Browse "Unions & Labour Organizations"

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Sleeping Car Porters in Canada

Sleeping car porters were railway employees who attended to passengers aboard sleeping cars. Porters were responsible for passengers’ needs throughout a train trip, including carrying luggage, setting up beds, pressing clothes and shining shoes, and serving food and beverages, among other services. The vast majority of sleeping car porters were Black men and the position was one of only a few job opportunities available to Black men in Canada. While the position carried respect and prestige for Black men in their communities, the work demanded long hours for little pay. Porters could be fired suddenly and were often subjected to racist treatment. Black Canadian porters formed the first Black railway union in North America (1917) and became members of the larger Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters in 1939. Both unions combatted racism and the many challenges that porters experienced on the job.

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Unions

Unions, see CRAFT UNIONISM; INDUSTRIAL UNIONISM; LABOUR ORGANIZATION; LABOUR RELATIONS; REVOLUTIONARY INDUSTRIAL UNIONISM; UNION CENTRALS, DISTRICT AND REGIONAL; UNION CENTRALS, NATIONAL; UNION CENTRALS, QUÉBEC; UNION DES

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Windsor Ford Strike of 1945

The Windsor Ford Strike was a 99-day strike from 12 September to 19 December 1945 by 11,000 employees of the Windsor, Ontario, Ford Motor Company plant. Some 8,000 auto workers from other plants also participated. The Ford workers, who were led by the United Automobile Workers of Canada (UAW), demanded recognition of their union by Ford and mandatory membership for all plant workers. The strike was ultimately resolved through binding arbitration under Supreme Court Justice Ivan C. Rand and resulted in the widely used Rand Formula.

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Winnipeg General Strike of 1919

The Winnipeg General Strike of 1919 was the largest strike in Canadian history. Between 15 May and 25 June 1919, more than 30,000 workers left their jobs. Factories, shops, transit and city services shut down. The strike resulted in arrests, injuries and the deaths of two protestors. It did not immediately succeed in empowering workers and improving job conditions. But the strike did help unite the working class in Canada. Some of its participants helped establish what is now the New Democratic Party.

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Women in the Labour Force

Women are considered labour force participants only if they work outside the home. In the past women have been expected to be in the labour force only until they marry; this reflects the historical, idealized notion of a society in which the man is the breadwinner and the woman the homemaker.

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Women's Labour Leagues

Women's Labour Leagues emerged in Canada prior to WWI. Modelled on the British Labour Leagues, auxiliaries to the Independent Labour Party, their purpose was to defend the struggles of women workers and support the labour movement.