Fair Play or Fair Pay? Gender Relations, Class Consciousness, and Union Solidarity in the Canadian UE

Julie Guard
1996 Labour (Halifax)  
UNIUN SXIDAIUTY was a topic of beated debate at the United Electrical. Rsdio and Machine Workers' (UE) District Council meeting of June 1954, held in Fetchorough, Ontario. One after another, tbe women delegates m e , in a camfully orchestrated display of gender solidarity, to demand that the union take immediate action on its long-standing promise to fight far equality ia the wokplace. The women who compised almost a quarter of the UE' s mmbership would not be mobilized. the womn council
more » ... w a d tbeir fellow dekgates, unless tbm was a significant improvement in the men's support for womeo's rights. "Women's rights is one of our biggest fights in the union today," Tberesa Murray stated. Ivy Harris Our unioa bas an obligationfar greater today than eva before to ... [take] up tbe probkms of women's righys] ... and bring ... our women mmben closa to the union aad ... into the fight cm d l h t s .... The struggle against injustice ud inequality as they immediately affect women ... crnnot be regarded as being for the special benefit of women but must be undmtood fot what it is --a struggle to strtngthcn the position of the w&n u a wbok. Castigating the men for giving only "lip sewicc" support to women's struggle, women delegates argued that women's issues were not a "special problem," but a valid concern of the whole union, and called on union leaders to make quality for women workers a priority. 'The union does not give enough attention to the girls' problems .... It is time the union got down to brass tacks and did something for [the] Julic Guard, "Fair Play or Fair Pay? Geader Rel.tioas Clw Consciousness, and Union Solidarity in the Canadian UE, " L o b o u r .
doi:10.2307/25144038 fatcat:jgcvu7b2vzhbrdwm6gqkqhxskm