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Writer & Historian

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Labour

Labour History Moments – Remembering Salt

1
May 7, 2015
Labour History Moments – Remembering Salt

Sixty years ago in December 1954, a movie called Salt of the Earth found its way into Canada, thanks to the International Union of Mine, Mill and Smelter Workers (now Steel). The film was blacklisted across the United States as the Cold War unleashed a widespread paranoia that became known as McCarthyism. But fear of...
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Labour History Moments –Violence on the Line

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April 8, 2015
Labour History Moments –Violence on the Line

Labour history is filled with accounts of murders, massacres and other attacks on workers and their unions over the years. In the United States, labor historians have long cited the Ludlow Massacre in Colorado, the Everett and Centralia Massacres in Washington State, and the lesser-known Italian Hall Tragedy in Michigan among many others. In...
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Labour History Moments – The Importance of Lunch Breaks

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March 5, 2015
Labour History Moments – The Importance of Lunch Breaks

When can a lunch break save your life on the job? Ask a construction crew in Massachusetts that narrowly escaped being hurt or worse when a building collapsed. What saved them? The building crumbled when they were on their lunch break. Lunch breaks are now part of hours of work legislation in many jurisdictions. But...
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Italians join Local 480 – Immigrant Workers’ History

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February 5, 2015
Italians join Local 480 –  Immigrant Workers’ History

Arthur “Slim” Evans could see that there was a problem. So could his eventual replacement John “Noisy” McPeake. As union organizers, they knew that the largely immigrant workforce at the Trail smelter would not easily be persuaded to join Local 480 of the International Union of Mine, Mill and Smelter Workers (Mine-Mill). The arrival...
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Labour History Moments –Winning the Shorter Workday

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January 29, 2015
Labour History Moments –Winning the Shorter Workday

  About a hundred a fifty years ago, working people and their unions fought for the nine-hour workday, a struggle that was at the heart of the newly founded Canadian labour movement. Labour’s Nine-Hour Pioneers, as they were called, launched the fight back in the 1870s, and some went to jail for their attempts...
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Indiegogo starts Salt fundraiser

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January 22, 2015
Indiegogo starts Salt fundraiser

My second history film, Remembering Salt, is in the editing stages now. We have funding to complete most of the work but could use some help with post-production and distribution costs. If you want to make a contribution, go to this site: http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/remembering-salt-cold-war-in-a-canadian-town/x/9665858  
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Local MLA salutes Salt showing

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December 28, 2014

On 26 November 2014, Katrine Conroy, member of British Columbia legislature for Kootenay West, praised the showing of the blacklisted film Salt of the Earth at the Castle Theatre in Castlegar, B.C.  Here is here statement as recorded in Hansard, the official report of the legislature debates. Katrine Conroy – MLA statement – Hansard – 26...
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Banned film brings tears, laughter, solidarity

1
November 24, 2014
Banned film brings tears, laughter, solidarity

Blue skies brightened the crisp Sunday afternoon in mid-November 2014 when I arrived at the old Castle Theatre in Castlegar, British Columbia, carrying a copy of the banned 1950s film Salt of the Earth. It was the day after a local election and I expected post-election hangovers would probably keep all but ardent churchgoers...
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Salt of the Earth Local 890 decertified

2
October 27, 2014
Salt of the Earth Local 890 decertified

To many labor historians and labor activists across North America, it was a heavy blow to learn that Local 890, the union that was the star of the historic 1950s blacklisted film Salt of the Earth, had voted to decertify in September. One PNLHA member, lamenting the passing of the historical local union, said...
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Remembering Salt – A history booklet and video

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October 18, 2014
Remembering Salt – A history booklet and video

Sixty years ago, the blacklisted Hollywood movie Salt of the Earth showed to 900 curious viewers at the Castle Theatre in Castlegar, B.C. On November 16, 2014, in a celebration of this heroic battle against the spread of McCarthyism, about  150 people of the West Kootenay region again saw Salt in the very theatre that showed it...
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