Textually Mediated Labour Activism: An Examination of the Ladies Auxiliary of the Canadian Mine Mill & Smelter Workers Union, 1940s-1960s
KeywordsCanadian Mining Union Auxiliaries
Historical Institutional Ethnography
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AbstractThis paper examines the activism of the Ladies Auxiliary of the Mine Mill and Smelter Workers Union – Canada (MMSW) in the 1940s and 1950s. Drawing on Institutional Ethnography (IE), this paper examines the work of individual MMSW Auxiliary locals across Canada and the ways in which localized political action was coordinated through texts. The paper focuses on how Ladies Auxiliary locals activated two kinds of texts, the MMSW Ladies Auxiliary (LA) Constitution and the district and national Auxiliary newsletters, and examines how these texts coordinated Ladies Auxiliary members’ union work. The paper reveals the political organizing efforts of the LA women within their own locals, the MMSW union, and in broader political movements. In doing so, this paper challenges the prevailing notion that Auxiliaries merely served their male union counterparts in times of labour disputes.