Labour's Side

Publisher:  Nova Scotia Labour Research and Support Centre
Year Published:  1981  
Pages:  13pp   Price:  No charge  
Inactive Serial

Resource Type:  Serial Publication (Periodical)
Cx Number:  CX2345

Labour's Side is a newsletter published four times a year by the Nova Scotia Labour Research and Support Centre "to inform our readers about labour struggles in the province."

Abstract:  Labour's Side is a newsletter published four times a year by the Nova Scotia Labour Research and Support Centre "to inform our readers about labour struggles in the province."

This issue deals primarily with the history of the attempt to organize rubber workers at the Michelin Corporation's Nova Scotia plants and the interplay between Michelin, the government and labour that resulted in the workers' failure to unionize.

Michelin broke the law and the Trade Union Act, as it attempted to keep plant workers from organizing. Illegal acts included: employer intelligence networks that kept files on worker loyalties, coercive letters sent to workers' families and the threatened loss of wages and benefits (if the plant were to be organized).

Government's part consisted of changing the Trade Union Act all through the '70s in favour of large corporations like Michelin. Labour's Side sees this as part of an economic dynamic whereby companies consistently threaten the government with leaving the province if concessions in favour of business, in this case, changes in the law, are not forthcoming.

The most visible result of this type of pressure was the Michelin Bill that made both Michelin plants "interdependent"; this meant that they both would have to be organized as one unit.

The Centre criticizes the labour movement in general for not organizing the entire membership against Michelin and government strategies. "There was no real programme of education, no attempt to mobilize opposition to the Bill among 70 000 organized trade unionists in Nova Scotia……the reason why…….was because too many (labour officials) take seriously the myth that real power lies with the men who sit in the legislature, on joint consultation boards, or who write for newspapers."

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