Oshawa Autoworkers: Social Integration or Classic Alienation?

Oppositional Class Consciousness Among the Unionized Workers of General Motors





If they are an hourly-rated worker..they're going to be making good money by anybody's standards, sixty five to seventy five thousand, in that range. If they are a skilled tradesman [sic], then they will be much in demand and they will probably be into six figures. These are people who have at least two cars - brand new - probably got a boat, probably got a camper, probably got a cottage. These people are concerned about how they accumulate wealth, how they hold onto it; taxation is a big problem.. (Mike Breaugh, Oshawa NDP MP, 1990-1993 on "The House" CBC Radio One broadcast, July 24, 1999).





Introduction and Review



It is a well-known modern adage that the possibility of a working-class social and political revolution is long-dead, or so the prevailing ideology goes (see for example, Gorz, 1970). Among the contemporary popular explanations for the extinction of the 'class action' (1) debate is that social inequality in the Western world has largely been vanquished (Bell, 1960) or at the very least is well on its way to being alleviated, and therefore the potential for mass rebellion is not close at hand. This justification is often twinned with persistent myths of ever-expanding opportunity within capital (2). However, waiting for the consequences of inequality to try the patience of those who are its greatest victims and anticipating capitalism's final toll has been an historic exercise in patience.



One classic argument along these lines is that economic change produces a series of cultural and ideological changes among workers (Johnson, 1997). For example, industrial workers have been described as oriented less to collective interests and more towards individual interests (3) (Goldthorpe, 1968; Devine, 1992). This rationale can be commuted to voting behaviour as well; for example, the justification that people have discontinued voting for the social democratic NDP because that political option is claimed to best represent collectivist notions which may be overtaken in light of a expanding base of economic prosperity and less class antagonism. These are alleged to be signs of the "new," "embourgeoisified" middle-class (4). Through this lens the rationale contends that the working class is no longer capable of revolutionary, class-based action. The allegation here is that workers are simply not interested in social change. In sum, this is at the heart of the so-called 'affluent worker' debate. *Johnson (1997) summed it up this way:

Two sociologists, Goldthorpe and Lockwood went to the Luton car factories in the early 1960s to test the idea: have the working class become middle class? What they said afterwards has sometimes been misunderstood. They said that the working class is not becoming middle class. What is happening is that the "traditional" working class is changing to become a more "privatised", or "new" working class (Alan Johnson, 1997).

But if prosperity leads to social integration, does oppression lead to revolution? Unquestionably stagnant are the kinds of enormous social and political upheavals which characterized the industrial nations of Europe from the eighteenth century until the fall of the Soviet Union in 1989. Tilley (1978) studied only those reliably-documented strikes which took place in France from 1830 to 1968. These totalled 110,000 strikes - 36,000 which were reported in the Statistique des Grèves from 1890 to 1935 - and included major violent events totalling 2,000 over the period from 1830 through 1960. Tilley included the revolutionary upheavals of Western Europe and North America and the industrialized nations of England, Germany, Italy, Russia, Ireland, France and the United States, among others. He also analysed collective action and behaviour, mobilization, conflict and social movements in order to come to some explanation of collective action.



After a thorough analysis, Tilley suggested an idealized sequence of revolutionary action which includes the following steps: a gradual mobilization of contenders making exclusive claims to governmental control and/or claims which are unacceptable to the members of the polity; a rapid increase in the number of people accepting those claims and/or rapid expansion of the coalition including the unacceptable or exclusive contenders; unsuccessful efforts by the government to suppress the alternative coalition and/or the acceptance of its claims; establishment by the alternative coalition of effective control over some portion of the government; struggles of the alternative coalition to maintain or expand that control; reconstruction of a single polity through the victory of the alternative coalition, through its defeat, or through the establishment of a modus vivendi (5) between the alternative coalition and some or all of the old members leading to fragmentation of the revolutionary coalition and eventual reimposition of routine governmental control throughout the subject population (1978: 217). But Tilley goes on to claim that the 'contention model' outlined above



differs considerably from the common idea of revolution as a sort of tension release. If a tension-release model of revolution were correct, one might reasonably expect the level of collective violence to mount unsteadily to the climax - the revolutionary situation itself - and then decline rapidly. At that point, presumably, the tension is dissipated (1978: 216).



While Tilley maintains the model above does not have predictive value, he does emphasize that it effectively counters the prevailing notion of a prerequisite 'buildup of violence' which must occur as a compulsory condition leading to a social upheaval or revolution.



