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The Rise and fall of the Toronto Typographical Union

The Rise and fall of the Toronto Typographical Union

Series: Heritage
Copyright Date: 1982
Pages: 408
  • Book Info
    The Rise and fall of the Toronto Typographical Union
    Book Description:

    This case study traces the development of the union which began as the Toronto Typographical Society. Through a close examination of this Canadian local's relations with its eventual parent organization in the US, Zerker reveals the 'domination' and brings into question the advantages of an international connection.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-3292-9
    Subjects: Business, Management & Organizational Behavior, History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-viii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-x)
  3. Part One. The Founding of a Canadian Union

    • 1 Introduction
      (pp. 3-16)

      Long before Canadian nationhood was forged there were Canadian labour unions. Unlike their counterparts in Europe, unions in Canada were neither a consequence of industrialization and urbanization nor induced by the growth of a national market. Here they preceded industrialism with all its accompanying social changes. This fact should not be surprising. From the earliest days of European settlement in the forbidding yet enticing wilderness that was to become a peripheral element of Western civilization, the settlers imported known cultural implements and adapted them to the demands of the new environment, borrowing along the way from the culture of indigenous...

    • 2 The York Typographical Society, 1832–1837
      (pp. 17-29)

      On 12 October 1832 twenty-four journeymen printers of the town of York, principally of English origin,¹ met at the York Hotel on King Street East on the initiation of Mr J.H. Lawrence, journeyman printer at the Guardian office. These men probably represented most of the printers in York at that time; theToronto Commercial Directoryfor 1836–37² lists a total of twenty-four men attached to the trade, including employing printers. Bearing in mind that the directory reported for the period preceding the depression and revolution of 1837, and taking account of the town’s population growth and of the increase...

    • 3 Consolidation
      (pp. 30-50)

      The Toronto Typographical Society was reorganized on 9 February 1844. This move should not be regarded as the formation of a new labour union; it was decidedly a revival of the old. It was Daniel Bancroft, the original president, who became president again in 1844. A number of familiar names from the old association are recorded as members of the new; these include Bancroft, R. W. Clindinning, Samuel J. Jones, and James Lumsden. The nucleus of the reorganized body was drawn from the old membership, and the constitution of the Toronto Typographical Society of 1844 was essentially the same as...

  4. Part Two. Growth and Affiliation

    • 4 The international connection
      (pp. 53-77)

      By the mid-nineteenth century there was a viable organization of printers in the city of Toronto. Its initiation and its stabilization had not been easy, but the difficulties had not defeated those resolute men who persisted in their objectives: to gain a foothold in the local labour market and to have a voice in wage determination for the urban industry. It was a laudable achievement and one that had been accomplished by a small group of local craftsmen acting independently of any direct outside influence.

      However, Toronto’s printers were neither isolated nor insulated from other members of their craft on...

    • 5 An autonomous period
      (pp. 78-96)

      In the beginning, ttu affiliation with the International changed very little on the Toronto printing scene, except to the extent that such affiliation induced greater union security as a result of growing membership and better control over the migratory printer.¹ It also brought about a change in the society’s name; henceforth it was called the Toronto Typographical Union, No. 91. But the Toronto local remained an autonomous, independent body, specifically Canadian in outlook and connections. In the period before 1885, a period that can be described as one of minimal itu control over subordinate unions, the identification of this Canadian...

  5. Part Three. itu Centralization

    • 6 The expansion of itu power and formalization of negotiations
      (pp. 99-127)

      The ttu took a crucial step when it affiliated with the American printers’ organization. It was a logical, even inevitable outgrowth of the tacit agreements which had existed between the Toronto union and its sister unions throughout the North American continent. The decision was a clear case of concern for members’ welfare in their search for employment outside their home base.

      But the decision had an immediate, dramatic and positive effect on local union membership. Enrolment more than doubled in the first year of affiliation, and the trend thereafter was clearly upwards. It is true that the growth in membership...

    • 7 Local 91 and the allied trades
      (pp. 128-156)

      At first the Toronto Typographical Union represented printers who were multi-function printers, that is, men who were not specialists. In the early days of the union’s history, printing craftsmen worked in small shops and performed all the processes in the production of printed matter. Thus, when the union presented its demands to employers, there was no distinction between typesetting and presswork. This situation changed as the work of the compositor became distinct from that of the pressman. By 1869 the scale of prices established special piece rates for presswork; and compositors, who were by then specialists, were not to be...

