In Pursuit of Justice
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So Far, So Good - The first 50 years of the Christian Labour Association of Canada, 1952-2002
Written by Ed Grootenboer
In 1952, when tens of thousands of Dutch immigrants were settling into a new ways of life in Canada, they met a labour relations scene that was chaotic and very undemocratic. Only a few years before, during the Nazi-occupation of the Netherlands, they had resisted successfully the involuntary membership drives of Nazi-ideology driven organizations.
Now, in the country of their liberators they faced ideology driven unions with compulsory membership at numerous places of employment. In addition, strikes, lockouts, violence, and corruption were all too common, a natural consequence of the dog-eat-dog mindset of those unions and employers who had little respect for the dignity and wishes of workers or tolerance for different points of view.
Many Reformed Christian immigrants again refused to be pushed into involuntary memberships and organized small groups – locals – to offer a radical alternative and a better way for labour relations in Canada. They formed the Christian Labour Association of Canada (CLAC), a trade union founded on biblical social principles.
In Pursuit of Justice tells the story of the rise of the CLAC, its intense struggles for recognition in and beyond the courtrooms, and internal debate over how best to put Christian principles into practice. Dominating its entire 50-year history, the CLAC has endured intense opposition from a monopoly-minded trade union establishment, bent on crushing this alternative voice for workers – even today.
Hardcover, 178 pages, Illustrated, with notes.
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