Equity, Diversity & Canadian Labour

Equity, Diversity & Canadian Labour

GERALD HUNT
DAVID RAYSIDE
Copyright Date: 2007
DOI: 10.3138/9781442684300
Pages: 304
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.3138/9781442684300
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Equity, Diversity & Canadian Labour
    Book Description:

    Equity, Diversity, and Canadian Labourexplores the specific challenges put to outmoded attitudes and practices, charting the efforts made by organized labour in Canada towards addressing discrimination in the workplace and within unions themselves.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-8430-0
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Preface
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Union Abbreviations
    (pp. ix-2)
  5. 1 Introduction
    (pp. 3-24)
    GERALD HUNT

    There is a clear economic advantage for Canadian workers to belong to a union. Research consistently points to the superior pay, benefits, and working conditions of unionized employees compared to similarly employed workers who are not union members (Akyeampong 2002; Fang and Verma 2002; Gunderson and Hyatt 2005; Renaud 1997). But, does this advantage extend beyond strictly class-based issues? Do unions provide a forum in which inequities that arise from gender, race, ethnicity, disability, sexuality, and immigrant or minority status are seriously addressed? Does organized labour simply replicate and perpetuate historical sources of bias and discrimination in society, or does...

  6. 2 Looking Back: A Brief History of Everything
    (pp. 25-48)
    JULIE WHITE

    It has been thoroughly documented that unions have not escaped the discriminatory attitudes to be found in other institutions and organizations in society. Equally, it is generally recognized that unions have contributed to the advancement of issues of concern to women and minority groups. Any analysis of union policies and actions must deal with these contradictory tendencies. Ongoing tensions exist between the union movement and the broader society, between the members and union leadership, between progressive and conservative forces.

    It is worth analysing the role of unions, because they are important to the concerns of women and minority groups. Unions...

  7. 3 Bargaining Against the Past: Fair Pay, Union Practice, and the Gender Pay Gap
    (pp. 49-74)
    ANNE FORREST

    This chapter analyses how changes in the law of equality in Canada have transformed the union concept of fair pay, the limits of that transformation, and the impact on gender equality in wages in the union sector. On one level, there has been remarkably little change over time. The same three principles – pay the job not the worker, equal pay for equal work, and fair comparisons – that shaped union wage demands in the 1940s and 1950s continue to govern wage bargaining today. Nonetheless, the interpretation and application of these principles by unions in wage bargaining is profoundly different now. Whereas...

  8. 4 Union Response to Pay Equity: A Cautionary Tale
    (pp. 75-100)
    JUDY HAIVEN

    There is much evidence of Canada’s labour movement having taken up issues related to gender inequity over the last two and a half decades, and this includes a principled attachment to the principles underlying pay equity. The 1960s and 1970s saw major increases in the number of women who entered the labour force permanently, and demands for equity in the workplace and inside the labour movement were soon being articulated. Unions had already been committed to the removal of the most obvious discriminatory practices, but women’s caucuses were calling now for a more radical agenda. In the late 1970s and...

  9. 5 Labour’s Collective Bargaining Record on Women’s and Family Issues
    (pp. 101-129)
    KAREN BENTHAM

    The increasing proportion of women in the labour force has been cited as one of the most profound changes in the Canadian workplace in the past half-century. The unprecedented migration of women into paid employment, combined with the shift away from traditionally unionized, male-dominated industries towards service-oriented industries (Chaykowski and Powell 1999), has had profound effects on unions and the labour movement. Fifty years ago, the typical Canadian union member was white, male, and employed full time at a blue-collar job. Today, Canadian union members are as diverse as our population, a sizable proportion of them work part-time, and they...

  10. 6 We Are Family: Labour Responds to Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Workers
    (pp. 130-155)
    GERALD HUNT and JONATHAN EATON

    Canada can claim to have one most progressive records on sexual diversity issues in the world. By 2007 a series of court rulings had removed the formal discrimination between homosexuals and heterosexuals, and Canada had become one of very few countries where same-sex marriage was possible. Still, a number of serious problems remained: homophobic hate-crimes, biased policing, lack of information and support in schools, regional variations in the level of tolerance, and, in a few jurisdictions, uncertainty concerning adoption rights. In December 2006 the newly elected Conservative government tabled a motion to reopen the same-sex marriage debate. Although it was...

  11. 7 Broadening the Labour Movement’s Disability Agenda
    (pp. 156-180)
    DAVID RAYSIDE and FRASER VALENTINE

    People with disabilities are still marginalized in the labour force. A majority often have great difficulty finding work at all, and many who do so find themselves in low-wage and vulnerable jobs that deny or undervalue the intelligence and skill they bring to their work. The Canadian labour movement has long provided support for their members who have been injured or who have fallen ill as a result of their jobs. They have also fought for health and safety promotion at the workplace. Only in the last few years, though, have unions broadened their disability agendas in the directions laid...

  12. 8 Racism and the Labour Movement
    (pp. 181-207)
    TANIA DAS GUPTA

    A number of studies in the last few decades have documented the existence of racism in the Canadian labour market. Using 1999 data from the Survey of Labour and Income Dynamics (SLID) from Statistics Canada, Jackson (2002) reported that people of colour¹ earned an average of $19,895 in 1999, while all other workers earned $23,764, a difference of 16.3 per cent. On the basis of census data from 1996, Galabuzi (2001) noted that individuals of colour had poverty rates of 35.6 per cent compared to a general poverty rate of 17.6 per cent. He also argued that economic apartheid exists...

  13. 9 Equity, Diversity, and Canadian Labour: A Comparative Perspective
    (pp. 208-243)
    DAVID RAYSIDE

    In this chapter, I argue that the Canadian labour movement has moved as far as any of its counterparts in other countries – and perhaps further – in recognizing diversity. This does not mean that such recognition is uniform, or equally substantial across such axes of difference as race, gender, Aboriginal status, sexual orientation, and dis/ability. But in overall terms, unions in Canada are among the international leaders is shifting from their roots in white, male, heterosexual workplace constituencies.

    As in all areas of political and organizational life, uneven implementation of policy commitments makes any comparative assessment of labour movements an uncertain...

  14. Afterword
    (pp. 244-256)
    LINDA BRISKIN

    Equity, Diversity, and Canadian Labourdocuments the significant shift in diversity politics in Canadian unions from a focus largely on women to attention to multiple equity-seeking groups. Despite continuing challenges to this equity project, when considered over time, progress has been dramatic. In bringing together discussions of union equity organizing around disability, racism, sexuality, and gender, this anthology makes a notable contribution to the industrial relations and labour studies literature. It challenges commonsense tendencies to understand unions as institutions focused on narrow economic agendas, and simultaneously contests the lack of serious engagement with the union equity project in industrial relations...

  15. References
    (pp. 257-282)
  16. Contributors
    (pp. 283-285)