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Labour Studies
David Goutor

1 Labour Studies Exam Readings: “Farm Households and Wage Labour in the Northern Maritimes in the Early Nineteenth Century” Bitterman, R. -discusses expanding homes through labour -many people would buy lands although on average about 1.5 acres of land would be purchased per year -weather conditions and the presence or absence of crop and animal disease affected the progress of a household -during the 1840’s there was a repeated failure of potato crops which was caused by frost -the people that did have access to resources were found working on their farms for over 30 years -some households would make ends meet through combining wage work with the sales of their crops although majority would trade their goods, for example trade their butter and meat for breadstuffs and fish -three basic household categories: 1) households usually of backlanders where farms were usually short of household subsistence needs thus families had to look for income beyond just the farm 2) households where the farm production was successful and met the needs of the family simply through income from their farm, thus the family had the option of working with their farm to meet their own sources of work for someone else 3) households where the farm production would meet current needs although would force children to engage in the labour force in order to make ends meet -big and small operations found it necessary to hire seasonal help- harvesting operations in particular needed this assistance, a small operation would hire an extra worker for a few days while big operations would hire many daily laborers -certain tasks such as raking hay, digging potatoes ect was done by cheaper labour meaning women, girls and boys while mowing and heterogeneous work force was for men -labour that was available all year long was fencing, ploughing, harrowing, sowing, cutting and sawing firewood, different types of harvesting operations -agricultural work was for many the first glance of wage employment- it could have been through family work force or though being a crew in a field, either way people were working a familiar work place, with people they somewhat could relate to in terms of age and gender. The work contract was usually informal, based on a daily basis, and was usually a walk away from home -wage work in the timber trade was different from the agricultural labour that took place in the first half of the 19th century -was mostly male employment, where most of their work was distant from their own farms although the employment was extended for longer periods of times such as from fall to spring -by 1830, farmers were traveling back and forth from timber camps and their homes, these types of men were spending most of their lives as bunkhouse men, living at the worksite because of the schedule -in the first half of the 19th century, farm-based laborers found wages in building construction and work on roads, canals and railways 2 -coal mining industry provided work for farm-based laborers, even as it increasingly came to rely upon a skilled workforce, for example out of 355 employees, only 66 were actually colliers -some employment would offer a good deal of flexibility- daily work close to home although if a a father, and his children worked at the same pay roll one day, the next day only his sons would be working, there was a constant shift in who would work. This was because the men would be able to choose their hours, or get other people to complete the tasks for them -other employment would offer poor flexibility- (shipbuilding, timber industry) usually only for adult males and requires working a distance from home, leaving the women to manage the household and farm duties -although many rural residents engage in seasonal work at near and distant job sites, fewer and fewer rely on farming as a means to survive when they are not engaged in wage work “Gender at Work at Home: Family Decisions, the Labour Market, and Girls’ Contributions to the Family Economy” Bettina Bradbury -discusses patriarch and capitalism and how it affects the family dynamics in terms or what role each individual of the family has and how these roles are determines through economy, class and gender -labour market is a major contributing factor to the family economy -skilled workers have a higher wage than unskilled workers by about 25 cents which at the time was a huge difference -skilled workers had a better chance of avoiding disease because they had bed resources to food -most successful way for a family to survive was by having access to family members who would be willing to work because the more people that a family had working meant it had a better stability to survive -children were a reliable source for wage as they became a families main source of security why is why parents tried to keep them at home for as long as possible. Prior to having children, a married couple would on average have at least of one them working which made it very difficult to raise a child -when children would grow up they would either take over their parents job or they would take in boarders and use extra family members to work -boys were preferred to work over girls because they had a larger variety within the workplace, had higher wage and were educated about labour related issues while girls were educated about housewife skills, as directed by the church -families would prefer to send a younger son to work than an older daughter in order to use her around the house and benefit with more wage from the son -most common jobs that females did were sewing because it was the most convenient one that they could do while being able to continue their other housework duties -school was not a popular institution because males felt they had to work to help their family with money while females felt they needed to help their moms around the house Drawing Different Lines in Color: The Mainstream English Canadian Labour Movement’s Approach to Black and the Chinese, 1880-1914, David Goutor -over the last two decades in both Canada and America there has been a great focus towards the similarities and differences in white people’s constructions of various minorities and immigrant groups 3 -the exclusion of the