The following panels are seeking participants as part of the CAWLS 2019 Conference
Labour and Financialization
Panel Organizer: Kendra Strauss (SFU)
Much has been written about financialization since the crisis of 2008. Often, however, labour is excluded from analyses, or workers framed as passive ‘local’ victims of ‘global’ financial
processes. This session aims to bring together scholars working on financialization who centre labour – including unpaid labour – and workers, to facilitate conversation and debate about the relationship of financialization and labour from theoretical and empirical perspectives. Papers are invited that address the following themes:
– the financialization of the economy in Canada and its impacts on organized labour
– theories of financialization and their engagements (or lack of engagement) with labour
and the labour process
– financialization, urbanization and labour
– financialization and class
– finance capital, privatization and public sector workers
– financialization, subjectivity and identity
– credit, debt and wages
– social reproduction and financialization
– racial capitalism, racialization and financialization
– financialization, infrastructures and labour
– financialization and precarity
Paper abstracts are not limited to the above themes, and submissions are welcome on all
dimensions of financialization and labour. Contributions are welcome that explore processes
and structures within and outside of Canada, and in comparative contexts. Please send
abstracts of no more than 250 words, with your name and affiliation, to Kendra Strauss <[email protected]> by January 15, 2018.
Deeper and Wider: Building Better Solidarity, Social Movement Unionism and Member
Panel Organizer: Stephen Elliott-Buckley, CUPE Research
Building more effective member engagement is critical for developing more robust democratic
participation in the labour movement. It enriches the organizational fabric of our unions, and
enhances solidarity internally, among other unions, and with allied social movement groups and activists. In a world of more deeply entrenched neoliberalism and labour precarity, passing up internal and external engagement opportunities means missed opportunities. We can be sure the right and the 1% are coordinating very deeply and very widely—and not just once a year at the World Economic Forum in Davos.
This panel is for scholars and practitioners to explore the state of member and ally engagement in the labour movement, share case studies and research, pose questions for current and future research, and compare our mobilization with how corporations and neoliberal governments leverage regressive gains to impede the strength and growth of organized labour. Let this be a panel to connect with each other, build bridges and embark on solidarity-building projects of common interest.
Please submit your papers that examine topics that relate to themes including, but not limited
1. The state of Social Movement Unionism in Canada’s labour movement today
2. Case studies of effective union-social activist collaboration
3. How membership engagement helps serve the precariat
4. How academics and academic institutions can help advance labour movement goals
5. Effective formal and informal union member mapping strategies
6. Applying an intersectionality lens in mapping member identities, vulnerabilities and
7. Intersectional examinations of power and entitlement in labour unions
8. Lessons from other countries on engagement, collaboration and solidarity
Contact: [email protected]
Réflexions autour du précariat
Se consacrant depuis près d’une quinzaine d’années aux travailleuses et travailleurs pauvres, le Groupe de recherche interdisciplinaire sur l’emploi, la pauvreté et la protection sociale souhaite profiter de ce Congrès pour faire le point sur l’état de la structure de l’emploi et ses
D’un côté, il semble que les transformations de la structure de l’emploi, commencée dans les
années 1970, se soient consolidées et stabilisées à la fin des années 1990. Au Québec, le taux d’emploi atypique est ainsi assez stable depuis cette période et oscille autour de 38%. Mais depuis lors, de nouvelles formes d’emploi, toujours plus atypiques et tendant à échapper à l’emprise des législations, commencent à apparaître et à se multiplier. Si elles apparaissent marginales, elles frappent toutefois l’imaginaire. Songeons à ce qu’il est convenu d’appeler l’ubérisation. Ainsi, alors que le rôle de l’État dans la structuration de ce phénomène est lui aussi bien campé, nous constatons, d’une part, le commencement d’interventions correctrices relativement à la précarisation de l’emploi (la hausse du salaire minimum; la refonte de la Loi sur les Normes du travail) et, d’autre part, la persistance des difficultés des luttes collectives à contrer ces dynamiques.
