April 9, 1937

CCF

James Shaver Woodsworth

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. WOODSWORTH:

That may be, and I frankly admit that as far as I see it, it involves what to-day is regarded as trespass.

But the point I make is that the C.I.O. is quite distinct from the sit-down strike; the C.I.O. is a legitimate labour organization. It is true that it is not favoured in Canada by the regular American Federation of Labour organization because it is in the United States, more or less, a split-away from the American Federation of Labour. I need not tell the house that the American Federation of Labour type of organization was based on craft unionism. Each craft was organized. In the meantime, in the last twenty or thirty years, the form of structure of our industry has vastly changed and there are a certain number of people in the American Federation of Labour who believe that there ought to be corresponding changes in the type of trade unionism. Into that matter I do not intend to enter this morning, but I point out that it is a perfectly reasonable thesis and program which the C.I.O. have adopted, namely, that there should be industrial unionism rather than craft unionism.

In the United States, as everyone knows, Mr. Lewis has received a great deal of support from the American government. There is an excellent editorial along this line in yesterday's Ottawa Journal. However, the point is that the C.I.O. is not a subversive or an illegal organization.

An effort is being made to cry down all foreign organizations. May I point out that the American Federation of Labour is as

much a foreign organization as the Committee for Industrial Organization. Both are international organizations with the bulk of their membership in the United States. The American Federation of Labour has developed across the international border, and we have accepted the Trades and Labour Congress which is more or less the Canadian section of the American Federation of Labour. Most of the trades union members on this side are directly connected with the American unions. It was only a few days ago that the Minister of Justice emphasized very strongly the recent wonderful achievement in the railway trades, where a threatened strike had been settled by reasonable means. I quite agree with him, but I point out that the organizations involved are many of them American organizations- just as much "foreign" organizations as the C.I.O. I point out, as he did then, that trouble involving a disturbance of our whole transportation facilities in this country was avoided because we had strong labour organizations which were allowed to function. At the present time in Oshawa an effort is being made by the companies to prevent strong labour organizations, and if the effort succeeds almost inevitably trouble will ensue.

May I also point out that whilst some people have a good deal to say against foreign labour organizations, all over this country, particularly in the east and the far north, we have United States corporations. Capital is American, management is American, General Motors, if you like, is American. I had an experience several years ago which illustrates this. I went into a district in northern Manitoba where before I could hold a public political meeting in support of a Progressive candidate I was interviewed by the superintendent and manager of a United States corporation, himself not a naturalized Canadian, who undertook to say whether or not a public political meeting could be held in a community of 3,000 people. Surely it is an intolerable situation when an American manager undertakes to dictate the policies of citizens of Canada. That is true of many American corporation towns all up the Pacific coast, and some in northern Ontario and Quebec. We ought not to allow ourselves to be led astray by this term "American organizer." As far as the particular individual who is organizing the strike is concerned, whose name is Hugh Thompson, I am informed that he is still a British subject, an Irishman by birth, and comes to Canada, as has been done for many a year by the American Federation of Labour organizers, to carry on the work of his union in Canada. The objection of the

Labour Dispute-Oshawa Strike

company, if put into effect, would rule out all the legitimate labour organizations in this country.

I do not know whether I should make any special appeal to a Liberal government. But I would remind the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) that the Liberal program contains this plank on the democratization of industry:

The Liberal party believes that industrial reconstruction is the problem of the future. It will seek in industrial relations as opportunity offers, to give to workers and consumers a larger share in the government of industry.

Topic:   LABOUR DISPUTE
Subtopic:   OSHAWA STRIKE OP AUTOMOBILE EMPLOYEES
Sub-subtopic:   MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT TO DISCUSS MATTER OP PUBLIC IMPORTANCE
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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

Hear, hear.

Topic:   LABOUR DISPUTE
Subtopic:   OSHAWA STRIKE OP AUTOMOBILE EMPLOYEES
Sub-subtopic:   MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT TO DISCUSS MATTER OP PUBLIC IMPORTANCE
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CCF

James Shaver Woodsworth

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. WOODSWORTH:

I am glad the Liberals say "hear, hear." It occurs to me that this is good opportunity to check the dictatorship being attempted by the management of this industry at Oshawa.

