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Although an international union, MMSW had several very large Canadian locals in the 1940s and 1950s in Ontario, British Columbia, and Quebec.
The demographic profile of the Auxiliary membership matched the MMSW membership: both were dominated by recent immigrants to Canada from Scandinavian and Eastern European countries and Francophones from Quebec.
In this section, we consider the work of the MMSW LA as "activating" texts and anchoring them in local contexts, as prescribed by the study's methodology (Smith, 2005, p.
The institutional text mandating Auxiliary work in Canada is the LA Constitution, adopted in 1955 at the same time the Canadian MMSW established its autonomy from the International Union of Mine Mill and Smelter Workers (IUMMSW) and shortly thereafter was merged with the MMSW (Canada) Constitution (Ladies' Auxiliaries of the National Union of Mine Mill and Smelter Workers of Canada, 1955).
The six mandates listed in the Canadian LA Constitution were to: 1) aid in the aims and purposes of the MMSW in Canada; 2) educate and train the women in the labour movement; 3) teach them the correct channels in which to spend the union earned dollars, 4) assist their local unions in times of need and labour disputes; 5) support the Union in all its legislative efforts; 6) provide educational and cultural activities for our children (Ladies' Auxiliaries of the National Union of Mine Mill and Smelter Workers of Canada, 1955).
Aiding in the aims and purposes of the MMSW in Canada
Auxiliaries funded their own delegates to MMSW conventions where they could initiate, speak to, and vote on resolutions, including the Constitution itself.
One of the aims and purposes of the Canadian MMSW was to engage in concerted political actions that extended beyond its membership to all wage earners.
MMSW Auxiliary members walked the picket and demonstration lines, sometimes along side the men, sometimes on their own.
In the middle of Lukin's tenure with MMSW, the union engaged in a bitter thirteen-week strike that was pivotal in the union's trajectory.
In 1949, as Cold War hysteria was cresting, left-led unions like MMSW were expelled from labour congresses in Canada and the United States.
In 2010, at the age of 94 and some 40 years after the pivotal MMSW strike, Lukin walked in support of USWA Local 6500 workers striking against the same mining giant.
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