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GSSC1066 How The Weekend Was Won: Canadian Labour History Assignment Sample Canada
The course GSSC1066 How the Weekend Was Won: Canadian Labour History is a fascinating exploration of how workers in Canada fought for and won the right to a weekend. The course examines the struggles of working people from the early days of industrial capitalism to the present day and looks at how these struggles have shaped Canadian society.
The course begins with a look at the early days of industrial capitalism in Canada when workers were forced to work long hours for very little pay. Workers began organizing themselves into trade unions in an effort to improve their working conditions and win better wages. Trade unionism was seen as a dangerous threat by the ruling class, and workers who tried to organize unions were often met with violence from police and hired thugs.
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We’re going through some assignment briefs. The following are examples of them:
Assignment Brief 1: Critically evaluate interpretations of Canadian history.
There are a variety of interpretations of Canadian history, each with its own strengths and weaknesses. Some historians focus on the role of Canada in international affairs, while others emphasize the experiences of ordinary people.
One important interpretation is the idea that Canada has been a “multicultural” country from its earliest days. This perspective emphasizes the contributions of different groups, such as French and English settlers, Aboriginal peoples, and immigrants from around the world.
Another important perspective is the “distinct society” theory, which argues that Canada is unique because it combines elements of British and American traditions. This theory has been criticized for conceptualizing Canada in too narrow a way, but it remains an influential interpretation of our history.
Assignment Brief 2: Discuss the history, roles, and effectiveness of different forms of unionization (craft, industrial, public service, social, business, etc.).
There are many different types of unions, each with its own unique history and role. Some of the most common forms of unionization include craft unions, industrial unions, public service unions, social unions, and business unions.
Craft unions are smaller and more selective than other types of unions. They often represent skilled workers in a particular trade or industry (e.g., carpenters, electricians, plumbers).
Industrial unions are larger and more inclusive than other types of unions. They represent workers in a particular sector of the economy (e.g., transportation, manufacturing).
Public service unions represent government employees (e.g., firefighters, police officers, teachers). Social unions are formed by groups of people with common interests or goals (e.g., women, minorities, LGBTQ+ people).
Business unions are created by employers in order to negotiate with workers (e.g., contract negotiations, benefits packages). International unions are organizations that represent workers in multiple countries (e.g., the International Brotherhood of Teamsters).
Assignment Brief 3: Apply key concepts and terms in Canadian labour history (social democracy, apprenticeship, Rand Formula, working class, solidarity etc.).
There are a few key concepts and terms worth mentioning when it comes to Canadian labour history: social democracy, the apprenticeship system, the Rand Formula, the working class, and the solidarity.
Social democracy is a political ideology that favors a progressive approach to economic and social issues. It’s based on the idea that society should be organized in such a way as to protect the interests of all its members, not just the wealthy few.
The apprenticeship system was once a cornerstone of Canada’s labour market. Apprentices were trained through on-the-job learning and classroom instruction and were able to earn a good wage while they learned their trade.
The Rand Formula is named after its creator, Judge Ivan Rand. It stipulates that unions and employers must equally share the costs of bargaining and negotiating contracts.
The working class is the group of people who sell their labor for a wage. They are usually employed in manual or service-oriented jobs.
Solidarity is a term used to describe the unity of workers, often in the face of adversity.
Assignment Brief 4: Summarize key stages, movements, and events in Canadian labour history.
- The first major stage in Canadian labour history was the establishment of unions in the 19th century. Unions fought for better working conditions and fairer wages, and eventually won the right to collective bargaining.
- The second stage began in the 1930s when unions organized mass strikes in support of social programs like unemployment insurance and workers’ compensation. This helped to build the social safety net that we have today.
- The third stage began in the 1960s when unions began to champion human rights and racial equality. One of their most famous victories was securing equal pay for women workers.
- The fourth stage is still unfolding and includes battles against precarious work, income inequality, and climate change. Unions are fighting harder than ever to protect the rights of workers and to improve their standard of living.
- The Trade Union Movement: The trade union movement is a social movement that represents the interests of workers. It fought for better working conditions and fairer wages, and eventually won the right to collective bargaining.
- The Social Democratic Movement: The social democratic movement is a political ideology that favors a progressive approach to economic and social issues. It’s based on the idea that society should be organized in such a way as to protect the interests of all its members, not just the wealthy few.
- The Civil Rights Movement: The civil rights movement is a social movement that fought for racial equality and human rights. One of their most famous victories was securing equal pay for women workers.
- The Precarity Movement: The precarity movement is a social movement that represents the interests of workers in precarious employment. They are fighting for better working conditions and fairer wages.
- The Halifax Explosion: The Halifax Explosion was a devastating event that happened in 1917. A ship carrying explosives collided with another ship in the Halifax harbor, causing a massive explosion that killed 2,000 people and injured 9,000 more.
