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The Raiding of Local 480 – A Labour History

November 26, 2018
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My article, “The Raiding of Local 480: A Historic Cold War Struggle for Union Supremacy in a Small Canadian City,” has been published in Canada’s foremost labour history journal, Labour/Le Travail 82 (Fall 2018): 81-117.

Raiders abandon Mine-Mill Local 480 to join the Steelworkers.

Abstract

This brief history highlights one of the most hard-fought but little-explored labour wars in North American history, one that engulfed the raiding United Steelworkers of America (USWA) in an expensive two-year struggle at the giant Consolidated Mining and Smelting Company of Canada (CM&S) in the smelter city of Trail, British Columbia. In the early 1950s, Steel attempted to convince the 5,000+ members of Communist-led Local 480 of the International Union of Mine, Mill and Smelter Workers (Mine-Mill) to abandon their union. It almost succeeded, using the Red-baiting tactics of the Cold War era and thus enflaming a bitter ideological debate in the small community near the Canada-U.S. border. Consulting the personal recollections of those who experienced the raid first hand, this article reconstructs a too-seldom-consulted local workers’ view of the raid, with numerous secondary sources showing why and how the community ultimately supported its Communist union leaders over the CIO-sanctioned Steel raiders.

NOTE: Some of my readers have asked if they could read the full article. I am under a 12-month embargo.  This is protect the subscription revenue that L/LT relies on. Digital versions of the article should be available through university libraries that subscribe to L/LT via ProjectMuse, JStor, Erudit, etc.

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Venice Observed - A Travel Booklet with Photos by Ron Verzuh Radical Rag by Ron Verzuh Underground Times by Ron Verzuh Selling Labour Down Under by Ron Verzuh Changing Images by Ron Verzuh Feasting With Love by Ron Verzuh Tea Leaves by Ron Verzuh Remembering Salt by Ron Verzuh