Cela étant posé pour ce qui est de la structure de l’emploi, une analyse plus fine permet de rendre compte de la distribution des individus dans celle-ci. Assurément, les dynamiques
discriminatoires constituent un facteur déterminant de cette distribution, reconduisant les
inégalités sur la base de caractéristiques personnelles, en fonction des statuts d’emploi, pour les femmes, les jeunes, les travailleuses et travailleurs plus âgés, les personnes migrantes, les groupes vulnérables et les personnes racisées.
Ainsi, à l’occasion de ce Congrès, le GIREPS invite ses membres et d’autres praticiens et
chercheuses à contribuer à la consolidation de ces connaissances sur le précariat, son
approfondissement et ses nouveaux développements, de même qu’à ouvrir un axe de réflexions sur la portée épistémologique de l’articulation de ces connaissances avec les luttes qui visent à contrer les réalités qu’elles éclairent.
Il conviendrait ainsi de soumettre un appel de communication pour un axe thématique sur le
précariat, autour de 2 axes : état des connaissances; portée épistémologique.
Panel 1. Précariat, le nouveau et l’ancien.
Marie-Pierre Boucher : ouverture
Anthony Desbiens, Diane Gagné et Marie-Pierre Boucher : rapport au travail, parcours et
barrières à l’emploi des personnes assistées sociales
Panel 2. Portée épistémologique des luttes contre et des connaissances sur le précariat.
Choelki Yoon : Workers Centres au Canada, stratégies organisationnelles : CTI et WAC
Sid Ahmed Soussi : ce que les partenariats de recherche sur le précariat changent aux luttes et aux connaissances
Relaie-Femmes et Au bas de l’échelle
Réfléchi à partir du Québec, l’état des lieux du précariat n’a pas à se cantonner à cet espace
L’axe thématique se déroulera surtout en français mais peut accueillir des communications en
Personne responsable : Marie-Pierre Boucher, Professeures, Département de Relations
industrielles, Université du Québec en Outaouais, <[email protected]>
Labour Confronts the Hard Right: Challenges, Strategies, Opportunities
Steven Tufts, Associate Professor, Department of Geography, York University
Mark P. Thomas, Associate Professor, Department of Sociology, York University
Ian MacDonald, Professeur adjoint, École de relations industrielles, Université de
Session Description: Following the financial crisis of 2008, populist and more extreme
movements on both the right and left of the political spectrum have grown rapidly,
reflecting growing disenchantment with political and economic elites. In this context,
some right wing populist governments, leaders, and movements have demonstrated
elements of authoritarianism and xenophobia beyond populism, marking a shift to the
‘hard right’ and deepening the challenges faced by labour movements already placed on
the defensive by years of austerity measures. This panel will explore labour’s
confrontation with hard right governments and movements and will consider the
trajectories of these confrontations. The panel will also address the strategic challenges as
well as the opportunities for labour movements. How are labour leaders confronting
right-wing sentiments among different groups of workers? In what ways does the hard
right present key challenges for labour movements in terms of collective organizing,
representation, and bargaining? In what ways might engagement with hard right
governments and movements foster new forms of labour organizing? We encourage
papers that theorize the current conjuncture through the lens of labour, as well as case
studies of the interaction between labour and the hard right.
Contact <[email protected]> by Jan 21, 2019.
Rights and resistance: sexual orientation, gender identity and work
Organizers: Suzanne Mills, McMaster University and Sean Waite, Western University
Globally, we are witnessing a rise in the popular support for conservative leaders and public
figures who advocate for the retraction of worker rights on the one hand and of the rights of
LGBTQ2SI+ people and migrants on the other. At the same time, precedent-setting calls to
include protection for LGBTQ2SI+ workers in global trade agreements and international treaties are being met with resistance (Press 2018). The rising political backlash towards LGBTQ2SI rights in Canada, the United States and elsewhere suggests that despite significant advances over the past 30 years, that there is persistent resistance to the elimination of homophobia and transphobia (Browne and Nash 2014). Moreover, commentators have suggested that rising conservative populism is tied to the economic disenfranchisement of the white working-class (Gidron and Hall 2018). As both workers and members of targeted social identity groups, LGBTQ2SI+ workers are at the centre of this shifting political terrain.
