and the federal government of Canada between 1841 and 1882.

 

Ruth Bleasdale’s fascinating journey into the little-known lives of these labourers and their families reveals how capital, labour and the state came together to build the transportation infrastructure that linked colonies and united an emerging nation. Combining census and community r …

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Pain and Prejudice

Pain and Prejudice

What Science Can Learn about Work from the People Who Do It
edition:Paperback
also available: eBook

In 1978, when workers at a nearby phosphate refinery learned that the ore they processed was contaminated with radioactive dust, Karen Messing, then a new professor of molecular genetics, was called in to help. Unsure of what to do with her discovery that exposure to the radiation was harming the workers and their families, Messing contacted senior colleagues but they wouldn’t help. Neither the refinery company nor the scientific community was interested in the scary results of her chromosome …

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Work in Transition

Work in Transition

Cultural Capital and Highly Skilled Migrants' Passages into the Labour Market
edition:eBook
also available: Hardcover Paperback

Despite the fact that many countries target highly skilled migrants for recruitment in the global labour market, few of those migrants are able to take full advantage of their educational and professional qualifications in their new homes. Work in Transition examines this paradox, using extended narrative interviews that focus on the role that cultural capital plays in the labour market.

Comparing the migrant experience in Germany, Canada, and Turkey, Work in Transition shows how migrants develop …

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Unions Matter

Unions Matter

Advancing Democracy, Economic Equality, and Social Justice
edition:Paperback

Income inequality has risen rapidly over the past three decades. In Canada it is now at its highest level since 1928. One of the root causes: the consistent chipping away of labour rights. The labour movement has been left unable to maintain membership levels and incapable of narrowing the income gap through collective bargaining, with profound implications for Canadians. Labour rights are human rights. They provide a powerful democratic counterweight to the growing power of corporations and th …

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Indigenous Women, Work, and History

Indigenous Women, Work, and History

1940-1980
edition:Paperback
also available: eBook

When dealing with Indigenous women’s history we are conditioned to think about women as private-sphere figures, circumscribed by the home, the reserve, and the community. Moreover, in many ways Indigenous men and women have been cast in static, pre-modern, and one-dimensional identities, and their twentieth century experiences reduced to a singular story of decline and loss. In Indigenous Women, Work, and History, historian Mary Jane Logan McCallum rejects both of these long-standing conventio …

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