Then we turn to Ioan Davies' analysis, which contends that the West's revolutionary convulsions (especially those which took place during the nineteenth century) were associated with changing patterns of social mobility in Western Europe and North America (1970: 9). In making the link between political change and interchangeability of social position, Davies suggests that political upheaval is directly related to equality of income or status and is not a question that lies solely within the domain of a 'Marxist monopoly'. In fact, the issue of social mobility is so much an age-old concept that, in a brief footnote, Davies cites Aristotle's Politics, where it is claimed that: "..the cause of sedition is always to be found in inequality" and "[i]t is the passion for equality which is thus at the root of sedition." (Politics, Book IV, 1962: 205)." Consequently it is fairly easy to conclude that a preoccupation with the differential distribution of resources and their related social signifiers of social difference has been a timeworn explanatory framework for revolutionary activity among philosophers and, more recently, political sociologists.



In the present-day context, Aristotle's political sedition is more likely to find its expression in the support for political parties which claim to represent the interests of the working-class, or conversely, a less explored alternative is the withdrawal of working-class support for all formally constituted political parties. Still, analysts generally believe that those political parties which espouse support for programs and issues which are intended to be of particular interest to the working-class (e.g., tax-based social programs, equal distribution of taxes to alleviate income disparity, etc.) should experience greater electoral support from the proletariat. In a dialectical turn, Davies reminds us that the importance of the relationship between the unequal distribution of resources and the allocation of status is "not that societies have different measurements and dimensions of social inequality but that these forms of stratification are constantly changing (1970: 9)."



So the much-promised revolutionary upheaval in the West has yet to come. Crompton (1998) reminds us that "it would be difficult to make a strong case to the effect that the working class (or any other class) in the West has been engaged in sustained revolutionary activity since the end of the Second World War (1998: 18)." She may be correct, dependent in part on the definition of 'revolutionary activity' and what features distinguish this from generalized notions of 'class action'. Still, as Fulford (2001) has recently noted:

Through much of the 20th century, capitalism was clearly dying, and its future came down to two questions: Who would put it out of its misery, and when? Generations of university students heard from their professors the news of its imminent death, and the rest of us could read advance obits written by a multitude of authors, from playwrights to left-wing art critics. Whether they were living in the 1930s or the 1970s, they enjoyed describing their own era as 'late capitalism' [National Post, 3/16/01: A15]."



The accepted 'inevitability' of a class-based revolution is a topic which has been much-debated, and within the sociological tradition these debates have most notably taken place between Marx and Weber. As Crompton (1998) writes

... a major point of contrast between the theoretical approaches of Marx and Weber concerns the question of class action concerns the question of class action. Although Marx's writings are famously ambiguous on the point, there can nevertheless be little doubt that he viewed class conflict as the major motor of historical change, and thus some kind of class action to be inevitable (1998: 16).

On the other hand, 'class action' was viewed by Weber as possible, even likely, although not as inescapable a fact as Marx had predicted. Moreover Weber did not view class conflict as the major - or exclusive - force of societal transformation. Crompton notes that "in a similar vein, much recent debate has focused on 'the declining significance of class' (1998: 16)." Among the factors which have contributed to this decline is the massive restructuring of work (especially since the early-mid 1970s), including the steep decline in blue collar industrial manufacturing employment and the accompanying rise in white-collar service and information sector jobs. Thus, the traditional working-class, which in the post World War II period was mainly comprised of manual blue-collar labourers in heavily concentrated geographic areas, was viewed as declining in both numbers and significance by the recession and restructuring of the 1970s. Among the significant events in the 'class action' debate of that time was the publication of Gorz's 1982 article "Farewell to the Working-Class" whose title alone speaks volumes about the passing of working class significance as an agent in historical change. After the 1987 defeat of the British Labour party , Ralph Miliband said:

How is the movement responding to this third election defeat? These ideas are dominating the debate: that the working class has been transformed out of all recognition; that save for a minority steeped in unemployment and deprivation - which we now call the 'underclass' - the bulk of this transformed working class is basking in affluence and it has decisively rejected collectivism and socialism in favour of individualism and the market, competition and popular capitalism (in Alan Johnson, 1997)."



In their 1959 study, which was conducted after a seemingly 'doomed' British Labour Party lost its third British general election of the 1950s, researchers Abrams and Rose (as quoted in Davies, 1970) concluded that

a significant percentage of traditional Labour voters were failing to identify with the [Labour] party because of increased affluence. The more consumer goods they bought the more likely they were to identify with the middle class and move from a party which they saw as the representative of the deprived (1970: 12).