Topic:   LABOUR DISPUTE
Subtopic:   OSHAWA STRIKE OP AUTOMOBILE EMPLOYEES
Sub-subtopic:   MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT TO DISCUSS MATTER OP PUBLIC IMPORTANCE
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?

An hon. MEMBER:

By the management only?

Topic:   LABOUR DISPUTE
Subtopic:   OSHAWA STRIKE OP AUTOMOBILE EMPLOYEES
Sub-subtopic:   MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT TO DISCUSS MATTER OP PUBLIC IMPORTANCE
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CCF

James Shaver Woodsworth

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. WOODSWORTH:

I have on the order paper-I do not know whether it will be reached this session-a bill which would give to trade unions the right to organize.

Topic:   LABOUR DISPUTE
Subtopic:   OSHAWA STRIKE OP AUTOMOBILE EMPLOYEES
Sub-subtopic:   MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT TO DISCUSS MATTER OP PUBLIC IMPORTANCE
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LIB

Ernest Lapointe (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE (Quebec East):

They have that right now.

Topic:   LABOUR DISPUTE
Subtopic:   OSHAWA STRIKE OP AUTOMOBILE EMPLOYEES
Sub-subtopic:   MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT TO DISCUSS MATTER OP PUBLIC IMPORTANCE
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CCF

James Shaver Woodsworth

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. WOODSWORTH:

Yes, theoretically they have. In practice they have never been able fully to exercise it, and there is no positive legislation on the statute books. It would seem that in this country positive legislation, with penalties for infringement, is highly desirable. It is unfortunate that it should be left to a private member to introduce such legislation.

Topic:   LABOUR DISPUTE
Subtopic:   OSHAWA STRIKE OP AUTOMOBILE EMPLOYEES
Sub-subtopic:   MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT TO DISCUSS MATTER OP PUBLIC IMPORTANCE
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LIB

Norman McLeod Rogers (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. ROGERS:

Will the hon. member permit me to ask whether he is aware that the Trades and Labour Congress of Canada and other labour organizations have brought this matter to the attention of the government over a period of years? Is he also aware that the Trades and Labour Congress prepared a draft bill protecting the right of association, which was submitted to every provincial legislature in the dominion within the past few weeks, and that this submission on the part of the Trades and Labour Congress to the provincial legislatures recognized that so far as the right of association is a civil right to be dealt with by provincial law, any sanction behind that right of association should also properly be applied by provincial law?

Topic:   LABOUR DISPUTE
Subtopic:   OSHAWA STRIKE OP AUTOMOBILE EMPLOYEES
Sub-subtopic:   MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT TO DISCUSS MATTER OP PUBLIC IMPORTANCE
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CCF

James Shaver Woodsworth

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. WOODSWORTH:

I am quite aware of the facts as related by the Minister of. Labour (Mr. Rogers). But I know also that

under the British North America Act it is doubtful where the line comes between civil and criminal, between provincial and federal jurisdiction. I need not say that to the house. The Trades and Labour Congress, almost in despair of getting any action by this government, attempted to get it through the provincial governments.

Topic:   LABOUR DISPUTE
Subtopic:   OSHAWA STRIKE OP AUTOMOBILE EMPLOYEES
Sub-subtopic:   MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT TO DISCUSS MATTER OP PUBLIC IMPORTANCE
Permalink
?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Oh, oh.

Topic:   LABOUR DISPUTE
Subtopic:   OSHAWA STRIKE OP AUTOMOBILE EMPLOYEES
Sub-subtopic:   MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT TO DISCUSS MATTER OP PUBLIC IMPORTANCE
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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

That is not the fact.

Topic:   LABOUR DISPUTE
Subtopic:   OSHAWA STRIKE OP AUTOMOBILE EMPLOYEES
Sub-subtopic:   MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT TO DISCUSS MATTER OP PUBLIC IMPORTANCE
Permalink
LIB

Norman McLeod Rogers (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. ROGERS:

That is not a true statement. if I may say so. As Minister of Labour I had a number of discussions with representatives of the Trades and Labour Congress and other organizations on this very question. When the matter was brought to the attention of the provincial legislatures it was not done on the basis of any feeling on the part of leaders of organized labour in Canada that the dominion government had in any way failed to accept its due responsibility in the matter.