  6. Part Four. The itu in Control

    • 8 The itu short-hour movement
      (pp. 159-177)

      In the short span of little more than a decade towards the closing years of the nineteenth century the continental printers’ organization assumed an entirely new look. Until 1885 the itu was little more than a loose association of urban unions of printers, with authority over control of the mobile labour force its main concern. By the turn of the century decisions relating to all aspects of local trade regulations emanated from International headquarters.

      The itu had taken on immense additional power through its authority over and management of a series of beneficiary programs. In 1892 the itu established a...

    • 9 The forty-four-hour printers’ strike
      (pp. 178-204)

      Early in the 1920s the Toronto Typographical Union became embroiled in the most disastrous strike of its history to that date. All the elements which had played a part in the transformation of the local union’s independence and all the local conditions with respect to craft conflicts together contrived to bring about this unfortunate result. Events in New York, which had no direct bearing on the situation in Toronto, initiated the problems. International conflicts between the parent typographical union and the commercial employers’ association directed local policy. Internal politics, both at home and at the International level, fractured the organizations....

    • 10 The depression years
      (pp. 205-222)

      If the 1920s were dismal years for the ttu – and they were – they were merely a prelude for what was to come in the 1930s. The difference between the two decades was that the earlier period was characterized by repercussions from internal organizational miscalculations, which on the whole affected only the commercial branch of the trade. The newspaper sector carried on with little disturbance and good relations. The grim years of the depression, however, pummelled labourers indiscriminately throughout the industrialized world. The western world was populated with workers who were victims of failed economies; and governments generally contributed...

    • 11 Prelude to the 1960s
      (pp. 223-252)

      The depression in Canada finally receded with the outbreak of the Second World War. Previously governments had refused to engage in the volume of spending necessary to stimulate production and to absorb unused capacities, but the war effort forced the hands of policy-makers. Gradually, the unemployed resources which had been the trademark of the 1930s were put to work.

      It is important not to mistake the origin of these benefits which accompanied the war. It should never be misconstrued that war-making in itself was the instrument of economic recovery. Rather, the earlier lack of recovery was due to the stupidity...

    • 12 Technology overtakes the ttu
      (pp. 253-277)

      It was bound to happen. Inevitably, printing employers in Toronto would take to the new processes, since a growing number of corporate entrants into this specialized mechanical and electronic field were bringing out enticing and exciting innovations. Where the Mergenthaler Linotype Company and the Intertype Corporation had previously monopolized the typesetting machine business, in this second round of technological change there was a wide variety of companies coming forward with an equally wide variety of models and promises of raised productivity. To name just a few: American Type Founders developed Model b atf Phototypesetter, specifically designed for setting text in...

    • 13 A sad finale
      (pp. 278-314)

      The banishment of the ttu from the Toronto newspaper industry had begun, and it was set in motion with the union walk-out on 9 July 1964. It has since been contended that the workers’ actions were immaterial at that point, because the publishers had oiled their machines well, were ready with a scheme for continued production, and wanted the printers out. Therefore, according to that view, the employers would have pushed and prodded until the union inevitably would be forced to resist. If the printers had not left their jobs when they did over the quarrel then prevailing, it would...

  7. 14 Conclusion
    (pp. 315-324)

    The Toronto Typographical Union has experienced the most severe pummelling and bruising; one should not conclude therefore, that the union has gone out of business entirely. In fact, the printers continue to elect officers, send their representatives to Itu conventions, collect dues and pay out benefits, negotiate contracts, launch recruitment campaigns which are sometimes successful, meet with conciliation officers, and generally carry on all the various activities and fulfil all the necessary functions one would expect a union to perform. But although Local 91 perseveres, one cannot describe it as a healthy organization, nor does it abound with favourable prospects...

  8. APPENDIX: Growth of the ttu
    (pp. 325-338)
  9. Notes
    (pp. 339-380)
  10. Bibliography
    (pp. 381-388)
  11. Index
    (pp. 389-397)
  12. Back Matter
    (pp. 398-398)