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Cover zur kostenlosen eBook-Leseprobe von »Defying Expectations«

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Defying Expectations

Athabasca University Press and Canadian Committee on Labour History | Working Canadians


In October 2005, Jason Foster, then a staff member of the Alberta Federation of Labour, was holding a picket line outside Lakeside Packers in Brooks, Alberta with the members of local 401. It was a first contract strike. And although the employees of the meat-packing plant—many of whom were immigrants and refugees—had chosen an unlikely partner in the United Food and Commercial Workers local, the newly formed alliance allowed the workers to stand their ground for a three-week strike that ended in the defeat of the notoriously anti-union company, Tyson Foods.

It was but one example of a wide range of industries and occupations that local 401 organized over the last twenty years.

In this study of UFCW 401, Foster investigates a union that has had remarkable success organizing a group of workers that North American unions often struggle to reach: immigrants, women, and youth. By examining not only the actions and behaviour of the local’s leadership and its members but also the narrative that accompanied the renewal of the union, Foster shows that both were essential components to legitimizing the leadership’s exercise of power and its unconventional organizing forces.

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"Riveting . . . Foster is a skillful writer whose account reads like a screenplay."

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“...a deeply interesting look at how unions and their members can work together to create much-needed change.”

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"Studying a thriving labour union in Alberta is a bit like studying an organism that flourishes in scorching, sulfur-laden undersea vents. [...] Defying Expectations portrays an imperfect organization that, despite a harsh political climate, has brought concrete gains to low-wage workers and their families. Simultaneously, it underscores how the North American labour movement might connect with those who stand to benefit most from unionization by redistributing not just profits, but power."

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Jason Foster is associate professor of human resources and labour relations at Athabasca University. He is the author of a number of articles examining health and safety issues. He was previously the director of policy analysis at the Alberta Federation of Labour where he spent more than a decade as an occupational healthy and safety practitioner, advocate, and educator. His other research interests include migrant workers, union renewal, and the contemporary labour movement. Jason lives in Edmonton, Alberta.

 
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Cover zur kostenlosen eBook-Leseprobe von »Health and Safety in Canadian Workplaces«

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Health and Safety in Canadian Workplaces

Athabasca University Press | OPEL (Open Paths to Enriched Learning)


Workplace injuries happen every day and can profoundly affect workers, their families, and the communities in which they live. This textbook is for workers and students looking for an introduction to injury prevention on the job. It offers an extensive overview of central occupational health and safety (OHS) concepts and practices and provides practical suggestions for health and safety advocacy. Foster and Barnetson bring the field into the twenty-first century by including discussions of how precarious employment, gender, and ill-health can be better handled in Canadian OHS.

Although they address the gendered and racialized dimensions of new work processes and structures in contemporary workplaces, Foster and Barnetson contend that the practice of occupational health and safety can only be understood if we acknowledge that workers and employers have conflicting interests. Who identifies what workplace hazards should be controlled is therefore a product of the broader political economy of employment and one that should be well understood by those working in the field.

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Jason Foster is assistant professor of human resources and labour relations at Athabasca University. He is the author of a number of articles examining health and safety issues. He was previously the Director of Policy Analysis at the Alberta Federation of Labour where he spent more than a decade as an occupational healthy and safety practitioner, advocate, and educator. His other research interests include migrant workers, union renewal, and the contemporary labour movement.

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Bob Barnetson is a professor of labour relations at Athabasca University. He is the author of The Political Economy of Workplace Injury in Canada (2010) and co-editor of Farm Workers in Western Canada: Injustice and Activism (2016). His research focuses on the political economy of workplace injuries, with particular attention to child, migrant, and farm workers. Bob previously worked for a trade union, the Alberta Workers’ Compensation Board, the Alberta Labour Relations Board ,and Alberta Employment and Immigration.

 
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Cover zur kostenlosen eBook-Leseprobe von »Alberta Oil and the Decline of Democracy in Canada«

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Alberta Oil and the Decline of Democracy in Canada

Shrivastava, MeenalStefanick, Lorna (Hrsg.) | Athabasca University Press


Prior to May 2015, the oil-rich jurisdiction of Alberta had, for over four decades, been a one-party state. During that time, the rule of the Progressive Conservatives essentially went unchallenged, with critiques of government policy falling on deaf ears and Alberta ranking behind other provinces in voter turnout. Given the province’s economic reliance on oil revenues, a symbiotic relationship also developed between government and the oil industry. Cross-national studies have detected a correlation between oil-dependent economies and authoritarian rule, a pattern particularly evident in Africa and the Middle East. Alberta Oil and the Decline of Democracy in Canada sets out to test the “oil inhibits democracy” hypothesis in the context of an industrialized nation in the Global North.

In probing the impact of Alberta’s powerful oil lobby on the health of democracy in the province, contributors to the volume engage with an ongoing discussion of the erosion of political liberalism in the West. In addition to examining energy policy and issues of government accountability in Alberta, they explore the ramifications of oil dependence in areas such as Aboriginal rights, environmental policy, labour law, women’s equity, urban social policy, and the arts. If, as they argue, reliance on oil has weakened democratic structures in Alberta, then what of Canada as whole, where the short-term priorities of the oil industry continue to shape federal policy? The findings in this book suggest that, to revitalize democracy, provincial and federal leaders alike must find the courage to curb the influence of the oil industry on governance.

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“This book is a clarion warning of an unacceptable shift in the public sphere towards service of particular economic interests and away from democracy and the legitimate role of the government. […] The book also reveals the ceaseless dispute between business and public interests, or considered from another standpoint, between liberty and justice.”

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Meenal Shrivastava is associate professor of political economy and global studies at Athabasca University.

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Lorna Stefanick is a professor at Athabasca University, where she serves as coordinator for the Governance, Law, and Management program.

 
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