But while Davies claims that subsequent studies have since disproved Abrams and Rose's arguments (6), the question of a correlation between relative working-class affluence and a corresponding shift in political outlook, or class consciousness (understood here as closer integration with the ideals and goals of the bourgeoisie) remains a pivotal one, largely because this relationship has the potential to explain both past political shifts and potentially predict those of the future.



The image of incrementally-increasing affluence and a gradual desegregation of social classes over time remains a persistent question which is continually singled out by the mainstream media and assumes the position of a cardinal rule in society, a part of many Canadians' (and most Western industrial democracies') 'everyday common sense'. Davies contends that while many social groups

achieve a degree of integration by assimilation into the institutions of the centre, many others fail to do so and may either subsist as passive bodies outside centre politics or, under pressure may direct their activities against the centre or against competing groups (1970: 53).



Davies further adds that it may be feasible to examine societies according to their respective standing, both in terms of their overall mobilization and integration as well as the realization, degree and advancement of changes of working-class status. The shorthand for this change in political class consciousness, which may or may not be accompanied by a parallel advancement in social mobility, is embourgeoisement, which is defined as

[a]n explanation of declining working-class support for radical political movements, as the result of increased affluence causing workers to adopt middle-class (bourgeois) values and life-styles ... (1988: 85).



As interpreted by Abercrombie, Hill and Turner (1994), embourgeoisement is the antithesis of the proletarianization thesis, which conversely suggests that members of the middle-classes are exchanging their role in a downward direction and becoming more like the working-class (for example through growing trade-union membership among white collar professionals such as teachers or nurses and increased tendencies toward deskilling (7)).



Michael Mann, who in 1970 conducted an exhaustive survey of both consent and conflict-based theories which attempt to explain social cohesion within liberal democracies, articulated the need to reject Marxist claims of working-class indoctrination by the bourgeoisie - the traditional explanation of proletarian 'false consciousness'. Mann claimed these theories were overstated and stressed "[t]hough there is a fair amount of consensus among the rulers, this does not extend very far down the stratification hierarchy [sic] (1970: 435)." Mann's view generally concurs with that of Gorz (1970) who states that the working class appears to be organized only when viewed from above [my emphasis], while Mann writes:

It is not value-consensus which keeps the working-class compliant, but rather a lack of consensus in the critical area where concrete experiences and vague populism might be translated into radical politics (1970: 436).

Some claim (see, for example, former MP Mike Breaugh's statement, above) that the recent demise of the social democratic NDP (New Democratic Party) is due in large part to an ideological 'drift' on the part of traditional working-class supporters which is centred in the proletariat's somewhat newfound, relative affluence. Proponents of this position will often cite the much-publicized break between the Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) union local in Oshawa and the NDP in the early 1990s (cite). The widespread belief, as expressed by former Oshawa MP Mike Breaugh above, is that unionized manual assembly workers have progressively gained monetary concessions from their employers and subsequently spend these earnings on a multitude of consumer goods (see for example Ehrenreich, 1989) and a more middle-class lifestyle. This glut of unrestrained consumerism, it is claimed, erases the line between the working and middle-classes in the process of embourgeoisement. As defined by Goldthorpe et al. (1968b) those who are proponents of the embourgeoisement postulate assert:

... the thesis that as manual workers and their families achieve relatively high incomes and living standards, they assume a way of life which is more characteristically 'middle class' and become in fact progressively assimilated into class-class society. This thesis of embourgeoisement . . . has in most versions embodied the claim that affluence brings about a change in the political orientations and party loyalties of the more prosperous sections of the working-class. Indeed, the simple theory of the economic determination of politics which is implied by this thesis was regularly invoked throughout the decade of the 1950s to explain what then seemed to be the secular decline of the Labour Party as a political force. The examination of the political behaviour of a group of affluent workers is, then, in itself one way of testing the embourgeoisement thesis (Goldthorpe, 1968b: 1-2).



Gordon Marshall (1990) cites Zweig's 1959 claims (in The Worker in an Affluent Society) which describes the postwar British working-class in the midst of the most extended economic boom in the approximately 160-year history of industrial capitalism (Meiksins Wood, 1999) as follows:

...large sections of the working class were 'on the move towards new middle class values and middle class existence'..the 'new mode of life' and 'new ethos' of the affluent manual workers embraced a long list of attitudinal and behaviourial changes, including 'a considerable rise in security mindedness'; a 'revolution of rising expectations' and 'steep rise in acquisitive instincts'; growth of 'family-mindedness and home-centredness'; 'greater individualisation'; the decline of class divisions, class feelings and the ethos of class solidarity; and a new 'quest for respectability' (Marshall, 1990:102).



