Sault Ste. Marie, Labour and the Social Economy: A Case Study. David Thompson B.A., M.B.A. (candidate) June 2010. Background. Sault Ste. Marie & District Labour Council “Voice of Organized Labour” To celebrate the contribution of organized labour. Research Questions.
David Thompson B.A., M.B.A. (candidate)
What is the nature and extent of trade unions’ contribution to the social economy in Sault Ste. Marie?
Were these efforts expended to meet community needs, or have they been instrumental in changing the lives of trade unionists and transforming the community?
Did the movement leaders have a vision for transformation, or were they simply responding to trade union members’ directions?
Loxley (2007); Kumar (2008); Quarter, Mook, and Armstrong (2009); Cranford & Ladd (2003)
Democratic decision-making & advocacy
Building social assets
Building community capacity
Creation of equity and debt capital for community investment
Opened in 1963
Founded by Locals 2251, 4509, and 5595.
Convinced 5,000 members to construct the Centre - raising $675,000
Extended services to the greater community
Northern Credit Union Groundbreaking
Two credit unions created by labour
Model brought from Quebec in the 1950s
Expanded to serve Northern Ontario
Largest worker buyout in North America
7,500 workers forfeited wages and security to maintain their future
“…where there’s a need, the union comes forth and makes sure that need is fulfilled…I think that as long as there is a union, as long as we survive, we will ensure that we meet the needs that we see out there, whether it is a Hospice, Group Health Center, or Community Credit Union” (Pettalia, 2009)
“There is just so much more that needs to be accomplished, and I, I really want to be a part of making this community a better place, whether it’s through the Group Health Centre or just by being a citizen that’s there, ready to
volunteer when needed. My life took a turn somewhere, and it’s because of my experience with the Steelworkers and my education along the way” (Tom Bonnell, 2009).