The Labour Issue

In our annual Labour Issue, contributors write about work, unions, and the labour movement. Inside, you'll find a profile of Canada's sole sex workers' union; an article about the subminimum wage workers who make Canada's Remembrance Day poppies; an argument for removing police from the labour movement; a look inside the short-lived union at HuffPost Canada; and more.

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    Tough conversations about Canada’s labour movement

    Where can we speak honestly about the weaknesses of the labour movement, offering constructive criticism and debating paths forward, without making the movement vulnerable to bad-faith attacks by neoliberal columnists and far-right ghouls? 

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    The HuffPost Canada union is dead. Long live the HuffPost Canada union.

    My newsroom unionized. We were shut down two weeks later. Here’s why it was still worth it.

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    The labour movement is stronger without police in it

    It’s time for unions to expel police from their membership, because a strong labour movement can only be built on a foundation of safety for Black and Indigenous members. 

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    A union for sex workers

    Canada’s sole sex worker’s union wants to organize the industry coast to coast. But with members spread out in different cities, and working for online services like OnlyFans, how much support can a union provide?

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    “Do not ever get used to it”

    Union members and staff say that sexism, anti-Black racism, and other oppressive attitudes are deeply entrenched in many unions. Drawing on a history of women, trans, and racialized workers fighting for their place in the labour movement, trade unionists share ideas to transform unions today.

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    “It’s a regime of terror”

    The first step in organizing rural migrant workers is finding them. The second step is breaking through their bosses’ iron grip of surveillance and fear.

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    « C’est un régime de terreur. »

    Pour mobiliser les travailleuses et travailleurs migrant∙e∙s en région rurale, il faut d’abord les trouver. La seconde étape est de réussir à desserrer l’emprise de surveillance et de peur qu’exerce leurs patrons.

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    A penny a poppy

    Millions of Canada’s plastic Remembrance Day poppies have been made by prisoners and people labelled with intellectual/developmental disabilities, who are paid pennies on the hour. It’s part of a long history of prisons and institutions using poverty to control disabled and criminalized workers.

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    Against a culture of paid activism

    As the logic of capitalism infiltrates our social movements, we must choose between being paid for our activism and building a strong culture of social struggle.

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    Rumour has it

    Anti-gossip policies, like other ostensibly good policies, are wielded by management to keep workers from building solidarity and transforming their workplaces.

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    Resting toward liberated futures

    We must use as many tools as possible to fight against oppression, including – or maybe especially – rest.