Working Class Essay

Words: 1091
Pages: 5

This article entitled The Honest Workingman and Workers’ Control: The Experience of Toronto Skilled Workers, 1860-1892 written by Gregory S. Kealey looks to better describe the practice of three Toronto unions from the 1860’s to the early 1890’s and their struggles for their rights and deserved wages in order to illustrate the strength these types of unions possess. This article recognizes that there are industries where unions win, and still must rely on skilled labour. Many times people hear the term ‘industrialization’ and think that all craft workers get blown away, however this is not exactly the case as this article demonstrates.
Kealey looks at three separate cases in three separate industries to identify the significant variations
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The printers union also had extensive political power in provincial and even national affairs. Their political role stemmed from their union activities, and they gave the Toronto working class important leadership, evidenced by the strikes in 1883 against the Mail and the Globe among others. To finish his topic on the printers, Kealey ends by saying that the printers left the century not only with their traditions intact but also with their power actually strengthened. They had come face to face with the machine, and won. (Kealey,1976)
Kealey again references a David Montgomery argument when he states that, “the major impact of this early workers’ control was the skilled worker’ growing awareness that the key institution for the transformation of society was the trade union. From their understanding that they, through their unions, controlled production, it was a relatively easy step to the belief that all the capitalist brought to the process was capital.” (Kealey, 1976. 74)
Although Kealey does a good job of dividing the article into 4 separate logical parts, whilst using a vast array of historical documents and newspaper articles from that time period to give the reader a grasp of the times, this becomes a downfall of his in the lack of diversity in his supporting documents. The only evidence he provides are these newspaper articles and various monotonous documents that can easily lose the readers