Our Union
350 pages, 5 1/2 x 8 1/2
Release Date:01 Dec 2011

Our Union

UAW/CAW Local 27 from 1950 to 1990

Athabasca University Press

The postwar period witnessed dramatic changes in the lives ofworking-class families. Wages rose, working hours were reduced, womenand members of immigrant communities entered the labour market ingrowing numbers, and pension plans and state social security measuresoffered greater protection against unemployment, illness, and old age.Existing studies of unions in the postwar period have focused above allon national and international organizations, on the "postwarsettlement," including the impact of Fordism, and on the chieflyeconomic issues surrounding collective bargaining. Relatively scantattention has been paid to the role of the union local in dailyworking-class experience.

In Our Union, Jason Russell argues that the union local, as aninstitution of working-class organization, was a key agent for theCanadian working class as it sought to create a new place for itself inthe decades following World War II. Using UAW/CAW Local 27, a compositeunion in London, Ontario, as a case study, he offers a ground-levellook at union membership, including some of the social and politicalagendas that informed union activities. Drawing on interviews withformer members of UAW/CAW Local 27 as well as on archival sources,Russell offers a narrative intended to speak not only to labourhistorians but to union members themselves.
Jason Russell is assistant professor of labour studiesat Empire State College, State University of New York.

List of Tables / vi

List of Illustrations / vii

Acknowledgements / ix

Introduction: Local Unions in the Post–World War IIDecades / 3 

I Built to Last  / 17

2 The National Union  / 49

3 Employers and Bargaining Units / 79

4 Collective Bargaining  / 103

5 Labour Relations  / 141

6 The Social and Community Agenda  / 165

7 Community Politics and Activism  / 201

8 “It Was All About Families”  / 223

Conclusion: Looking Back  / 251

Appendix A: Local 27 Bargaining Units  / 263

Appendix B: Interviews  / 264

Notes  / 265

Bibliography  / 309

Index  / 321

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