Since the turn of the twenty-first century, Canadian unions have scored a number of important Supreme Court victories, securing constitutional rights to picket, bargain collectively, and strike. But how did the labour movement, historically hostile to judicial intervention in labour relations, come to embrace legal activism as a first line of defense as opposed to a last resort? Unions in Court documents the evolution of the Canadian labour movement’s engagement with the Charter, demonstrating how and why labour has adopted a controversial, Charter-based legal strategy to challenge and change legislation that restricts union rights. This book’s in-depth examination of constitutional labour rights will have critical implications for labour movements as well as activists in other fields.
Introduction: Law, Workers, and Courts
1 Labour Rights in the Pre-Charter Era
2 Disorganized Labour and the Charter of Rights
3 Canadian Labour and the First Era of Charter Challenges
4 A Legal Response to Neoliberalism
5 The Possibilities and Limitations of Constitutional Labour Rights
6 A New Era of Constitutional Labour Rights
Conclusion: Which Way Forward?
Notes; References; Index
"Larry Savage and Charles Smith in Unions in Court: Organized Labour and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms provide a lively and illuminating account of the evolution of Canadian labour law[…]"
Unions in Court is a key account of a vital piece of Canadian history and is a must-read for anyone involved in labour law. It should find its way into public, academic, courthouse, and government libraries, and, of course, the collection of any private firm with a labour department.
~Ken Fox, Reference Librarian, Law Society of Saskatchewan Library, Canadian Law Library Review