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New Canadian International Labour 10-Minute

Trump, Right-Wing Populism,

and the Future of the Labour Movement

Toronto – 2 June 2017


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Bill Fletcher Jr. gave the keynote address at the 4th Annual Conference of the Canadian Association for Work and Labour Studies.

Bill Fletcher Jr. has been an activist since his teen years. Upon graduating from college he went to work as a welder in a shipyard, thereby entering the labour movement. Over the years he has been active in workplace and community struggles as well as electoral campaigns. He has worked for several labour unions in addition to serving as a senior staffperson in the national AFL-CIO. Fletcher is the former president of TransAfrica Forum; a Senior Scholar with the Institute for Policy Studies; an editorial board member of BlackCommentator.com; and in the leadership of several other projects. Fletcher is the co-author (with Peter Agard) of The Indispensable Ally: Black Workers and the Formation of the Congress of Industrial Organizations, 1934-1941; the co-author (with Dr. Fernando Gapasin) of Solidarity Divided: The Crisis in Organized Labor and a New Path toward Social Justice; and the author of “They’re Bankrupting Us” – And Twenty Other Myths about Unions. Fletcher is a syndicated columnist and a regular media commentator on television, radio, and the web.

Hosted by Stephanie Ross, president of the Canadian Association for Work and Labour Studies.



Precarious Work:

Contract Faculty in the Neoliberal University


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These videos explore the situation of Canadian contract academic faculty and compares their situation to the even poorer conditions American contract faculty face, highlighting the need to more firmly address working conditions in Canada. The second film, “Contract Faculty: Injustice in the University,” focuses on not only the injustice faced by contract faculty but the implications of this injustice for students, the University and higher education in general. The story is primarily told through the words of contract faculty themselves. Where there is injustice there is usually both tragedy and dark humour and the film presents both.



Unions and the City:

Negotiating Urban Change

Toronto – 1 June 2017


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This panel invites Toronto labour leadership to respond to a comparative book on labour strategy and political action in Toronto and New York City, titled Unions and the City: Negotiating Urban Change (Cornell ILR Press, Spring 2017). The book discusses how local unions in four sectors (hospitality, film, green energy and childcare) seek to advance organizing and collective bargaining goals through the reregulation of their respective sectors. Union strategy is evaluated according to whether it succeeds in achieving narrow trade union goals while also addressing broader class demands and social justice criteria.

Moderated by Ian MacDonald. Presentations by:

Other resources:


LS #Date PublishedTitle 
195. 1 December 2013 Socialism and Feminism Bakan, Abbie; Sue Ferguson
Presentations by Abbie Bakan and Sue Ferguson. Recorded in Toronto, 16 November 2103.
194. 24 November 2013 Pension Funds and Privatization Mehra, Natalie; Brian O'Keefe; Graham Cox
Nearly all of the largest pension funds in Canada have moved aggressively into financing what they call infrastructure, or alternative asset classes that include various kinds of public infrastructure that have been either privatized outright or restructured into a partnership structure which, critics argue, produces guaranteed (and monopolistic) profits for private owners and managers of infrastructure, with many of the risks still borne by government or public sector entities.
193. 23 November 2013 Afghanistan: Perils and Possibilities Podur, Justin
This lecture by Justin Podur is based on a trip he made to Kabul in March 2013 and his chapter in the 2013 University of Toronto Press book, Empire's Ally: Canada and the War in Afghanistan. Recorded in Toronto, 28 October 2013.
192. 10 November 2013 The Hidden History of Workplace Resistance: U.S. Autoworkers Speak Out Shotwell, Gregg; Sean Crawford; Scott Houldieson
Three prominent UAW shop floor activists (Sean Crawford, Scott Houldieson, and Gregg Shotwell) describe current life on American assembly lines and keeping resistance alive. Organized by the Labour Committee of the Greater Toronto Workers' Assembly. Recorded in Toronto, 26 October 2013.
191. 3 November 2013 Fiduciary Duty: A legal shield for corporate capitalism? Weststar, Johanna; Simon Archer and Murray Gold
Session 3 of the "Pension Fund" series -- this panel focuses on those situations where trade unions have the power to name trustees to pension trustee boards, and examine more closely what the expectations are of both nominating unions and the trustees themselves.
190. 27 October 2013 Understanding Globalization Gindin, Sam; David McNally
Presentations by: Sam Gindin, co-author with Leo Panitch of The Making of Global Capitalism: The Political Economy of American Empire; and David McNally, author of Global Slump: The Economics and Politics of Crisis and Resistance. Recorded in Toronto, 19 October 2013.
189. 20 October 2013 Trade Union and 'Progressive' Strategies Soederberg, Susanne; Jim Stanford
It is noteworthy that as finance has been on the 'rise', some activists began to formalize anti-corporate and targeted activist campaign strategies through pension and personal investment funds. In Canada and the U.S., several faith organizations began to argue that anti-social corporate behaviour should be, in some sense, sanctioned by individual investors and ultimate owners, on the basis of social principle or humanitarian values.
188. 6 October 2013 From Pension Fund Socialism to Pension Fund Capitalism?
Peter Drucker's famous 1976 warning that the growth of workers' pension funds was leading to 'socialism' in the United States has not aged well. This conception inspired many trade unionists and some on the left, and led to various experimental proposals for seizing 'worker control' of finance and the economy via the pooled savings of workers, whether in pension funds or in individual savings.
187. 29 September 2013 Tied in a Knot - discussion with the director Kukreja, Reena
This documentary examines the newly emergent phenomenon of bride buying and commoditization of the female body in India, and the attendant gender based violence that the sourced, bought, or trafficked brides undergo in their marital homes. Years of repressive social morés that promoted girl dispreference is now seeing men from these regions breach customary rules and travel to distant poorer regions of India to find wives.
186. 15 September 2013 Prime Your Mind for Resistance to the 'Right to Work' Lie
Bankers get bailed out, corporations get incentives, workers get attacked... and 'right to work' laws threaten to take this much further. A GTWA labour forum with John Cartwright, Sonia Singh, and Sam Gindin. Recorded in Toronto, 12 September 2013.
185. 1 September 2013 How Tar Sands Threaten Our Communities
Concern is growing. Word is getting out about Enbridge Corp.'s plan to convert an aging cross-Toronto pipeline (Line 9) to transport a toxic mixture of bitumen (tar) and chemicals. Hundreds of East End Toronto residents have expressed alarm about the dangers of a spill and the effect on climate change. Recorded in Toronto, 25 August 2013.
184. 18 August 2013 France: One year after the Sarkozy defeat
François Hollande and his Socialist Party came to power following presidential and legislative elections in May-June 2012. While the defeat of hard-right president Nicolas Sarkozy and his UMP party certainly came as a huge relief, Hollande and his government have essentially pursued the same agenda as the defeated forces of the right and have plummeted in the opinion polls.
183. 4 August 2013 Architecture, Occupation, and Resistance
Justin Podur interviews architectural researcher Suzy Harris-Brandts, who studied and worked with the Decolonizing Architecture group in the West Bank. They discuss the limitations of negotiations, design tactics under occupation, and the responsibility of architects.
182. 14 July 2013 Has the Giant Awoken?
Brazil is currently witnessing the largest mass protests to hit the country in over 20 years. Originally organized by the Free Fare Movement (MPL) in Sao Paulo against a planned 10 cent public transit fare hike, the protests quickly spread to Rio de Janeiro, Brasilia, and other major cities across the country. At its peak, over 1 million people in over 100 Brazilian cities took to the streets to protest a long list of grievances ranging from political corruption to human rights abuses and World Cup spending.
181. 7 July 2013 Democracy Against Capitalism Roper, Brian
A presentation by Brian Roper, author of The History of Democracy - A Marxist Interpretation. Brian Roper is a long-time activist on the socialist left in New Zealand and an Associate Professor in Politics at the University of Otago. Recorded in Toronto, 24 June 2013.
180. 30 June 2013 Chapuling in Turkey
Occupy Gezi and Reflections from the Turkish Left. Presentations by Baris Karaagac, Ezgi Dogru and Balca Arda. Recorded in Toronto 23 June 2013.
179. 23 June 2013 The State and The Future of Democracy in Turkey Baban, Feyzi; Sabine Dreher; Mustafa Koc
In recent years Turkey has been presented as a "model democracy" for the Middle East. In recent weeks, what started out as a protest against the conversion of a park to a shopping centre in Istanbul, has evolved into a national protest movement about democracy and grievances related to neoliberalism, unfettered urban development, repression of political dissent and free media, state intervention into personal lifestyles, disregard for constitutional rights and freedoms and police brutality.
178. 22 June 2013 Waiting for 2014 in Afghanistan Podur, Justin
A short documentary by Justin Podur about Afghanistan's perils and prospects leading up to the 2014 NATO withdrawal and election. Includes interviews with Afghan MPs: Ramazon Bashardost, famous for his anti-corruption politics, and Shukria Barakzai, famous as a writer of Afghanistan's constitution. Based on a visit to Kabul in March 2013.
177. 16 June 2013 The Crisis and Socialist Strategy Spourdalakis, Michalis
Lessons from the Greek Left with Michalis Spourdalakis. Spourdalakis is a founding member of Syriza and currently serves on its policy planning committee. Professor of Political Science at Athens University and current chair of the Hellenic Political Science Association, he is also on the Secretariat of Nicos Poulantzas Institute, and a corresponding editor of the Socialist Register.
176. 19 May 2013 Reportback from Ecosocialism Conference 2013
Taking place at New York's Barnard College, the Ecosocialist Conference drew some two hundred activists around the slogan "System Change not Climate Change." It was endorsed by numerous progressive organizations and individuals in the U.S. and Canada, and featured speakers from a wide spectrum of organizations and perspectives. Introduced by Abbie Bakan and John Riddell. Moderated by Greg Albo. Recorded in Toronto, 4 May 2013.
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