Rubin (1976) notes that while the concept of embourgeoisement has remained a persistent ideology among American social scientists, it is refuted by a fact that spans two centuries: "the sons of working-class fathers generally became the fathers of working-class sons (Rubin, 1976: 217)." A Statistics Canada paper published in 1996 entitled The Intergenerational Income Mobility of Canadian Men confirms that this fact has remained a constant in Canada, even today. The research study found:

..there is considerable intergenerational income mobility in Canada among middle income earners, but that the inheritance of economic status is significant at both the very top and very bottom of the income distribution. About one-third of those in the bottom quartile were raised by fathers who occupied the same position in the income distribution. In fact, the income advantage of someone who had a father in the top decile over someone who had a father in the bottom decile is in the order of 40%. (8)



The conventional stereotypes of the U.S. middle class illustrates the myth of the affluent middle class - or at least underscores that the majority belief falls outside of reality. As Rogers and Teixeira write:

... more than three quarters of American adults lack four-year college degrees ... more than seven-tenths do not hold professional or managerial jobs ... the median income of American households is actually quite modest (about $39,000 [U.S. dollars] in 1998) (Rogers and Teixeira (Atlantic Monthly, June 2000: 66-75).



Rogers and Teixeira's report also reveals these stark facts which underscore the existence of a stratified class society within the United States - and it is worth noting that their depiction diverges greatly from the accepted mythology of an expanding middle-class:

Proceeding with the realization that the Canadian context is a close reflection of Rogers and Teixeira's depiction above, I propose to use Goldthrope's classic Luton study as the starting point in a study of Oshawa autoworkers' class consciousness.



Research Study Outline

The main question posed by my study is whether Oshawa's blue-collar, manual, auto assembly workers, who are among the most densely unionized and perhaps best compensated (9) industrial workers in the country, are moving closer to social integration with those who have ideological domination - namely the bourgeoisie.



In this study I propose to test the embourgeoisement thesis by examining the highly concentrated workforce of auto assemblers and tradespeople at the largest auto manufacturing and assembly plant in Canada, located at General Motors of Canada (GMC), Oshawa Canada. It is here that 11,500 unionized GMC autoworkers, members of the Canadian Auto Workers union (CAW) Local 222, exemplify a "high" union culture (Yates, 1998).



Using a written questionnaire (see Appendix) I will survey GM Oshawa autoworkers (N=100) for evidence of "normative convergence" or embourgeoisement versus indicators of a differentiated, oppositional working-class consciousness . The chief questions here are whether expressions of working-class consciousness can be found in terms of generalized convictions that a class system exists, workers' own class self-identification and subjective position within an objective class schema and convictions which indicate a belief in their class' collective interests (in direct opposition to hegemonic class interests).



However, I will operate under the assumption that Goldthorpe's conclusion of a "normative convergence between certain routine nonmanual and 'affluent' manual groups" is, in fact, not an accurate assessment of either the community under study here, nor that of Luton's autoworkers in the mid-1960s. Of course I will only be able to make authoritative claims for the former and not the latter. Rather I propose to examine embourgeoisement in terms related to, but counter to many of those posed by Goldthorpe, Lockwood et al. (1968-69).



Using an historical materialist framework, I will apply Mann's (1974) indicators of working-class consciousness in a test for workers' attitudes and views on a number of key issues, outlined as follows:

1. autoworkers' support for political parties which profess to be counter-capital in outlook;

2. autoworkers' conception of an objective class schema;

3. autoworkers' images of their subjective position within that stated schema and their desired class position relative to their currently stated class position

4. autoworkers' views of the level of class conflict within Canadian society;

5. autoworkers' positions on a number of issues related to the profit motive and the basic tenets of capital accumulation - both within society as a whole and their own accumulative tendencies.

