Author: Steven Tufts

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

  • 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 »

  • 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 »