Author: Steven Tufts

Steven Tufts is an Associate Professor in Geography at York University.

  • COVID-19 and ‘Actually Existing’ Unions

    The shut-down of non-essential work in response to COVID-19 has decimated labour markets. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 20.5 million more workers lost their jobs in April, as official unemployment skyrocketed to 14.7%. It is the largest single-month increase in unemployment since the data series started in 1948. In Canada, the news … Keep reading »

  • Living Wages for Airport Workers?

    The 2018 increase in Ontario’s hourly minimum wage to $14 was perhaps the most substantial victory for low-wage workers in decades, including workers at Pearson International Airport. In a recent survey, it was found that 1 in 5 of the airport’s 50,000 workers earns minimum wage. The Fight for $15 and Fairness continues the struggle, … Keep reading »

  • Pension Plans Should Not Invest in Companies That Harm Working People

    Of all the gains unions have made for workers, the ability to retire with dignity and a pension is perhaps the most valued. Last year employers and employees in Canada contributed over $70-billion to registered pension plans (RPP). It is big money. Still, just over a third of workers are covered by RPPs as most … Keep reading »

  • Hotels vs Housing? Platforms, Rent and Resistance in Toronto

    Whether it is called the collaborative, platform, crowd-sourcing, or ‘sharing’ economy, the rise of peer-to-peer exchanges raises important questions for workers and unions. Watch video »

  • Fragmentation in Toronto’s Hotel Sector

    The intensity of the current conflict between UNITE HERE and its trusteeship of Local 75 and Unifor’s formation of a new local of hospitality workers (condemned by most of the labour movement as a raid) makes critical self-reflection and discussion especially difficult. In this essay, Steven Tufts attempts to put this clash into perspective and offers ways forward that point to a unity beyond the current polarizing divisions in the sector. Keep reading »

  • Unions and the Gig-Economy: The Case of AirBnB

    The so-called gig-economy is celebrated, maligned, fetishized, and qualified by analysts. Whether it is called the collaborative, platform, crowd-sourcing, or sharing-economy, the rise of peer-to-peer exchanges does raise important questions for workers. Do emerging ‘sharing-economy’ platforms such as Uber and Airbnb mark a significant shift in production and distribution systems? Are they emancipatory or exploitive? … Keep reading »

  • Job Action at Toronto Pearson Airport Shows Why Little Strikes Matter

    As Labour Day approaches, we are often reminded of the large strikes that defined Canada’s labour movement. The 30,000 workers in the 1919 Winnipeg General Strike or 11,000 autoworkers in the Windsor Ford strike of 1945 that established formal industrial relations in Canada. But little strikes also matter. Teamsters Local 419 represents 700 workers employed … Keep reading »

  • The Particular Politics of Casino Development in Toronto

    “What hypocrisy to forcibly close petty gambling houses, when our capitalist society cannot do without an immense gambling house, where millions after millions are lost and won, for its very centre!” Friedrich Engels, “Social Classes – Necessary and Superfluous,” The Labour Standard, No. 14, August 1881. On November 5, 2012 the Executive Committee of Toronto’s … Keep reading »

  • Can Labour Precipitate a ‘Useful Crisis’ at Air Canada?

    Shortly after being appointed Ontario’s Minister of Training and Education by Mike Harris in the mid 1990s, John Snobelen stated that it was necessary to create a ‘useful crisis’ in education to allow for neoliberal reforms. A number of ‘useful’ crises have been created in Canada over the last three decades by governments insistent upon … Keep reading »

  • Renewing Working Class Politics, Rebuilding Canadian Labour

    Toronto — 23 March 2012. View on Mark P. Thomas and Steve Tufts, York University: “Uneven Worker Power and the Populism-Austerity-Labour Nexus” Herman Rosenfeld teaches Labour Studies at McMaster University: “CAT Closure: What have we lost? What can we learn?” Sam Gindin is the Packer Chair in Social Justice at York University: “Beyond Austerity: … Watch video »

  • Greening Work in an Age of Uncertainty

    Is There Something Worse than Climate Change Denial? The theme for the 17th Conference of the Parties (COP) in Durban was “Working Together: Saving Tomorrow Today.” Canada’s conservative government, backed by the U.S., is, however, clearly not interested in working with others on addressing global warming. Prior to the conference, Canada’s Environment Minister, Peter Kent, setting … Keep reading »

  • Worker Power in an Age of Uneven Austerity

    Any time commentators speak of a new ‘age,’ powerful assumptions quickly become entrenched in our thinking. An ‘age of austerity’ now encompasses many western economies as governments launch fierce campaigns against workers to lower public sector wages. At the same time, capital has taken a ‘wait and see’ attitude resulting in an unprecedented hoarding of … Keep reading »