I will also probe for clear expressions which are indicative of a specific working-class collective consciousness and 'test' these through a series of questions examining attitudes on a range of political issues. I will then compare the views of these unionized Oshawa autoworkers to a general Ontario population sample of similar measures conducted for the most recent OISE/UT survey (10) (Livingstone et al. 1999). My goal is to contrast these two measures in order to prove my working hypothesis that while autoworkers may well exhibit some signs of 'normative convergence' in their role as consumers, Oshawa autoworkers display a distinct working-class consciousness which is not to be found within the population-at-large. *convergence piece * For example, I will probe workers' sentiments with regard to levels of strike support, which is a typical question in this genre. But this particular workforce has repeatedly indicated its collective willingness to conduct strikes in order to obtain favourable economic compensation, benefits and working conditions via their collective agreement (eg. in 1984 Local 222 was on strike for 13 days, in 1987/1990/1993/21 days; in 1996/ xx days in 1999). Moreover workers in Oshawa have avoided greater job loss and retained seniority rights through an historic plant occupation in 1996 - the first at General Motors Oshawa since the historic fight for union recognition in 1937.



In order to obtain more detailed information which cannot be determined via a survey questionnaire (11), I will also conduct a series of follow-up, in-depth oral history interviews, looking for expressions of ideological and contra capital consciousness, as indicated by responses to probes on a number of issues including the daily conditions of oppression and exploitation within the context of typically antagonistic in-plant relations between workers and managers. These observations will be validated in part through my own seven years' experience labouring as a manual assembler at this auto plant, and should help to further ground this study's conclusions.



The location of the research site is based on a number of factors including the fact that Oshawa has historically been dominated by General Motors, which - as noted by MacKinnon, who replicated Goldthorpe's project in Oshawa in 1976 - is an employer "noted for its high industrial wages and a comprehensive array of benefit packages (MacKinnon, 1980: 7)." Clearly these are not workers who form a 'reserve army of labour' but rather are at the core of the proletariat, with the ability to secure "regular employment and their households have sufficient wage income to 'live decently' (12) (Seccombe and Livingstone: 1996: 142)." If embourgeoisement is to be found within the terms outlined here, it surely must exist in this relatively advantaged community.



Additionally my longstanding association with the members and executive of the Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) union, Local 222, as well as my link to members of the local union Education Committee is a key factor. While MacKinnon tested the embourgeoisement thesis during a time of significant growth, I will be testing for embourgeoisement during a period of immense change; the working-population of GM was 25,000 in 1985 and dropped substantially to 11,500 employees in 2000, the year of data collection.



I hope to determine whether this highly-unionized workforce has transformed, or is in the process of transforming, its working-class culture, lifestyle patterns and political consciousness from the classic alienated worker to one of "normative convergence" or integration. I will attempt to ascertain whether this social group's collective consciousness is converging with that of the more affluent, more socially integrated, dominant middle-class. In more measured terms I am attempting to discover:

1. Whether these autoworkers have embraced the basic tenets of the capital accumulation model and thus been incorporated within capitalism, rather than estranged from it; or conversely, do these autoworkers constitute an alienated workforce, apart from the mainstream of society, as viewed through the lens of neo-Marxism?

2. What expressions of support, if any, exist in favour of a solidaristic class consciousness among Oshawa autoworkers; either through their own collective actions, expressions of class unity via support for their trade union's political (rather than economic) agenda, expressed support for state programs or policies which support this strata of society or their political party preferences; and

3. If they indeed exist, do these expressions of support for a solidaristic class consciousness translate into a cohesive vision of an alternative conception of society? If so, of what elements is this vision constructed?

At face value, and in the context of rising inequality, increased exploitation and the counter-dichotomic push of postmodernity, the questions posed in this thesis seem to belong to another time. Perhaps this question seems to be a throwback to the 'golden' post World War II period, which witnessed rising incomes and living standards and growing consumer demand.



A replication of the postwar embourgeoisement studies may appear irrelevant in the present-day restructured, 'post-industrial' era. For the most part wages have declined during the past two decades (13) and today's landscape includes manufacturing industries which have downsized to a point once unimaginable (most notably the steel and auto industries, once the most militant and male of bastions), women have entered the workforce in huge numbers, youth employment has grown dramatically, part-time work is increasingly becoming the norm, service industry jobs have eclipsed manufacturing sector occupations and information technology jobs threaten to outstrip all occupational sectors combined. Additionally, both self-employment and entrepreneurship have mushroomed and are predicted to eventually exceed all vocational categories (Gibson-Graham: 46; Rogers and Teixeira (Atlantic Monthly, June 2000: 66-75).



