Working Class

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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 in union power, those being Coopers International, Union No. 91, and the Iron Moulders International Union No. 28. The Coopers had to stand by and watch their craft be destroyed by the combination of mechanization, the rise of factory production, and the depression of the 1870’s among others. (Kealey, 1976. 52) Having said this, the craft workers at Coopers thought of themselves as a powerful group, and noted in the article is David Montgomery’s argument that skilled workers carried themselves with pride and felt themselves to be the equal of their bosses. Key evidence supporting the articles purpose comes when it is said that the hero is a proud and respectable workman surrounded by unscrupulous capitalists and unmanly workers who have given up their self-respect in order to carry out the veil tasks of the monopolistic bosses. (Kealey, 1976. 55) The introduction of machinery looked to hurt the CIU, however these early machines did not terminate the need for skilled workers. Skill along with knowledge it is noted, were still crucial components of barrel making. Windsor Cooper argues that these machines killed the trade, however it was noted that the machine is not to blame, if the union men had been supported by the...
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