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Canada's Apartheid, by John Stackhouse
Stories
Introduction
  Nov. 3

Welcome to Harlem on the Prairies
  Nov. 3 (Saskatoon, SK)

Crystal's choice: The best of both worlds
  Nov. 5 (Mississauga, ON)

How the Mi'kmaq profit from fear
  Nov. 6 (Cape Breton, NS)

The healing power of hockey
  Nov. 7 (The Pas, MB)

Norma Rae of the Okanagan
  Nov. 8 (Westbank, BC)

Comic genius or 'niggers in red face'?
  Nov. 9 (Regina, SK)

Praying for a miracle
  Nov. 10 (Lac Ste. Anne, AB)

To have and to have not
  Nov. 12 (Moosonee, ON)

Trouble in paradise
  Nov. 19 (Tofino, BC)

A cut of the action
  Nov. 26 (Wabigoon, ON)

The young and the restless
  Dec. 3 (Ashern, MB)

The wireless warrior's digital dream
  Dec. 10 (Ottawa,ON)

'Everyone thought we were stupid'
  Dec. 14 (Salluit, QC)

First step: End the segregation
  Dec. 15 (Last in the series)

 

Norma Rae of the Okanagan

Story by John Stackhouse. Photos by John Lehmann.
The Globe and Mail, November 8, 2001

Part 4 of 8: Playing tough


West Bank locator If the union wanted to play tough, so could the chief. He said that he had fired only two people -- both with good reason -- but wished he had gone further.

The band's tax office employed five people when a part-timer would do, he claimed. In fact, the whole operation could be farmed out, freeing up more money for the band's school. Would the union oppose that? he asked.

And then he told the organizers to put their money where their mouth of social justice was. "I said, 'You want a deal? Why don't you put $15- or $20-million of your pension fund into development on the reserve? Then I'll guarantee you union jobs."

Derrickson knew that the union would not put up the money. There was nothing on the reserve that a pension fund could invest in anyway. But he wanted everyone in the room to know that no matter how far the union got at Westbank, he would still portray labour as "us and them," native versus white.

"I have yet to see one thing the unions can do for Westbank First Nation," he says.

In front of the chief, the union did not budge, but realized it was on new ground -- uncharted ground, really, for much of the labour movement.
THIS STORY AT A GLANCE (Parts 1 to 8 plus a related film review):


Photo Essay
Westbank and the union


1. Inviting big labour
'Every other Canadian citizen is guaranteed the right to belong to a union'

2. Westbank's emerging class system
Rapid development transforms the secluded reserve to an affluent suburb

3. 'It was a very turbulent time to be an employee'
The struggle for solidarity on the reserve

4. Playing tough
Put your money where your mouth is, chief tells union reps

5. Colonial parallels
'Just another form of non-native people trying to shape their destiny'

6. 'We are the cash cow'
Leaseholders lobby for a greater voice in reserve affairs
7. 'Sometimes they're a vehicle' for change
Union successes in one workplace

8. Election fever and the union
'All of the employees are afraid of losing their jobs at the next election'

Related story: Globe review of the 1979 film Norma Rae - A primer on the original Norma Rae. Contains relaed Web links.


 
 

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interactives

photo essays
Two worlds - photo essay


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