Tag Archives: labour history

What’s the Beef with COVID-19?

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By Catherine Carstairs and Philip Rich As restaurants across the country closed in March to prevent the spread of COVID-19, fast-food chains stayed open. In the first quarter of 2020, McDonald’s Corp global sales decreased by only 3.4%. This is remarkable given that McDonald’s had to close over 300 stores in China as well as restaurants in France, Italy, Spain and the… Read more »

Seventh Annual(?) Year in Review (100 Years Later)

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By Aaron Boyes and Sean Graham You know what they say about decades – in like a lamb, out like a lion. 2019 has been, at times, a slog. From a remarkably contentious federal election campaign, to impeachment, to climate change, to violence, consuming news this year has rarely left us with an overwhelming feeling of optimism. That’s why stories… Read more »

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 »