TheBCtradition of fighting back against unfair pay and unsafe working conditions has been around since before the colony joined Confederation. In1849Scottish labourers atBC’s first coal mine at Fort Rupert went on strike to protest wretched working conditions, and it’s been a wild ride ever since. For years theBClabour movement was the most militant in the land, led by colourful characters like Ginger Goodwin, murdered for his pains, and pull-no-punches communist Harvey Murphy, who brought the house of labour down on himselfwith his infamous “underwearspeech.”
Through years of battles withBC’s power elite and small victories followed by bitter defeats,BCunions established the five-day work week, the eight-hour day, paid holidays, the right to a safe, non-discriminatory workplace and many more taken-for-granted features of the modern work landscape. But unions’ enemies never sleep and, well into the second decade of the twenty-first century, battles still go on, like that ofBCteachers in their long and ultimately successful struggle to improve classroom conditions.On the Linealso highlights the role played by women, Indigenous and minority workers in working toward equality and democracy in workplaces andcommunities.
In prose that is both accessible and engaging, accompanied by over two hundred archival photos, Mickleburgh tells the important story of howBC’s labour organizations have shaped the economic, political and social fabric of the provinceat a cost of much blood, sweat, toil and tears. This volume is the most comprehensive overview of labour’s struggle inBCand will be of particular interest to union members, community activists, academics and readers of regionalhistory.
|Publisher:||Harbour Publishing Company, Limited|
|Product dimensions:||8.36(w) x 11.60(h) x 0.95(d)|
About the Author
Rod Mickleburgh is a former labour reporter for the Vancouver Sun and Province and senior writer for The Globe and Mail. He is also the author of The Art of the Impossible: Dave Barrett and the NDP in Power, 1972–1975 (co-authored with Geoff Meggs).