Tag Archives: labour history

Staging History

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By Craig Heron Historians have become increasingly attuned to the role of performance in history. Many of us have written about the pomp and pageantry of the powerful, the theatre of the high courts, the processions of urban respectability, the rituals of resistance among the poor and powerless. We have been much more reticent, however, about using theatre to present… Read more »

The 1934 British Columbia Penitentiary Strike and Prisoners’ Wages in Canada    

By Jordan House The early 1930s were marked by considerable labour unrest in Canada. Over this period, workers developed new, more expansive forms of trade unionism, as well as new tactics such as sit-down strikes and flying pickets. In the context of the great depression, this unrest was not only evident in the country’s factories, mines, and ports; workers and… Read more »

Remember/Resist/Redraw #19: Revisiting the Workers’ Revolt in Winnipeg

2019 marks the centenary of the Winnipeg General Strike, which took place between 15 May and 26 June 1919. In anticipation of the centenary, the Graphic History Collective released RRR poster #19 this week by David Lester and the GHC. The poster critically examines the strike’s important lessons and legacy. We hope that Remember | Resist | Redraw encourages people… Read more »

Welcome to Canada: A Story from the First Year of the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program

Edward Dunsworth It started as the most mundane of requests. One evening in late September, after a long day’s work, a light bulb flickered out in the dormitory that housed Carlton Robinson[i] and twelve other Jamaican men for the duration of their contract work on a farm in Vanessa, Ontario, about 65 kilometers southwest of Hamilton. For unclear reasons, it… Read more »

It Inspires Us Still: A Century Later, the Winnipeg General Strike Still Matters

Christo Aivalis In just a few months, we will be in the midst of celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Winnipeg General Strike, where thousands of workers walked off the job, initially to support the traditional bargaining demands from some of the city’s established unions, but eventually to demonstrate a more systemic challenge to the social, political, and economic status… Read more »

The Mysteries of a Hobo’s Life: Uncovering a Forgotten Revolutionary

Saku Pinta An earlier version of this post appeared on the “Increasing Access to the Finnish Language Archives” project blog. This black and white photograph appears, at first glance, to be quite ordinary. An unidentified man poses in front of a tar paper shack, possibly at a logging camp, hands clasped behind his back. His stony gaze is contemplative, confident…. Read more »

Holiday Repost – Here We Come A-Picketing! Christmas Carols, Class Conflict, and the Eaton’s Strike, 1984-85

ActiveHistory.ca is on a hiatus for the winter break, and will return to daily posts in early January.  During the hiatus, we’re featuring some of our favourite seasonal posts. Thank you to all our contributors, guest editors, and readers for making 2018 a very successful year. Happy holidays to all and we look forward to continuing our work in 2019! The… Read more »

What Makes Oshawa So Special?

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Steven High Most mills and factories close with a whimper and not a bang. Few were therefore prepared for the media fire-storm sparked by General Motor’s (GM) decision to close its auto-assembly plant in Oshawa, putting 2,500 Canadians out of work. What makes this closure so special? For starters, there is the historic centrality of the auto industry in Southern… Read more »

From Trudeau to Trudeau:  A Violation of the Right to Strike and Bargain Collectively

by Christo Aivalis At the time of writing, Justin Trudeau’s federal Liberal government is quickly going through the procedural motions to legislate Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) members back to work. While the Liberals’ strong parliamentary majority—along with support from the Conservative opposition on this issue—means such legislation will likely pass, it may be delayed slightly by concerns in… Read more »

Revisiting the 1981 CUPW Strike for Maternity Leave

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Mikhail Bjorge and Kassandra Luciuk As co-instructors, we are currently teaching a course on the history of women and work. Our primary concern in this course is to have students think historically about women’s lived experiences under capitalism. We explore how things looked in the past, how they were transformed over time, and, in turn, why they look the way… Read more »