Topic:   LABOUR DISPUTE
Subtopic:   OSHAWA STRIKE OP AUTOMOBILE EMPLOYEES
Sub-subtopic:   MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT TO DISCUSS MATTER OP PUBLIC IMPORTANCE
Permalink
CCF

James Shaver Woodsworth

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. WOODSWORTH:

That may have been the statement made to the minister. I have had statements along other lines made to me. However I do not intend to discuss that matter now; if my bill can be reached I shall be able to discuss it then. But I should like to emphasize that it has been extremely difficult under existing legislation for the workers in this country to exercise the right to organize. In Great Britain that right is conceded in practice as well as in theory. In the United States it is only in the last few months, largely through the efforts of this new organization, that the right of labour to organize is being recognized in practice.

Topic:   LABOUR DISPUTE
Subtopic:   OSHAWA STRIKE OP AUTOMOBILE EMPLOYEES
Sub-subtopic:   MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT TO DISCUSS MATTER OP PUBLIC IMPORTANCE
Permalink
LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

May I say to my hon. friend that I think the house has been generous in its attitude in affording him the opportunity to discuss the Oshawa situation as a matter of urgent public importance. In his motion he indicated that he wished to speak about the Oshawa strike and I suggest to him that it is hardly fair to begin under that head a general discussion on the question of rights of organization and other subjects of the kind. I think he should hold to the point on which he asked leave to move adjournment of the house.

Topic:   LABOUR DISPUTE
Subtopic:   OSHAWA STRIKE OP AUTOMOBILE EMPLOYEES
Sub-subtopic:   MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT TO DISCUSS MATTER OP PUBLIC IMPORTANCE
Permalink
CCF

James Shaver Woodsworth

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. WOODSWORTH:

I quite accept what the Prime Minister says, but I think I have not transgressed very far, and I am about to conclude.

Topic:   LABOUR DISPUTE
Subtopic:   OSHAWA STRIKE OP AUTOMOBILE EMPLOYEES
Sub-subtopic:   MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT TO DISCUSS MATTER OP PUBLIC IMPORTANCE
Permalink
?

An hon. MEMBER:

Why bring in the United States?

Labour Dispute-Oshawa Strike

Topic:   LABOUR DISPUTE
Subtopic:   OSHAWA STRIKE OP AUTOMOBILE EMPLOYEES
Sub-subtopic:   MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT TO DISCUSS MATTER OP PUBLIC IMPORTANCE
Permalink
CCF

James Shaver Woodsworth

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. WOODSWORTH:

I brought in the United States simply because we are told that this is a United States union and that in this country we will not tolerate any American unions.

I suggested in my last statement that it had not been very easy for labour to organize in Canada. Under these circumstances it does seem to me that this government has a very decided obligation to take some definite stand regarding this situation at Oshawa. Apparently at the moment all that has been done has been to place our Royal Canadian Mounted Police in large numbers at the disposal of a provincial government which has already placed itself definitely behind the company.

Topic:   LABOUR DISPUTE
Subtopic:   OSHAWA STRIKE OP AUTOMOBILE EMPLOYEES
Sub-subtopic:   MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT TO DISCUSS MATTER OP PUBLIC IMPORTANCE
Permalink
LIB

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

That is not right.

Topic:   LABOUR DISPUTE
Subtopic:   OSHAWA STRIKE OP AUTOMOBILE EMPLOYEES
Sub-subtopic:   MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT TO DISCUSS MATTER OP PUBLIC IMPORTANCE
Permalink
LIB

Ernest Lapointe (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE (Quebec East):

Why make these rash, untrue statements?

Topic:   LABOUR DISPUTE
Subtopic:   OSHAWA STRIKE OP AUTOMOBILE EMPLOYEES
Sub-subtopic:   MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT TO DISCUSS MATTER OP PUBLIC IMPORTANCE
Permalink
CCF

James Shaver Woodsworth

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. WOODSWORTH:

I am not making a rash statement; I am merely stating what is reported in this morning's press. If it is incorrect I hope the minister will correct me.

Topic:   LABOUR DISPUTE
Subtopic:   OSHAWA STRIKE OP AUTOMOBILE EMPLOYEES
Sub-subtopic:   MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT TO DISCUSS MATTER OP PUBLIC IMPORTANCE
Permalink

April 9, 1937