The Eaton Drive: The Campaign to Organize Canada's Largest Department Store 1948 to 1952

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Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 2010 - Business & Economics - 242 pages

“Sufrin has written this book with an eye to assisting retail workers who wish to organize in the future. She takes the campaign step-by-step and does not hesitate to point out mistakes she feels the union leaders made. In assessing why enough Eaton's workers did not vote for the union to make it a reality, she demonstrates changes in Ontario's labor laws today that would have helped theunion's cause.” London Free Press, July 3, 1982. “The Eaton Drive is an epic story, recorded with compassion by Eileen Taliman Sufrin, who headed the drive. But it was an extraordinary community effort which involved not only people like Lynn Williams, who has gone on to become International Secretary of the United Steelworkers of America, but George Luscombe, Hugh Webster, Olive (Richardson) Chester, Marty Levinson, and scores who have made their name in many walks of Ontario life. Not only were hundreds of trade union locals involved, but literally thousands of individuals who carried the mundane load of leaflet distribution at all hours through all kinds of weather for four years.“For the general reader, this volume is therefore a readable slice of the social, as well as the trade union, history of the day. But for trade unionists, and working people in general, it is both an inspiration and an organizational handbook, depicting both the nature and the proportions of the challenge facing them.” Toronto Star, June 20, 1982

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About the author (2010)

Eileen Taliman Sufrin became active in socialist politics in the '30s. Her career in the trade union movement began in 1940. She helped to organize bank clerks, munition plant workers, office staff in steel mills, and led the long, spectacular, but unsuccessful, drive to unionize Eaton employees in Toronto. This is her memoir of that extraordinary chapter in retail unionism and Canadian labour history. In October 1979 she was one of seven women awarded the Governor-General's medal, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the “Persons Case.”

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