Chinese was seen as necessary in order to protect the material interest of the white working class as well as the moral and social fabric of the Dominion -blacks and Chinese were given different roles in labour, Chinese were made into cheap and slavish workers while blacks were struggling with the plantation slave system which was seen as an inspiration and for organization labour -trade unions presented Chinese migrants as inherently less civilized and therefore happy with a lower standard of living, this was also presenting the Chinese as less than men -white people did not want to work with Chinese because it would be seen being brought down a level -it was argued that the Chinese would be draining the economy because any of the money that the made here would not be spent here but rather from abroad -Chinese men were not viewed as ones that provided a decent home for their families like the white males, but instead they invested nothing because their only purpose was to make money for their wife and children back in China -Chinese were considering to always steal and get involved in prostitution which made them slavish -Canadian labour presented the Chinese immigrants as a danger to the economy which created a debate of excluding them all together -Canadian unionists believes that blacks have suffered centuries of unjust oppression and unjustifiable discrimination while the Chinese reflected an inherently degraded character -Chinese were seen as a threat because they were more competitive with white workers in the field of railroads, mining and fruit farming -the competition of the Chinese in the labour market was one of the most important factors about why there was contrasting views against them -Canadian laborers believed that Chinese did not have civilized standards and lacked intelligence which was a disgrace to Canadians while they believed that the blacks needed their help to stop the slavery that they had to go to and provide them with freedom “The Formation of The Canadian Industrial Relations System During World War Two” Larel MacDowell -during the years of war there was a demand for collective bargaining which included raising wages, improving working conditions, the demand by organized workers for a new status and the right to participate in decision making both in industry and government -most dramatic change throughout these years was the growth of the labour movement itself- when was started there was only 359, 000 organized workers but then it doubled -there was an increase in strike activity, one in three men were part of a strike -National Selective Service (NSS) restricted woekrs‘ freedom in the labour market, since a worker could be frozen in his job, transfered or placed in a military training -at the beginning of the war, the governments‘ labour policy was “non-interventionist” but despite its alleged “neutrality” it had in practice been restrictive -trade union pressure helped to initiate improvements on the job and preserved them at the end of the war, an example of this was the seniority principle which was a new measure of job security -trade union became a permanent part of the labour relations process and acted to ensure that the agreement was properly interpreted and administered -there was a degree of democracy in the industry achieved 4 “The Honest Workingman and Workers’ Control: The Experience of Toronto Skilled Workers, 1860-1892” Gregory S. Kealey -discusses three Toronto unions from the 1860s - 1890s to show the power that craftsmen had a high degree of control of production 1) Coopers International Union: -created a union structure which provided sick and death benefits, an international strike fund, and a card system for tramping members -wages were not the subject of collective bargaining; the union would meet together, decide on a price they want and the management would either agree or disagree with this cost -restricted production especially when work was short which meant they could spread the work around and also prevent speed-ups or other infringements of their shop-floor control -skilled workers carried themselves with pride and felt themselves to be equal to their boss -machines did not eliminate the need for skilled workers, because skill and knowledge were still important components of barrel making -the cooper company ended up failing, workers did not want to work there anymore because the hours went down and they were no longer able to have much say 2) International Typographical Union: -the printers’s control of the shop floor demonstrates extremely well union power -printers possessed a strong tradition of craft pride and identification -the printers saw their crafts as crucial in maintaing all that was best in the western literary tradition, this pride in craft was manifested time and time again throughout the nineteenth century -the foreman plays an important role. He is a union member who is subject to the discipline of his brothers as well as takes care of the hiring process -the union retained a strong position in bargaining- the union would arrive at an approved scale of prices and then bring it to the employees 3) Iron Molders International Union -these workers were different from the coopers because they had success in maintaing their traditions and because of their presence from the start of this period at the centre of the industrial capitalist world -moulders worked in the important stove, machinery and agricultural implements industries -the union had control over the price of the moulders’ labour although aside from price an element of “percentage” was another source of wage. The percentage was negotiable with wage conflicts in the industry -the shop committee dictated how many number of pieces that a member was allowed to produce a day, leaving it out of the hands of the boss -the number of apprentices allowed in a shop and the number of unskilled workers was set by the union -moulders engaged in major strikes to resist demands by the manufacturers that the customs and usages of the craft be sacrificed -iron moulders, unlike coopers maintained a high degree of workplace control on into the twentieth century which was mainly because of their strong organization and slow development of technology replacing their skills 5 “Origins of