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Friday, January 24, 2014
Thesis in Alberta legal/labour history: 1986 Gainers' Strike
"Class Struggle and Solidarity in Neo-Liberal Times: The 1986 Gainers Strike," an M.A. thesis by Andrea Samoil (Trent University, advisor Bryan Palmer) is now available through the ProQuest Theses & Dissertations database.
The lengthy and raucous 1986 Gainers meatpacking plant strike in Edmonton, Alberta was one of the most important events in recent Alberta labour history. In the midst of the economic crisis of the 1980s and the rise of neo-liberal ideas, the strike marked a backlash by both the labour movement and ordinary citizens against attacks on workers and unions. Characterized by widely covered picket line violence, repressive police and court actions, and government unresponsiveness, the strike generated massive solidarity within and beyond the labour movement. This solidarity originated in a rejection of the neo-liberal new reality of Alberta typified by high unemployment, anti-union laws and practices, and lack of government welfare support, and it generated a provincial change the law campaign, national boycott, and rising class consciousness. The working class mobilization during the Gainers strike was a watershed for the Alberta labour movement.