November/December 2019 cover

Labour Issue

Our annual Labour Issue has stories about the risky business of sex work in the gig economy; airport workers organizing in Canada’s biggest workplace; how a Canadian garment company is fleecing women maquila workers in Honduras; the reinstatement of Canada’s prison farms; a planned economy for a just transition; Alberta’s public-sector unions rising to meet the challenge of a UCP government; and student journalists reviving the labour beat. Plus a book review, comic, and interview with writing contest judges.

  • A watercolour illustration. A path winds towards mountains in the distance. In the foreground, the path is surrounded by clocks, plants, and books.
    Magazine

    The climate case for working less

    The argument for a reduced work week asks: why do we work to produce so much more than we can possibly use? Why not work less, waste less, distribute better, and enjoy the age of abundance that we’ve been promised?

  • Magazine

    Striking for the common good

    Teachers bargaining for the common good contains the seed of radical change – and I mean “radical” in the same way that Angela Davis uses it, meaning “grasping at the root.”

  • Two headshots of people looking at the camera. On the left, a person with long hair and brown skin wears a red leather jacket with her arm draped over a red couch. On the right, a person with glasses, long beaded earrings, and lop gloss, leans back against a wall.
    Magazine

    The literal – and literary – futures we build

    Briarpatch editor Saima Desai talks to two judges of our Writing in the Margins contest about Idle No More and MMIWG, ethical kinship, writing queer sex, and their forthcoming work.

  • A person in a purple sports bra and long dark hair looks apprehensively over their shoulder at their phone, lit up on a table behind them. Their phone displays a number of unread messages on the SeekingArrangement site.
    Magazine

    “At least hookers get wages”

    If sex were factored out of the equation, sugaring would look a lot like the precarious gig economy jobs of Uber drivers or bike couriers. And – like in other web-based jobs – sugar babies in Montreal are struggling to develop collective strength with their fellow workers.

  • Maquila workers fired by Gildan Activewear rally in front of a Gildan factory in Choloma, Cortés.
    Magazine

    The cost of a T-shirt

    In Honduras, women maquila workers are fighting back against the multinational garment companies that they say are endangering their health and safety.

  • A person in an orange jumpsuit leads a goat, attached by a chain around its neck, through the bars of a prison cell.
    Magazine

    Milking prison labour

    Canada’s prison farms are being reopened. But when prisoners will be paid pennies a day, and the fruits of their labour will likely be exported for profit, there’s little to celebrate.

  • Magazine

    Planes, trains, and workers’ gains

    Toronto Pearson Airport is Canada’s largest workplace. There, workers are building up an organization that aims to match the airport’s power.

  • A book cover with red umbrellas against a black background.
    Magazine

    Taking sex workers seriously

    How have restrictive new laws like America’s FOSTA/SESTA and Canada’s PCEPA impacted sex workers’ labour conditions? Lindsay Blewett reviews Red Light Labour: Sex Work Regulation, Agency, and Resistance

  • A nervous-looking speaker in a suit stands at a podium, framed by a reporter's notebook. Around him, angry workers hold protest signs.
    Magazine

    Bringing back the beat

    In mainstream media, labour journalism has been replaced by financial reporting and business sections. But journalism students are raising the labour beat from the grave.

  • A plume of smoke billows out of the coal fired Keephills Power Station in Wabamun, Alberta at sunset.
    Magazine

    A just transition requires a planned economy. But whose plan?

    Corporate, for-profit planning, aided and violently enforced by the settler colonial state of Canada, will not bring about a just transition.