Canada’s Wagner Model of Industrial Relations: The United Auto Workers in Canada and the Suppression of “Rank and File” Unionism, 1936-1954” Donald Wells -the cause of labour’s crisis is economic and political -goal of the Wagner model was to ensure industrial peace -model is centered on bureaucratic, economistic collective bargaining by union elites and precludes a politics of class mobilization, particularly in the workplace -Canada’s Wagner model contained major gains for labour but also contributed to fundamental, enduring weakness in the internal organization of industrial unionism -Canada’s Wagner model was the product of complex reciprocal forces, including the contradictory role of wartime political elites and the intransigent opposition of Ford of Canada to such unionism right up to 1945 -Wagner model arose through piecemeal changes during the war, many of which were considered temporary at the time -By the late 1940’s, the Canadian Wagner model was well established and had much the same impact on relations between union leaders and members as it had earlier in the US -Regardless of whether Canada or US, there was a centre of the Wagner model which has an agreement to provide union security and a growing standard of living to unionized workers in return for union leaders taking on a key role in disciplining workers to keep the no-strike terms of the contract -WWII was a critical juncture in the development of Canada’s political economy “Excerpts from ‘Working Class Experience’” Palmer -the Knights drew workers into their ranks through mixed assemblies or trade assemblies -for an assembly to be organized at least ten members were required, initiation fees for men were a dollar and for females and fifty cents for females -The Knights penetrated mostly large towns, although if a town had over 3,000 people or a railway centre it was almost certain to have Knights organize within it -On the west coast, the Knights had to deal with a racist working-class attack on Oriental workers. Oriental labour was denounces as low, degraded and servile -Knights and Workmen dramatically expanded the institutions of the workers’ movement in the 1880’s, providing the organizational focus of a labour upsurge -workers in the 1880’s attained their greatest accomplishments as the ambiguous, fractured and unfocused raw material of working-class life -the movement culture was most visible in the Ontario experience of the Knights of Labour -the Knights of Labour developed out of the social, cultural, political and economic context in which class differentiation has been developing over decades, although it posed alternatives such as striking a posture of opposition -To become apart of the Knights of Labour, one had to vow to defend the interest and reputation of all true members of the Knights of Labour and provided secret signs, oaths, passwords. The Knights of Labour showed awareness of the importance of working men and women -as the Knights of Labour moved across Canada, they forged a unity among laborers previously unattained and unanticipated. They discovered some of the strongest backers and promoters among working-class intellectuals and activists, and achieved new organizational strength by including women, uniting the particular oppression of sex with the cause of exploited working class 6 -Within the 1880’s women became a vital component of the labour force across North America, representing approximately 15% of the employers, although they were excluded from the Knights of Labour until 1881 -They began working with textiles, in shoe factories and domestic service although their wages were on average one third of what males made -one of the major issues between capital and labour that emerged in the 1880s was the rising number of strikes, most were about wage although workers also attempted to retain control over work processes that seemed to be drifting into others’ hands as capital consolidates its authority -there was 102 strikes from 1880-1895, compared to only 61 from 1843-1879 -Knights of Labour often formed alliances with long-established craft unions to mount smaller struggles aimed at the preservation of particular forms of worker autonomy or limited job control -movement culture heightened worker awareness, challenged capital and promotes the cause of labour militancy and unity -the Knights of Labour conceived of themselves as chivalrous protectors of women’s virtue: -three important concept’s the movement culture used in terms of class and sex are: -willingness to enter into this realm is a reflection of the undeniable advances -premised on highly traditional notions of gender in which a hierarchical opposition conveyed distinctions that were themselves antithetical on the project of equality and repressive in their undertones of male protectors -the Knights of Labour could only campaign for the kind of seduction law and state intervention into the realm of sexuality that would prove less of a liberation for woman and more of a new, institutionalized regime of regulation -the amount of physical and sexual abuse centered in the family demonstrates how much the movement culture changed working-class life in the late 19th century “History of the Winnipeg General Strike 1919” Penner, N. -May and June of 1919, the formation of industrial organizations in place of craft organization , under the name of One Big Union -The Walker Theatre meeting was planned because the workers realized that the Trades Congress officers were important in the matter of securing from the Government redress -The Majestic Theatre meeting was one of the series planned by the Socialist Party to propagate their views. -The strike grew out of the refusal of the “iron masters” who were the owners of the contract metal shops -The Immigration Cat was introduced into the Federal Parliament. -Shortly after it was passed the accused were arrested and sent to jail, they were then sent in front of the Board of Enquiry and may have to be deported -Progress of events was sent forth for the entire Labour Movement 1. The reason for calling the Walker Theatre meeting and report of the same 2. The Majestic Theatre meeting was planned 3. The formation of aims of the Labour Church 4. The calling
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