CDL Assistant Professor of Labor Studies Jason Russell Publishes Book about Union Local with Athabasca University Press

By Helen Edelman, manager, Exchange

February 22, 2012

Jason Russell“Our Union: UAW/CAW Local 27 from 1950 to 1990,” by CDL Assistant Professor of Labor Studies Jason Russell, at left, has been published by Athabasca University Press.

Russell coordinates the undergraduate and graduate labor studies program at SUNY Empire State College. His research focuses on work and organized labor in the U.S. and Canada post WWII. Most of the classes Russell teaches are online. He received his doctorate in history at York University, his master's degree in labor and policy studies at SUNY Empire State College and his bachelor's degree in history from the University of Western Ontario.

About the Book

The postwar period witnessed dramatic changes in the lives of working-class families. Wages rose, working hours were reduced, women and members of immigrant communities entered the labor market in growing numbers and pension plans and state social security measures offered greater protection against unemployment, illness and old age. Existing studies of unions in the postwar period have focused above all on national and international organizations, on the "postwar settlement," including the impact of Fordism, and on the chiefly economic issues surrounding collective bargaining. Relatively scant attention has been paid to the role of the union local in daily working-class experience.

In “Our Union,” Russell argues that the union local, as an institution of working-class organization, was a key agent for the Canadian working class as it sought to create a new place for itself in the decades following World War II. Using UAW/CAW Local 27, a composite union in London, Ontario, as a case study, he offers a ground-level look at union membership, including some of the social and political agendas that informed union activities. Drawing on interviews with former members of UAW/CAW Local 27 as well as on archival sources, Russell offers a narrative intended to speak not only to labor historians but to union members themselves.

To order the book (outside of Canada), write The University of Washington Press c/o Hopkins Fulfillment Services, P.O. Box 50370, Baltimore, Md. 21211-4370; call 410-516-6956 or 800-537-5487; or email hfscustserv@press.jhu.edu.