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History of Canadian Labour (See description) - Essay Example

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Whilst craft workers were trying hard to improve their situation in a changing situation, many other workers were just trying to survive. By the late nineteenth century, having to deal with meager pay, long hours and the danger of serious injury or loss of life on the workplace, general labourers welcomed the support of the Knights of Labor, a new union that started assemblies (union locals) and protected their interests.
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History of Canadian Labour (See essay description)
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Download file to see previous pages The Knights did things differently from the previous craft unions, which had limited their membership to only the most experienced of workers. The Knights welcomed everyone into their assemblies; in fact, they formally expelled only bankers, lawyers, gamblers, and saloon-keepers from membership! As a result, thousands of workers earlier excluded from the labour movement found a home in the Knights. Women now came to the union movement for the first time in our history. In another further thinking step, the Knights allowed separate local assemblies for French and English workers in Montreal. However, this grace did not expand to Chinese and other Asian workers, in particular in British Columbia.
The Knights in Canada were part of a bigger movement that had appeared in the United States in the 1860s. This was not unexpected since workers all through North America faced the same problems. Fraternal ties between workers in the two states gave the impression of making good sense. The Knights' assemblies in Canada, however, emerged first and principally out of local conditions.
In small communities like Galt and St. ...
In response to such concerns and worries, the Knights called for restrictions to be placed on free-market competition. They stressed in their speeches and literature on the necessity to defend communities from dishonest manufacturers. But use of the strike to reach these purposes was viewed as a last alternative, at least by the leadership. First, the Knights argued, ethical persuasion and petitions to governments for better regulation must be undertaken. The Knights' stress on community and government regulation found more expression in their attention to municipal politics. In cities and towns thoroughout Canada, the Knights launched Canada's first independent labour parties. In another new response to business monopolies, the Knights experimented with producer and customer co-operatives in their search for options to large business. Nevertheless, in the end this concentration on local conditions left little time and energy to construct a strong national organization. This partially accounts for the collapse of the Knights in the late 1880s.
Factories were becoming even bigger, some now employing thousands of workers. The assembly line became the symbol of the new era of mass production. The rising use of machines that followed the Second Industrial Revolution produced demands for employees with new types of skills. Semi-skilled machine operatives were in huge demand. Rising company offices and service companies produced thousands of clerical and retail workplaces. Women occupied lots of these positions. And the number of labouring jobs accessible continued to grow to help build two new continental railways, increase the resource industries, and erect ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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