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Chapter 2

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


Department
Employment Relations, Centre for Industrial Relations and Human Resources
Course Code
IRE244H1
Professor
Frank Reid
Chapter
2

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IRE244 LABOUR RELATIONS
Oct 6th, 2016
Week 4 Reading H&B Chapter 2
- Labour History
Pre-unionization
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
supervision
o Trade Union: Unions that organize all workers of a trade regardless of their industry or
workplace
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
party
Labour should create its own priorities, articulate them and seek endorsement of
existing political parties instead of sticking to one
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