CM Archive
CM Archive Book Review line

Edited by Linda Briskin and Lynda Yanz.

Toronto, Women's Press, c1983.
421pp, paper, $12.95.
ISBN 0-88961-079-7.

Grades 11 and up.
Reviewed by Brenda Watson.

Volume 12 Number 2
1984 March

Union Sisters is a collection of thirty articles written primarily by feminists and union activists. It is "a first attempt to record and analyse the experiences of women in unions in Canada." The articles are divided into six sections: "Background," "Union Issues," "The Challenge of the Unorganized," "Inside Unions," "The Power of Alliances," and "Resources."

"Background" supplies a historical and statistical record of the involvement of women in the Canadian labour force. The other sections look at such issues as affirmative action programs, micro-technology in the workplace, part-time work, sexual harassment at work, lesbian and gay workers, immigrant women workers, domestic workers, freelance cultural workers, universal daycare, women and wives supporting union members. "Resources" contains three bibliographies: the first a cineography of visual media on women, work, and unions; the second a list of trade union publications on women and work; and the third a selective bibliography on women and unions listing mainly Canadian sources and including some background British and American materials.

The point of view in the articles is definitely feminist and activist. The articles show concern for all workers, male and female, organized and unorganized, in the home and in the workplace. The articles vary in form. Some are well-researched studies with extensive footnotes and bibliographies. Others are personal retellings of actual events or informed analyses of issues. The issues discussed are important ones, and the depiction of the situation facing women workers is a fair one. It is valuable to have them all presented in one volume. The "Resources" section will be welcomed by people studying the subject or presenting media programs on women, work, and/or unions in Canada. There is no index; the table of contents could serve as a guide to broad topics.

This book will be an important addition to adult collections of Canadian materials. High school students embarking on an in-depth study of women, unions, or work in Canada will find it useful.

Brenda Watson, Victoria, BC.
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