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They had this sympathetic, even ideological--without party lines--understanding of where they fit." (62) This class consciousness--in addition to the material gains that communist-led unions obtained for them--welded Niagara workers' loyalty to the UE, UTWA (later CTC), and Mine-Mill, even after these communist-led unions were expelled from Canada's main labour federations.
When Local 174 of the UTWA was involved in a bitter struggle to retain its position as the bargaining agent for workers at the Plymouth Cordage Company--which had had one of the earliest and most extensive corporate welfare plans in Niagara--it pointed out that the company's noncontributory pension plan could be revoked at any time.
In battling the company union at the Plymouth Cordage Company of Welland, for example, the UTWA sent French Canadian workers a French-language letter signed by the presidents of UTWA locals in Quebec, urging them to reject the company union.
On paper, both the UTWA and the UE promoted gender equality in the post-World War II decade.
Beckett, district organizer, 7 April 1949, Local 174, UTWA (AFL), Parent-Rowley fonds, vol.
They maintained electronic surveillance of the union hall and the hotel room of UTWA organizer Harry Miles and provided Elsas with written reports on the twists and turns of strike strategy.
In 1946-47, when the AFL-affiliated UTWA attempted to draw workers of the Plymouth Cordage Company of Welland into its ranks, and again in 1949, when the Plymouth Cordage Employees Association was trying to defeat Local 174 of the UTWA, the CFL was working behind the scenes on behalf of the ostensibly independent Employees Association, signing up workers and publishing a plant newsletter in support of a CDU.
The Plymouth Cordage Company, the first to introduce an extensive corporate welfare program in Niagara, succeeded in keeping the UTWA out of its plant for all but one year until 1957.
Workers' support for the UTWA as their bargaining agent in 1948-49 at Plymouth Cordage suggests that despite the company's elaborate welfare policies, many workers were not convinced that the employer was committed to serving their interests.
Most importantly, when the contract with the UTWA ended, the company laid off about 100 younger workers, some of whom were union activists.
By the time Madeleine and Kent were organizing in Ontario in the 1950s and 1960s, they had been ousted from the UTWA (by corrupt American leaders aided by Canadian opponents) and the dissident duo formed their own Canadian union, the CTCU.
After being unjustly thrown out of the UTWA, she stayed in Montreal, trying to regain some UTWA locals for the new union, the CTCU.
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