Where did our rights come from?

July 10, 2013

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Today our basic rights to freedom of association, democratic representation in the workplace, and free collective bargaining may be easy to take for granted as having always been with us. But these rights didn't just happen. They weren't gifts from enlightened employers or kindly governments!

Like so many other advances in human rights, each and every step on the path to social progress came through hard-won struggle. The basic labour rights that all Canadians enjoy today were fought for by the generations of working men and women who came before us.

At a time when powerful corporations and their friends in government are now trying to roll back the clock on workers' rights, we have much to learn from the inspiring, and often untold, stories of the workers and activists who fought for the rights we enjoy today, and won.

The CAW has produced a colourful new 40-page booklet that charts the history of union security laws and workers' rights in Canada, called "Where did our rights come from?"

Download the full booklet

You can also download the various sections of the booklet separately.

Introductory Essay (Establishing Unions in Canada: A Long, Difficult Road) 

The Ford Windsor Strike, 1945

The Rand Formula, 1946

United Aircraft Strike, 1974

Fleck Strike, 1978

If your local union would like to place orders for the booklet, please contact cawcomm@caw.ca