Oct. 19 2011
Liberalism was feeling “comfortable” w/ the le se fare approach (let it be)
Public works- Biggest era of railway boom in Canada's history. Government went into massive debt due to the railways
Tariff- Protective trade policies. Business people complained. Most people in the political establishment felt that it was not necessary.
Dislocation- cities have to be entirely redesigned because of the automobile, cities are booming, there is much change.
Some people will lose their jobs- replaced by technology, their wages go down due to deskilling.
The overall level of growth benefits people. Better off letting it continue to boom than to try and do too much to regulate. This was not
the view everybody held. The public were worried about two main things – democracy, how to you fit a democracy in a big corporate
power. The other- social issues that are getting out of hand. Most clear in cities ie. No running water, street lighting.
The broad mental people take is called progressivism they say the government needs to do something about these problems. Progressives
for the most part were educated middle class people.
Progressivism is bigger in the U.S.A. Government's start to provide really basic services. The issue of democracy is still a big issue. The
progressive solution is – in order to expand to match the expanding size of corporations, government will expand as well.
Why businesses don't like government- Progressives very deliberately thought they should expand the power of government to expand
and match the power of corporations.
A lot of technology and machinery are designed to replace skill. Tasks are now broken down to the simplest and smallest thing. For craft
unions w/ interest in controlling a trade, this is bad news. Craft unions start to go through a large organizing surge around the early 20
Approx. Total of International Locals in Canada
– 1890s – 350 to 400
– 1902- over 1000
– 1914- 1775
AFL-American Federation of Labour
Biggest and most influential labour organization in the states. It is not a union- it is a collection of different unions.
Because of this big organizing surge the AFL becomes increasingly influential
The philosophy of theAFL is summed up by Samuel Gompers- Gomperism
His philosophy was no philosophy. He has very basic things he wants to do, but does not form theories.
Bread and Butter Unionism-
Unions can do all kinds of other things, but for a union, what separates a union from other types of organizations you must deliver the
goods. Every single member of theAFL has to be seeing the benefits of being in a union, conditions getting better.
Gomper was good at arguing, taking on his opponents. He knew how to focus on what he wanted to prove.
When wages are low & products are cheap= society is POOR.
If you truly want a society with a higher standard of living, everything must be higher- higher wages- higher prices.
Being able and ready to beat employers at their own game.
For Gompers the key to this was a contract with your employer that holds out the conditions.
Two unions protecting one type of member was “bad”. Loses control of the trade. Your leverage is a component of your skill.
What he wanted was the carpenters union to be the voice of the carpenters trade, the printers of the printing trade. Sameul Gompers- the
voice of labour.
Organizing- Gompers was big on organizing. He wanted professional organizers. He wanted the people that knew everything the best.
Beat corporations at their own game- hire the best people. He had a great eye for hiring talented people.
Mobilizing women to know who to buy from. What companies were pro/anti union, what companies were on strike?
Union label-All products would have a label if the product was union made.
John Flett- Canadian organizer hired by Gompers.
TLC problems – Gompers was unhappy with how much Canadian nationalism there was in the TLC. The TLC allowed dual unionism.
TLC was not very professional. The system was loose, did not hire professional organizers.
Gompers did not order around people, as long as they followed his basic orders.
People were happy in unions- you could go on strike when you wanted. At times workers were frustrated with having to go to chicago to
get permission to strike. Continued DeSkilling-
Big industrial conflicts, craft union going on stri