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Labour

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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The Underpants Speech – A Work in Progress

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July 23, 2014
The Underpants Speech – A Work in Progress

Justice Minister Louis St. Laurent, destined to be Canada’s prime minister, made no secret of his dislike for Communists. In mid-March 1948, he officially announced that “Canada is cracking down on labour-union communists fleeing from the anti-communist Taft-Hartley labor law of the U.S.”Both the Trades and Labour Congress (TLC) and the Canadian Congress of...
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Goodwin country – A Conference Report

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June 21, 2014
Goodwin country – A Conference Report

Once again, the Pacific Northwest Labor History Association (PNLHA) outdid itself in organizing a fine annual conference. This one was uniquely set in Cumberland, B.C., an area rich in labour history June 13-15. It was unique in a second way as well in that it coincided with the Miners’ Memorial Weekend, featuring a graveside...
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Humble Word Warrior – A Book Review

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January 15, 2014
Humble Word Warrior – A Book Review

After being prodded, cajoled,  and possibly even guilted into it by people like me, Ed Finn has finally published his memoirs. Who’s Ed Finn? some of you might ask. Fair question…if you haven’t been observing Canadian left politics for the past 70 years. For that long, Finn has served as a tireless journalistic voice...
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Joe Hill’s Secret Canadian Hideout – A Video History

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September 5, 2013
Joe Hill’s Secret Canadian Hideout – A Video History

Joe Hill hid out at the Rossland Miners’ Union Hall after writing “Where the Fraser River Flows” in support of a Wobbly strike in the Fraser Canyon area. Truth of urban legend? Follow the progress of this video history project here: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/rverzuh/joe-hills-secret-canadian-hideout
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Revered labour school weakens

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June 18, 2013
Revered labour school weakens

Harper’s offers labour historians and labour educators some powerful reasons for concern in its July 2013 edition for it exposes the corporatization of Cornell University’s revered School of Industrial and Labor Relations (ILR). Anyone who considers that ILR is a progressive school will want to take note of its habit of “wearing corporate influence...
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Labour History Sings – A Conference Report

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May 6, 2013
Labour History Sings – A Conference Report

The Pacific Northwest Labour History Association (PNLHA) held its 45th annual conference May 3-5, 2013, in Portland, Oregon, and like other years there was a wide variety of topics as well as styles of presentation. I was on the planning committee and made two presentations during the conference, so I am clearly not an...
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The Smelter Poets – A History Essay

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April 23, 2013
The Smelter Poets – A History Essay

Abstract When celebrated Wobbly troubadour Joe Hill purportedly visited the Rossland Miners’ Hall in the early 1900s to lend his support to the first Canadian local of the rugged Western Federation of Miners (WFM), he no doubt shared some of his inspired verses with the mine workers who are said to have protected him. Claims...
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CUPE BC Turns 50 – A History Video

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April 17, 2013
CUPE BC Turns 50 – A History Video

The attached video premiered on 13 April 2013 at the 50th anniversary convention of the British Columbia Division of the Canadian Union of Public Employees where I worked for many years as a communications specialist. The history of CUPE BC’s early years is covered in a series of cartoon images with text provided by...
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Raising the Workers’ Flag – A Book Review

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December 15, 2012
Raising the Workers’ Flag – A Book Review

  Stephen L. Endicott, Raising the Workers’ Flag: The Workers’ Unity League in Canada, 1930-1936 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2012), 442 pages, $35 (paper), $75 (hard cover) The struggle to build trade unions in the extractive and manufacturing industries of Canada — mining, forestry, fishing, clothing, furniture, and others — was meteoric and...
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Books