- The Winnipeg General Strike: The Winnipeg General Strike was a mass strike that happened in 1919. It was organized by unions in support of workers who were not being paid a fair wage. The strike eventually turned violent, leading to the death of two workers.
- The October Crisis: The October Crisis was a series of events that happened in 1970. Quebec separatism was on the rise and the terrorist group Front de libération du Québec (FLQ) had declared war on the government. In response, Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau invoked the War Measures Act, which allowed him to suspend civil liberties and jail anyone without charge.
- The Air Canada Strike: The Air Canada strike was a strike that happened in 1998. It was organized by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) in support of workers who were not being paid a fair wage. The strike lasted for 28 days and eventually ended with the workers getting a pay raise.
Assignment Brief 5: Use formal and informal research sources to analyze the history of a union or grassroots body.
There are a number of ways to research the history of a union or grassroots body. Formal research sources include government archives, library resources, and academic journals. Informal research sources include personal interviews, newspaper articles, and organizational records.
To get started, try searching for the name of the union or organization in government archives. For example, the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) holds a wealth of primary sources on labor unions and other social movements in the United States. NARA’s website includes a section on researching labor history that can point you in the right direction.
Library resources can also be extremely helpful when researching unions and grassroots organizations. Many libraries keep special collections devoted to labor history and social movements. These collections can be a goldmine of primary sources, including pamphlets, flyers, speeches, and personal accounts.
Assignment Brief 6: Describe the relationship between historical and current patterns of work.
The relationship between historical and current patterns of work is one of continual change and evolution. What we think of as “work” has changed dramatically over time, both in terms of the types of work that people do and the ways in which work is organized.
Current workforce practices are greatly impacted by historical precedent. For example, the tradition of having a dedicated workforce that works regular hours was established during the Industrial Revolution, when factories needed workers to be available on a consistent basis to operate machinery. This pattern continues today, even though many workplaces have moved away from manufacturing to service-based industries. The Monday-to-Friday, 9-to-5 schedule is still considered standard in most occupations, even though it may not be the most effective way to organize work in a modern economy.
Similarly, the concept of a “career” is relatively new, dating back to the early 20th century. Before that time, most people did not stay in one job for their entire lives; they moved around from job to job as their needs and circumstances changed. The idea of having a long-term career in a single occupation is a relatively recent invention, and it has had a profound impact on the way we think about work.
The current patterns of work are also shaped by globalization, technology, and demographic changes. For example, the rise of the gig economy (a term used to describe the growing trend of people working temporary, contract-based jobs) is a direct result of the increasing use of digital technologies that make it easier for employers to connect with workers remotely. The gig economy is having a major impact on the way we work, and it is likely that this trend will continue to shape the future of work in the years to come.
Assignment Brief 7: Give examples of discrimination in Canadian society and the Canadian labour movement.
There are a number of examples of discrimination in Canadian society and the Canadian labour movement. One example is the persistent wage gap between women and men, despite women having made great strides in educational attainment and occupational segregation. According to Statistics Canada, full-time working women earned 71.1% of what their male counterparts earned in 2016.
Discrimination against indigenous people is another key example. Indigenous people face disproportionately high rates of unemployment, poverty, and incarceration. They also do not have equitable access to education, housing, and healthcare. In 2015, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission released its final report which documented the widespread discrimination faced by indigenous people in Canada, especially those who were forced into residential schools.
The Canadian labour movement has also been accused of discrimination. For example, women and visible minorities are underrepresented in leadership positions within unions. There is also a lack of diversity among union members, which can make it difficult for these groups to have their voices heard. Some unions have made efforts to address these issues, but there is still much work to be done to achieve true equality within the labour movement.
Assignment Brief 8: Analyze the current structure and challenges of the Canadian labour movement.
The Canadian labour movement is currently going through a period of upheaval. There are several challenges that the movement is currently facing, including:
1) Declining membership rates – This has been a long-term trend for the labour movement, and it has made it more difficult for unions to wield influence.
2) The rise of precarious work – This has posed a particular challenge for unions, as it has made it more difficult to organize workers who are not in stable, full-time jobs.
3) The decline of traditional industries – Unions have traditionally been strongest in industries like manufacturing and construction, but these industries have been declining in recent years.
4) Conservative government policies – The current Conservative government has been hostile to unions and has enacted a number of policies that have made it harder for them to operate (such as changes to labour laws and the elimination of the mandatory long-form census).
Despite these challenges, there are still reasons to be optimistic about the future of the labour movement. For example, there has been a recent surge in union organizing among precarious workers, and there is a growing movement of young workers who are interested in unionizing. If the labour movement can adapt to these changes, it will be well-positioned to continue playing a vital role in the lives of Canadian workers.
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