Essay on Working Class

1088 WordsMar 26, 20125 Pages
This article entitled The Honest Workingman and Workers’ Control: The Experience of Toronto Skilled Workers, 1860-1892 written by Gregory S. Kealey looks to better describe the practice of three Toronto unions from the 1860’s to the early 1890’s and their struggles for their rights and deserved wages in order to illustrate the strength these types of unions possess. This article recognizes that there are industries where unions win, and still must rely on skilled labour. Many times people hear the term ‘industrialization’ and think that all craft workers get blown away, however this is not exactly the case as this article demonstrates. Kealey looks at three separate cases in three separate industries to identify the significant variations…show more content…
Labour unions played a great role in the battle between the capitalist world and the labourers who wanted their rights to stay intact. In the Toronto moulding department, the union’s claim to control was the central issue being discussed. Many attempts at strikes were mentioned resulting in major struggles for the working class. Eventually, there industry wide agreements in stove foundries, but until this the strength of the moulders depended solely on their skill and control of the work process through their union. The Iron Moulders differed from the Coopers in that they maintained a high level of workplace control into the twentieth century. This was mainly due to the strength of their organization, but also relied on the slower introduction of machinery to replace physical workers in this industry, and therefore the workers had time to perfect their craft before the machines arrived.(Kealey, 1976) The third, and probably most supportive case given by Kealey is that of the Toronto printer’s industry and union, with their control of the shop floor demonstrating early union power. These printers had a very strong tradition of craft pride and identified well with their work. It was obvious that you had to be literate to be involved in printing, and therefore these printing trades were very exclusive, and to belong you needed to show a great deal of intelligence and knowledge. Because of this, printers in these
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