This panel aims to build a conversation about these themes by bringing together research
about employment and work experiences of LGBTQ2SI+ people as well as research about how labour movements and white working class populist politics are engaging with issues and rights pertaining to sexuality and gender identity more broadly.
We invite papers that examine topics related to a broad array of themes including, but not
• The work and employment experiences of LGBTQ2SI+ people
• Employment and union experiences of racialized and Indigenous LGBTQ2SI+ people
• The strategies used by unions, worker centres and other organizations to protect LGBTQ2SI+ workers
• LGBTQ2SI+ worker education initiatives
• Links between anti-union, anti-immigrant and anti-LGBTQ2SI+ politics
• Labour related mobility and migration among LGBTQ2SI+ people
• Connections between mental health and discrimination and harassment based on gender identity and sexual orientation
• Worker Health and Safety Claims on the basis of LGBTQ2SI+ identity
Places and Poetics of Oil Work
Historian Bob Johnson argues that the “carbon nation” is made in the boiler rooms, coal mines, and other substructures that he calls “modernity’s basement.” He writes, “Here, . . . in the absent centre of our modernity, was being worked out a novel entanglement of rocks, bodies, and history” (xvi). Oil work is about making a living, and about making energy, petrochemicals, and plastics; this panel is interested in a poetics of oil work that queries what else oil work might make. Artmaking and poetry-writing related to oil work are oil poetics, and so are other forms of making with oil—for example, making homes, gender relations, and land relations.
By tracing how physical places impact the experience of work in the oil industry, this panel also considers the places of oil work. Eve Tuck and Marcia McKenzie have argued that contemporary practices of settler colonialism shape relationships to land in ways that deterritorialize and abstract place-specific knowledge of lands and waters. In response to this insight, we centre the specific experience of places where oil work is done, to question the role of this abstraction in oil labour. Geographer Doreen Massey insists that places are ongoing negotiations, thus in their consideration are moments that anthropologist Sara Ann Wylie calls creative making.
This interdisciplinary panel brings together poetry readings and academic papers to link labour, places, and poetics. We welcome creative and critical proposals on this theme from scholars or artists in any discipline. Please send a 250-word abstract by January 20 to Sam Spady or Melanie Dennis Unrau at [email protected] or [email protected].
How to Bulldoze Carceral Capital? Organize Solidarity with Incarcerated Workers!
In the context of worsening living and working conditions of both prisoners/detainees ‘inside’ corrections/detention facilities and working-class people ‘outside’, the carceral dimensions of capital’s relations of ruling intensify labour exploitation and impoverishment. This panel focuses on experiences of struggle in solidarity with incarcerated workers, including their challenges to capital and implications for broader workers’ organizing.
While centring incarcerated workers, overlapping liberation movements suggest principles and practices of solidarity. Red Power led to Native Brotherhood/Sisterhood, which remains active among indigenous prisoners, and influences indigenous land defenders who are targeted for criminalization and repression by capital and the state. Together with
revolutionary black struggle, anti-colonial and anti-white-supremacist understandings converged in the 2018 prisoner strike at Burnside, Nova Scotia, which soonafter appealed to labour unions for support. Migrant justice (stopping deportations, demanding status for all and sanctuary cities, and conceptualizing border imperialism) shaped struggles against
unlivable conditions at Toronto South and Lindsay prisons in Ontario and against detentions generally. The campaign to divest Canada Pension Plan funds from for-profit prison/migrant-detention corporations combines migrant justice with indigenous and black refusals of carceral capital. Women’s prisoner support organizing, such as by Joint Effort on unceded
Coast Salish territories, works with Inmates Committees and the Native Sisterhood. The 2018 prisoner strike brought together the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee (IWW), Jailhouse Lawyers Speak, the North American Anarchist Black Cross, and the US national black newspaper San Francisco Bay View.
Inspired by prison abolitionist publication Bulldozer: The Only Vehicle
for Prison Reform, let’s compare notes on solidarity organizing.
Contact Chris Vance [email protected]