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Chapter 2

IRE244H1 Chapter Notes - Chapter 2: Canadian Labour Congress, Samuel Gompers

Employment Relations, Centre for Industrial Relations and Human Resources
Course Code
Frank Reid

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Oct 6th, 2016
Week 4 Reading H&B Chapter 2
- Labour History
Exploring the type of workplace practices that existed prior to the rise of the labour movement
Master-servant Relationship
- Master-servant relationship: Employment relationships in which employees have few rights
o Huge power imbalance, almost employers had all the power
o Employees had to obey everything the employers command and follow every contract
- Common Law: The legal regime for non-union employment
o Unions were illegal, laws did little to protect employees
o No associations or third party actors
The Movement to Unionization
The early years (Pre-1900)
- The trades union act, American Federation of Labour, Trades and labour Congress of Canada, Knights
of Labour
- New Model Unionism: The movement to trade (or craft) unions
o All members performed the same trade or specialty
o Restricted trade though apprenticeships a process in which trainees learn a trade under the
o Trade Union: Unions that organize all workers of a trade regardless of their industry or
Caada’s e odel uiois
- The Nine-hour movement and Trade union act of 1872
o Sparked by a group of 1,500 workers who sought a reduction in the length of the workday
o Did ot result i sigifiat gais ut it’s speulated to hae iflueed the reatio of the
Trade Union Act allowance of workers to join unions
Also no longer a conspiracy/crime for a person to join a union
- American Federation of Labour and the Trades and Labour Congress of Canada
o Built on 3 principles by Samuel Gompers:
o 1. Exclusive Jurisdiction: What exists when a single union represents all workers of a trade or
occupational grouping
Unions should be craft/trade based (only wage earners could be union members)
and each union would be responsible for a single occupation or trade
o 2. Business Unionism (or pure-and-simple unionism): Unionism that focuses on improving
wages and the working conditions of its members
Economic well-being of members should be a priority focus of unions (not political)
Socialist Unionism: Unionism that challenges capitalism and seeks equity for union
and non union members
o 3. Political non-partisanship: A belief that unions should not be aligned with any political
Labour should create its own priorities, articulate them and seek endorsement of
existing political parties instead of sticking to one
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