On the Line is a new history of B.C’s labour movement from pre-Confederation to today.
Written by former Vancouver Sun labour reporter Rod Mickleburgh, the book offers plenty of historical analysis as well as archival photos. Find out more about On the Line (official publication date: April 28) below.
Among the subjects in On the Line are:
• How the province’s resource-based, frontier economy produced the most militant labour movement in Canada
• Activists who sacrificed their lives, such as early union champion Ginger Goodwin, who was murdered for his beliefs
• the role that women, Indigenous peoples, and immigrants played in shaping our workplaces and communities, and the challenges that minority groups face in securing equal representation in both unions and workplaces
• union achievements that we take for granted, like the eight-hour workday, sick leave and safe working conditions
From the introduction: “The scenes depicted in these pages are but snapshots—hopefully representative ones—from 150-plus years of working-class struggle in workplaces everywhere in BC. Collectively these examples represent a remarkable saga of workers and unions that stands with any in the province’s history. The figures who people these stories are among the heroes of British Columbia—not merely the trade union leaders, but the millions of workers, their names forgotten, who confronted those who would deny their right to take collective action in pursuit of better lives. While we celebrate builders of industrial empires like Robert and James Dunsmuir—their name writ large on streets and in the province’s chronicles—those who dared challenge their single-minded pursuit of wealth at the expense of workers are remembered minimally, if at all.”