In any case Oshawa's comparatively well-heeled working-class (a fair statement given the average Ontario wage *cite) fully fits the description of the prototypical affluent worker of Goldthorpe's day, as will be shown in a later chapter. Of importance here is the fact that Oshawa's comparable stability, was won through a series of popular historic struggles, such as the fight to join the United Auto Workers (UAW) union in 1937. (14)



Conclusion

At the heart of this essay is the contention that class division exists as a social force in Canadian society, yet we see an unfailing denial of class existence in our everyday lives. Furthermore, there is a remarkable amount of ideological work, conducted on a daily basis, which attempts to convince Canadians that we do not live in a society stratified by class, race, gender or ethnicity. Rogers and Teixeira note that while this strata of American workers constitutes the majority (about 55 per cent) of the adult population both, they are "invisible to the journalists and commentators who define our national discourse (2000: 69). The same is largely true in the Canadian context, with working-class Canadians representing the numeric majority but the much-neglected minority.



In a cautionary note, we should also be wary of committing the 'crime' of oversimplified structuralism. Burawoy (1998) wrote that it was in the immediate postwar period that "[m]obility studies became the rage, taking as given the existing structure of empty places through which people moved. Here lay the subjectivist bias - mobility as adaptation to a fixed, agreed-upon order (Burawoy in Clawson, 1998: 136)." I hope to avoid this mistake.



In "Some Problems Concerning Revolutionary Consciousness" Wolpe decries "much of the empirical analysis of the conditions and manner in which the subjective perceptions of the relevant groups develop" as "ad hoc and unsystematic" and "treats revolutionary consciousness as the unproblematical outcome of certain situations and actions (1970: 251)." With Wolpe's warning in mind, I hope to make a small contribution toward remedying this situation.



Last revision: March 20, 2001 @ 3:20 p.m.



1. 'Class action' refers to conscious, class-based social group activity which is counter-hegemonic in character.

2. The theme of deserved economic opportunity is best illustrated in, for example, the Horatio Alger stories, which I discuss in a later chapter.

3. Marx and Engels described the shift in orientation as "The bourgeoisie, wherever it has got the upper hand, has put an end to all feudal, patriarchal, idyllic relations. It has pitilessly torn asunder the motley feudal ties that bound man to his "natural superiors", and has left no other nexus between man and man than naked self-interest, than callous "cash payment." It has drowned out the most heavenly ecstasies of religious fervor, of chivalrous enthusiasm, of philistine sentimentalism, in the icy water of egotistical calculation (Marx and Engels, 1848)

4. A wealth of literature, particularly during 1950-1980, exemplifies this period during the discovery of the 'New Middle-Class'. See for example: C. Wright Mills (1951), Bell (1960), Marcuse (1964), Finnigan and Gonick (1972), Fussell (1983), among others.

5. The Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary (1990) defines modus vivendi as "a feasible arrangement or practical compromise."

6. As did the return of Labour to power in the 1964 British election.

7. See Braverman (1974).

8. Miles and Heisz, 1996. Statistics Canada website www.statcan.ca.

9. For example see "The sweet contract that has many workers reeling: Ford deal so good even Chretien called to congratulate union," Toronto Star, Sept. 23, 1999. A1.

10. The complete title is Public Attitudes towards Education in Ontario, 1998: The Twelfth OISE/UT Survey.

11. See Fantasia (1988: 6) for a critique of survey research (as "static") in uncovering important aspects of class consciousness.

12. Seccombe and Livingstone (1996: 142) note that 'living decently' is "a cultural construct, which the respectable members of a working-class community can reasonably expect to attain."

13. According to Yalnizyan (1998) "men's earnings are, on average, 5% lower in real purchasing power today than they were in 1980. A significant part of that change has occurred in the five years between 1990 and 1995. Working women actually earned more money [over this period] but did it by working longer hours than in the past. ... While all age groups saw some loss in earnings between 1990 and 1995, the youngest group - aged 15 to 24 - experienced a 20% drop (1998: 19-20)." Moreover, Yalnizyan reports that "[c]hanges in both hours of work and rates of pay have resulted in a lot more jobs at the low end of the spectrum. In the years following the recession of 1982, the labour market restructured dramatically. Most of the new job growth until 1986 was in the two worst-paying wage levels (1998: 22)."

14. The Oshawa strike of 1937 enjoyed the support of the entire city, including the mayor and local businesses. Ontario Premier Hepburn was so opposed to the Oshawa strikers, that he asked for resignations from two cabinet ministers who expressed support for the workers. One of these ministers, David Croll (later Senator Croll), wrote "My place is marching with the workers rather than riding with General Motors. (Abella, 1975:113)."