Author Archives: nsmith241@gmail.com

Where to Begin

I was at Brock University last week to begin a course in global labour history for the Department of Labour Studies. The first class was about introductions, about explaining the course topic, and outlining the work students will be doing. But there was also time to offer a taste of a historical perspective on the study of labour and work.

A screenshot of the course description, from the website of the Department of Labour Studies, https://brocku.ca/webcal/2017/undergrad/labr.html#LABR_2P93 (accessed 13 January 2018)

 

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The News About Wages

CBC News broke the story broke this week that workers at the Division Street Tim Horton’s location in Cobourg were being denied their paid breaks and various benefits as a result of the increased minimum wage in Ontario.  Other stories have emerged about employer efforts to mute the effects of higher minimum wages by effectively reducing their labour costs, including this Twitter thread by @AndrayDomise.  (See his news story here.)  A piece posted today by CBC News does a good job of summing-up the stories that have so far been confirmed by journalists in Ontario.

 

The reactions I have seen to this news on social media has focused on employer greed.  In the statement Premier Wynn issued about the story, the focus is employer bullying. Some commentators have stated that something like this was bound to happen, given the business rationale for keeping costs down and the challenge of managing such an unusually large wage hike. But another common theme has been that the story reveals the need for unions. This tweet by Bruce Anderson is an example.

 

Screenshot taken on 5 January 2018.

 

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NYE Moon

This New Year’s visit to family in the Haliburton area was brilliantly wintery: unusually cold, two feet of powdery snow, windless, and sunny. Great conditions for enjoying the outside, and for appreciating the wood stove.

New Year’s Eve day 2017, in the Haliburton area. (Author’s photo)

The moon on New Year’s Eve was spectacular. It was big and bright. With all the light reflected on the snow there was enough light for a walk in the woods.  It was also approaching -30C – so more of a quick look into the woods!

 

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