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  • Canadian Labour and the War
  • Philip Child (bio)
Philip Child

The well-known novelist, is now engaged, for the Institute of International Affairs, on a survey of Canadian opinion and the war.


1. The following labour bodies are, after one designation, referred to by initials: Trades and Labour Congress of Canada (T.L.C.C.), Canadian Congress of Labour (C.C.L.), Canadian Federation of Labour (C.F.L.), the Confederation of Catholic Workers of Canada (C.C.W.C.); also the American Federation of Labor (A.F.L.), the [Canadian] Committee For Industrial Organization ([C.]C.I.O.), the All-Canadian Congress of Labour (A.C.C.L.).

2. Paid-up membership. Precise total membership figures for congresses are unobtainable at present.

3. The Canadian Unionist (C.C.L. Journal) announces that the most important task the new Congress has undertaken is the organizing of unorganized labour.

4. The hostile Labour Review (C.F.L. journal) asserts that the proportion of C.C.I.O. to A.C.C.L. in the Congress is probably 2 to 1. The Congress gives the proportion as equal. Announced membership is about 100,000.

5. Fr. Richer in the Quebec quarterly Culture, Sept., 1940.

6. Paid-up membership is about 16,000.

7. Many. though not all, labour leaders think that all war industries should be nationalized. Many new war industries are. Some labour leaders (together with the C.C.F. and the Conservative opposition) support a “hundred per cent tax on excess profits.” The government claims that such a tax would involve injustices as well as administrative problems of great difficulty.

8. See Labour Review, Oct., 1940, also Nov., 1940. The Labour Review asserts that Canada is inviting trouble by tolerating—let alone encouraging—“the control of its industrial relations by the organizations of a neutral state.”

9. Ex-President Lewis asserted that those who say Communists influenced the C.I.O. “lie in their beards and lie in their bowels.”

10. But the Labour Review (C.F.L.) thinks that the international unions are determined to exploit a seller’s labour market. “The signs of today are plain to read. Demands for the state operation of industry during the war, attacks upon full penalty rates for overtime, and sporadic strikes and threats to strike, all these are indications of a mutinous attitude which distant dictators of union policy may exploit to the detriment of the industrial war effort.”

11. To quote the President of the T.L.C.C.: “There are two Ways of approaching this question. One, the old paternalistic and often autocratic method of telling the workers what they must do and what is good for them, and the other, the sounder and more British method, of seeking to attain the same ends by voluntary co-operation.”

12. As far as possible these bonuses will be pegged to local cost conditions. The stabilization will apply to war industry, but it is hoped that other industries will fall into line.



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