State of the Unions

The birth and promise of Unifor

It’s hardly news that the economic climate has grown increasingly harsh for working Canadians. In recent years, they have faced stagnating wages and a steady attrition of secure, well-­paying jobs with decent retirement benefits. There has been a stunning growth in precarious employment: short-term, often part-time positions with little security and few if any benefits. In Hamilton, once the proud Steel Capital of Canada, such employment now accounts for 60 percent of all jobs. And across the country, millennials have been particularly hard hit. Liberal finance minister Bill Morneau advises them to get used to it.

Organized labour is a historically formidable force, one that shortened the work week, helped win the minimum wage, and advocated for workplace health and safety legislation, unemployment insurance, and public health care. But, so far, it has proven itself unable to reverse the latest...