The Citizenship of Labour
Publication:
The Empire Club of Canada Addresses (Toronto, Canada), 4 Oct 1990, p. 60-70


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The Citizenship of Labour


Some personal background. Some thoughts on the role of the labour movement as we enter a new decade. The Internal Task Force on Future Directions of the United Steelworkers of America: some changes made as a result of that task force. Two very different examples of change occurring within the Steelworkers. Details about the union. The union's appreciation of the complex interconnectedness of Canada's political economy. Earning social legitimacy (labour's citizenship). The right to influence economic policy. The social-democratic approach to political life. Some remarks following the recent election in Ontario of the New Democratic Party to govern provincially. What the new government might mean for the labour movement. A realistic approach to legislative change. Some expectations in a shift in the style of government. Another dramatic change in conventional union practice: the Steelworkers Humanity Fund. What the Fund does and what it means as an example of labour's re-thinking and re-orientation to the world around us. The Human Fund as an example of effective labour citizenship married to the most basic union activity. Winning support for Humanity fund proposals. A deepened awareness of the interconnected fates of the world's people. Trade unionism as an instrument of social and economic justice. The Canadian Steel Trade and Employment Congress (CSTEC): mandate and function. Initiatives that depend on the active recognition of labour's social legitimacy. The practice of democratic trade unionism as an investment in a democratic society.