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MHR522 - Week 04.docx

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Ryerson University
Human Resources
MHR 522
Tim Bartkiw

MHR522 Tuesday, February 4, 2014 History of Labour & IR in Canada Video: “Workers Millennium” • Era: 1900-1950 (approx.) • Context: th o Begins in late 19 century, Canada o Industrial Revolution firmly underway o Early emergence of Unions, collective bargaining o Response to labour market conditions – insecurity, high employment, etc. • Craft Unions o Canadians joined The American Federation of Labour (AFL) • Trying to organize a federation in Canada of unions • They were coming together in a movement of working class people • Still restrictive b/c only of groups of people in craft unions • The IWW (International Workers of the World); “The Wobblies” o Created in 1905 o Promotes the concept of “One Big Union” • World War I in1914 o Unemployment decreased, more need for people to work in the factories o Shortage of women and men to work in the labour market; those who did not work are now working o During this time period, many unions were organized in these plants; conditions were going up o Why? Moment in time when workers’ bargaining power now went up due to the labour shortage • Winnipeg General Strike, Manitoba o Workers are out on strike o Mass uprising of workers across the city; protesting against the economy • The Roaring Twenties o Canadian workers never recovered from a post-war depression o 60% of working families hover on the verge of poverty o Instead of recognizing unions, they have industrial councils (they have a voice, but no power to make any changes) • Picnics, pension plans, and savings programs MHR522 Tuesday, February 4, 2014 o Miners tried to strike but was stopped by police; They were forced back to work with a pay cut • 1929 Stock Market Crash (The Great Depression) o Many workers were laid off o ¼ of country’s workforce was unemployed • Portrayal of the Government o They didn’t have a large role in terms of protecting/promoting the working class o They continually weighed in on one side; job was to quell uprising and push down • 1930: The Great Depression o Prime Minister R.B. Bennett guiding a newly poor country o Any worker causing trouble is easy to replace; mass unemployment = low worker bargaining power o Poor working conditions o RCMP opened fire in workers’ strikes o Worker’s Unity League organizing in the most difficult sectors of the economy o September 17: Soldiers from London arrive, bringing four small machine gun carriers o Mid thirties, unemployment sweeps across the country • Unemployed fight back; people evicted for non-payment of their mortgages • “Slave Camps”: Thousands of unemployed men were shipped out to undeveloped areas and forced to work as labourers; 1,500 men set out to Vancouver in demand for jobs o R.B. Bennett voted out of office o Assembly line created • New form; congress of industrial organizations • World War II (1939-1945) o Women, once again, flock into the factories as there is now another labour shortage • Women are doing men’s jobs but at a lower pay o 1942, women sign a union contract • Workers could demand and win due to the labour shortage • Strike is called off after o Labour peace is needed to sustain war efforts • 1943: Mackenzie King creates P.C. 1003 law: Guarantee workers union if workers vote for it MHR522 Tuesday, February 4, 2014 • Temporary war measure (said it would only last through the war, but still remains) o Many unions organized; more bargaining power o CIOs started in the States and moved towards Canada • End of World War II o The immediate effect: Soldiers come back, extra workers flooding the labour market • Factories that made war materials are now shut down o The union movement that had gained a foothold during WWII, were worried the same thing would happened as did after WWI Wagner Act 1935 (U.S.) • Canadian “PC 1003” (1944) modeled on US “Wagner Act” of 1935 (Roosevelt government) • Key elements: o Right to organize without ER retaliation o Right to collective bargaining – ER had to “recognize” union o Right to strike without ER harassment/punishment •
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