World War II, or the Second World War, was a military conflict that happened globally starting from 1939 and lasting all the way to 1945, which involved most of the world’s nations. According to Laurel Sefton McDowell, “the war years were a period of antagonistic labour-government relations and serious industrial unrest, which labour attributed to wage controls (McDowell, pg 175, 1978). In this paper, I am going to explain how World War II shaped the post-war compromise between labour and capital and opened up possibilities for workers to gain more economic security.
As WWII went on, as stated by Craig Heron, “[the war] brought back the jobs and higher wages that workers had been yearning for. It also brought long-term changes that helped to set in motion the longest period of continued prosperity in the history of capitalism”(Heron, pg 58, 1996). While the war going on in the world was very tragic, the individuals back home were prospering from it because the war gave many people jobs with higher wages than previous times. The economy was booming while the country continued to fight and Heron explains, “military recruitment and munitions production provided steady employment. The working class expanded and took on new hues, as labour shortages brought in large numbers of new workers from farms and women from their house-holds” (Heron, pg 69, 1996). So now, women were allowed to work, which not only made the man in house the breadwinner, but the women now being the secondary contributor to the household. This brought upon more economic security, because now instead of one paycheck per household, some families brought in two. Even through all the chaos happening outside of the country, Canada was not in peace back home. Throughout the war, trade unions were striking in Canada and eventually they became involved in direct political activity. McDowell states, “at the centre of this conflict was the demand for collective bargaining. Collective bargaining was not...
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