Title and statement of responsibility area
Women, social justice, and Canadian trade unions collection
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- Textual record
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2.7 m of textual records
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Since the 1970s, the Canadian union movement has produced extensive documentation on equity-related issues. This material often had an ephemeral existence as unions lacked resources to preserve and provide access to the documents, and there was no labour library to collect it. In order to promote access and to raise consciousness about important union sources, Professor Linda Briskin, a feminist and union activist, began collecting these documents in the 1970s. Professor Briskin received her Bachelor of Arts degree from McGill University in 1970, taught English and history at the secondary school level from 1971 to 1975, and became involved in the nascent English-speaking women's movement in Montreal. She moved to Toronto to pursue graduate studies with York University's Department of Social and Political Thought, leading to a Master's degree in 1977 and a Ph.D. in 1986. Briskin worked as a Teaching Master at Sheridan College from 1976 to 1986, and was the Director of its Centre for Women from 1980 to 1982. Briskin joined York University's Division of Social Science in July 1986, and was appointed to the Faculty of Graduate Studies for the Women's Studies Programme in 1992. She has held a cross-appointment to the School of Women's Studies since 2001, and was a Guest Researcher in Stockholm, Sweden, from 1992-1994. Her teaching has focused on women's studies (in particular feminist theory, women organizing, and women and society), and was recognized with awards in 1998, 1999, and 2004. Briskin has been an active member of unions, taking part in International Women's Day committees, helping to organize the first provincial women's committee for the Ontario Public Service Employees Union in the 1970s, and co-chairing the Status of Women Committee of the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations in 1990-1992. This concern regarding women and unions was also reflected in Briskin's research and writing, which focused on: unions, globalization, and women's power; equity bargaining and bargaining equity; feminist organizing with a focus on socialist feminism; worker militancies; pedagogies and power; and privileging agency (a strategy for women's studies in troubled times). This collection is a product of Briskin's research in these areas. She wrote to the large Canadian unions on an annual basis, requesting any new material that dealt with women and equity-related issues. Briskin compiled her first bibliography on these topics for "Union sisters : women in the labour movement," co-edited with Lynda Yanz (The Women's Press, 1983), and has written or edited several articles and books on equity, collective bargaining, feminism, public policy, women, and unions.
Scope and content
Collection consists of publications, policy statements, research reports, conference and educational documents, and newsletters accumulated by Professor Linda Briskin in the course of her research on women and equity in organized labour in Canada. The documents were published by or about local, provincial, and national organizations, including the Canadian Labour Congress, provincial federations of labour, Canadian and United Auto Workers, Canadian Air Line Employees' Association, Canada Employment Immigration Union, the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada, the Committee for Cleaners' Rights, International Ladies Garment Workers Union, Metro Labour Council, Union of Provincial Government Employees, Canadian Union of Public Employees, Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation, Public Service Alliance of Canada, United Steelworkers of Canada, Registered Nurses Association of Ontario, and the Windsor Hospital Clerical Workers Union of Canada. The collection deals with equity in collective bargaining units, including issues of sisterhood and solidarity, education, human rights, anti-racism, aboriginal issues, affirmative action, violence against women, and the impact of technological change.
Immediate source of acquisition
The collection was donated by Professor Linda Briskin in 2006.
The documents are arranged into files by organization, and they reflect the equity initiatives undertaken by unions to transform organizational practice and culture in order to ensure fairness and representation for women and members of other equity-seeking groups.
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No restrictions on access.
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Generated finding aid
The fonds comprises the following accessions: 2006-014. Further accruals may be expected.
Finding aid may contain language from the era in which it was written. This includes historical, unclear, or biased terminology which may not have been selected by Indigenous peoples. To learn more about historical and contemporary terminology, see resources listed at https://researchguides.library.yorku.ca/fnmi/dictionaries.
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Dates of creation, revision and deletion
2006/05/04 Carolyn Casenas:. (Creation)
2006/05/04 Awaiting review by the Data Collection Archivist
2014/07/22 Migrated to AtoM
2017/04/05 KCP. Added GMD, removed finding aid note, moved arrangement from scope and content to proper field, fix dates, and published.
2020/03/26 KCP. Added subject access points.
2020/10/28 KCP. Added historical language note.