Sisters and Solidarity - Women in Unions in Canada

Click to open expanded view

Sisters And Solidarity

Women in Unions in Canada

By: Julie White

Sisters & Solidarity provides a clear and well-researched overview of the position of women in relation to the labour movement across Canada.

ISBN 978-1-55077-045-2
Edition First
Year 1993
Page Count 320

$ 26.95


Julie White is one of our most important and authoritative voices, telling the story of Canadian women's union experiences. Randle W. Nelsen, Lakehead University Sisters & Solidarity provides a clear and well-researched overview of the position of women in relation to the labour movement across Canada. After surveying the development of the labour movement at the turn of the century, the author traces the increasing influence of women members in the Canadian labour movement.

Sisters & Solidarity considers not only what unions have negotiated with employers, but the position of women inside the union movement itself. Based on interviews with unions and labour centrals across the country, Julie White examines the representation of women in union executives, committees, conventions and staff. She describes the development of women's committees and examines the responses of unions to demands for change concerning family responsibilities, harassment, and union education.

Using new data the author analyzes who are the unorganized, where they work, and why it is difficult to organize them. Three case studies examine the attempts to unionize homeworkers and cleaners and new labour relations legislation in Ontario.

Sisters & Solidarity also considers the position of racial minorities, disabled persons and gays and lesbians in the Canadian union movement and the steps unions and labour centrals have taken to meet the needs of these workers.

Table of Contents

1. Women and the Early Development of Unions 1881–1921

  • Traditional Ideology Concerning Women and Women Workers
  • The Work Done by Women
  • The Composition of the Female Work Force
  • The Role of Employers
  • The Union Movement
  • The Exclusion of Women and the Family Wage
  • Exclusion by Race
  • Protective Legislation
  • Unionization and Equality
  • Understanding Union Policies on Women
  • Conclusion
2. Women in Unions Today
  • Changes in the Union Movement
  • Women and Unions Today
3. The Advantages of Unionization
  • Control and Protection at Work
  • Pay and Equal Pay
  • Pay Equity Legislation
  • Other Equal Pay Measures
  • Employment Equity
  • Benefits and Working Conditions
  • Conclusion
4. Moving Up: Women into Union Leadership
  • Top Executive Positions

  • Delegates to Conventions

  • Local Leadership

  • Committees and Collective Bargaining

  • Staff Positions

  • Summary and Conclusion

5. Women's Activities and Issues
  • Inside Unions Women's Committees
  • The Extent of Women's Committees
  • The Structure of Women's Committees
  • Women's Conferences
  • The Public Service Alliance of Canada
  • Questions for Women's Committees
  • Formal Structures
  • Representing Women
  • Dependency
  • Time for Two Structures
  • Between Women's Committees
  • Child Care and Family Responsibilities
  • The Union Response — Child Care
  • The Union Response — Time and Workload
  • Sexual and Personal Harassment
  • Union Education
6. Unorganized Women
  • Recent Trends in Unionization
  • Where are the Unorganized?
  • Unionization by Industry
  • Where are the Unorganized Women?
  • Unionization of Women and Men
  • Unionization of Racial Minorities
  • Why are They Unorganized?
  • Size of Workplace
  • Part-time and Part-year Work
  • Clerical workers
  • Employer Opposition
  • Legislation
  • Union Responses
  • Organizing Homeworkers: The International Ladies Garment Workers Union and the Public Service Alliance of Canada
  • Organizing Cleaners: The Canadian Union of Postal Workers
  • Taking on the Legal Challenge: The Ontario Federation of Labour
  • Conclusion
7. Racial Minorities, Disabled Persons, and Gays and Lesbians
  • Racism
  • Disabled Persons
  • Gays and Lesbians
  • The Union Movement and Minority Group Rights
  • Labour Centrals
  • Unions
  • Conclusion
8. Conclusion
  • Appendix I
  • Appendix II
  • Bibliography
  • Index