A case study of the Canadian Autoworkers Union's role in shaping the Canadian economy and responding to global restructuring
From Plant to Politics
The Autoworkers Union in Postwar Canada
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Charlotte A. B. Yates
In this path-breaking discussion of Canadian labor relations, Charlotte Yates shows, through a case study of the Autoworkers Union Canada, how unions, as complex organizations engaged in strategic activities, can have a definite impact on the national political economy. Using extensive archival materials, Yates examines how unions were demobilized in their relationships with the state, employers, and political parties as Fordist regulatory structures and practices forced unions to accept the constraints of responsible union behavior. She argues that the Canadian Autoworkers' collective identity and internal organizational structure counteracted these demobilizing tendencies. This historical legacy laid the groundwork for the Autoworker Union's return to militancy in the 1980s and '90s and has shaped their responses to the pressures of economic globalization and heightened competition.
Part I: Setting the Stage
Part II: Fordism in the Canadian Auto Industry
Part III: Back to the Future: From Fordism to Fordism?
Charlotte A. B. Yates is Associate Professor in the Labour Studies Programme at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada.
In the series
Labor and Social Change, edited by Paula Rayman and Carmen Sirianni.
Labor and Social Change, edited by Paula Rayman and Carmen Sirianni, includes books on workplace issues like worker participation, quality of work life, shorter hours, technological change, and productivity, as well as union and community organizing and ethnographies of particular occupations.