- Publisher: Fernwood Publishing
- ISBN: 9781552667873
- 3rd Edition
- Price: $31.00 CAD
- Publication Date: Sep 2015
- Rights: World
- Pages: 224
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Building a Better World 3rd Ed.
An Introduction to the Labour Movement in Canada
Edited by Errol Black, Stephanie Ross, Larry Savage, Jim Silver
This third edition of Building a Better World offers a comprehensive introductory overview of Canada’s labour movement. The book includes an analysis of why workers form unions; assesses their organization and democratic potential; examines issues related to collective bargaining, grievances and strike activity; charts the historical development of labour unions; and describes the gains unions have achieved for their members and all working people.
“Building a Better World is an essential text for undergraduate teaching in Labour Studies. … I would have no hesitation using the text in a first-year introductory classroom.”
— Suzanne Mills, McMaster University
“Building a Better World affirms the critical role unions play in promoting democracy, greater economic equality, and social justice for all citizens.”
— James Clancy, National President, National Union of Public and General Employees
“Since it was first published, Building a Better World has been the best available book to introduce readers to unions in Canada. … With workers and unions facing increasingly severe attacks from employers and governments, this new version is most welcome.”
— David Camfield, University of Manitoba, author of Canadian Labour in Crisis
“Building a Better World is a good textbook for my third year commerce students majoring in industrial relations and human resource management. … The students seem to like the ‘Basics’ style of a short, snappy paperback attuned to the reality of industrial relations in Canada, instead of an oversized hardcover book, which often tries to be encyclopedic.”
— Judy Haiven, Saint Mary’s University
What Is a Union?
Early Union Struggles in Canada
From Keynesianism to Neoliberalism: Union Breakthroughs and Challenges
Unions In the Workplace
Unions and Political Action
How Do Unions Work?
What Difference Do Unions Make?
Who Belongs to Unions? Who Doesn’t and Why?
The Future of Unions: Decline or Renewal?
About the Authors
Errol Black is a retired university professor and current municipal politician in Brandon, Manitoba, Canada. He has been an activist with the New Democratic Party for several years.
Black was born in Brandon, Manitoba. He is a Professor Emeritus at Brandon University, where he taught for many years in the fields of Economics and Industrial Relations. He is the co-editor of such books as Hard bargains : the Manitoba labour movement confronts the 1990s (1991), A square deal for all : historical essays on labour in Brandon (2000) and Building a better world : an introduction to trade unionism in Canada (2001). He has written several pieces for Canadian Dimension magazine, and has done research for the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. During the early 1980s, Black argued that university president Harold J. Perkins was ruling the university in an autocratic manner, and supported his removal by the Board of Governors. He later served as president of the Manitoba Organization of Faculty Associations in the 1990s.
Black supported reforms to the Ontario Labour Relations Act introduced by the government of Bob Rae in the 1990s, and strongly opposed efforts to bring “right-to-work” and workfare legislation into Manitoba. He has also written in support of Canada’s public health care system, criticized the financial dependence of governments on gambling revenues, argued for increases to the minimum wage, and lobbied against spending public money on a new arena for the Winnipeg Jets hockey team in the 1990s. He was a particularly strong critic of the governments of Ralph Klein and Mike Harris.
Black was elected to the Brandon City Council in 1998, and has been re-elected two times since then. He won the New Democratic Party’s Brandon—Souris nomination in 2000 over Wayne Langlois, and finished fourth against Tory candidate Rick Borotsik. He is considered to be on the left-wing of the NDP, and opposed the party’s drift toward the “Third Way” socialism favoured by Tony Blair.
In 2001, he introduced a motion for Brandon to adopt one of the toughest anti-smoking motions anywhere in Canada. Two years later, he pushed the NDP government of Gary Doer to extend labour rights to farm workers. Two years later, he called for the establishment of urban reserves in Brandon. In 2005, he wrote a piece criticizing the Doer government’s record on labour issues.
Stephanie Ross is an assistant professor and coordinator of the Work and Labour Studies Program in the Department of Social Science at York University.
Larry Savage is an associate professor of political science and labour studies at Brock University.
Jim Silver is a professor and chair of the Department of Urban and Inner-City Studies at the University of Winnipeg. His research interests are in inner-city, poverty-related, and community development issues. His most recent book is Moving Forward, Giving Back: Transformative Aboriginal Adult Education (Fernwood 2013). Jim is a member of the Manitoba Research Alliance and the leader of the Housing and Neighbourhood Revitalization stream of its SSHRC Partnership project, “Partnering for Change: Community-Based Solutions for Aboriginal and Inner-City Poverty.”