Labour Before the Law: The Regulation of Workers' Collective Action in Canada, 1900-1948

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In this groundbreaking study of the relations between workers and the state, Judy Fudge and Eric Tucker examine the legal regulation of workers' collective action from 1900 to 1948. They analyze the strikes, violent confrontations, lockouts, union organizing drives, legislative initiatives, and major judicial decisions that transformed the labour relations regime of liberal voluntarism, which prevailed in the later part of the nineteenth century, into industrial voluntarism, whose centrepiece was Mackenzie King's...

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Overview

In this groundbreaking study of the relations between workers and the state, Judy Fudge and Eric Tucker examine the legal regulation of workers' collective action from 1900 to 1948. They analyze the strikes, violent confrontations, lockouts, union organizing drives, legislative initiatives, and major judicial decisions that transformed the labour relations regime of liberal voluntarism, which prevailed in the later part of the nineteenth century, into industrial voluntarism, whose centrepiece was Mackenzie King's Industrial Disputes Investigation Act of 1907. This period was marked by coercion and compromise, as workers organized and fought to extend their rights against the profit oriented owners of capital, while the state struggled to define a labour regime that contained industrial conflict. The authors then trace the conflicts that eventually produced the industrial pluralism that Canadians have known in more recent years.

By 1948 a detailed set of legal rules and procedures had evolved and achieved a hegemonic status that no prior legal regime had even approached. This regime has become so central to our everyday thinking about labour relations that one might be forgiven for thinking that everything that came earlier was, truly, before the law. But, as Labour Before the Law demonstrates, workers who acted collectively prior to 1948 often found themselves before the law, whether appearing before a magistrate charged with causing a disturbance, facing a superior court judge to oppose an injunction, or in front of a board appointed pursuant to a statutory scheme that was investigating a labour dispute and making recommendations for its resolution.

The book is simultaneously a history of law, aspects of the state, trade unions and labouring people, and their interaction within the broad and shifting terrain of political economy. The authors are attentive to regional differences and sectoral divergences, and they attempt to address the fragmentation of class experience.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780802037930
  • Publisher: University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division
  • Publication date: 6/10/2004
  • Series: Canadian Social History Series
  • Pages: 398
  • Product dimensions: 5.51 (w) x 8.49 (h) x 1.14 (d)

Meet the Author

Judy Fudge is Associate Professor of Law at Osgoode Hall Law School, York University.

Eric Tucker teaches at Osgoode Hall Law School, York University.

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Table of Contents

Foreword
Preface
Abbreviations
1 Introduction 1
Pt. I The Emergence of Industrial Voluntarism
2 Courts and Conciliation: The Norms of Responsible Unionism, 1900-1906 16
3 Accommodation and Coercion: The Rise of Industrial Voluntarism, 1907-1914 51
4 Industrial Voluntarism Suspended, 1914-1918 89
5 The Postwar Confrontation and the Restoration of Industrial Voluntarism, 1919-1925 104
6 Industrial Voluntarism in a Prosperous Interregnum, 1925-1929 139
Pt. II Towards a New Regime of Industrial Legality
7 Industrial Voluntarism in Distress: The Early Depression Years, 1929-1935 153
8 Canada's New Deals for Labour, 1936-1939 192
9 The Exhaustion of Industrial Voluntarism, 1939-1942 228
10 Recognition and Responsibility: The Achievement of Industrial Pluralism, 1943-1948 263
11 The Hegemony of Industrial Pluralism 302
Notes 316
Index 382
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