New archival donation: Canadian Auto Workers Local 40

The PCHP | PHLC is proud to announce that we have facilitated the donation of yet another archival collection to the Clara Thomas Archives & Special Collection, York University Libraries. Dr. Susana Miranda and Anna St. Onge met with David Amow, President of the Canadian Auto Workers Local 40, and finalized this donation today. CAW Local 40 represents workers in manufacturing, hotel, textile, auto service, protection services, office and in the health care sectors. Its archival records contain documents related to the labour organization of Portuguese immigrant women in the building cleaning and textile industries of Toronto during the 1970s and 1980s, of which we highlight the unionization of McGregor Hosiery Mills factory employees in 1977, and the strike at the First Canadian Place office building in 1984. But the collection isn’t only valuable for what it reveals about Portuguese women, but is also an excellent addition to the Clara Thomas Archives overall labour collection. CAW Local 40 absorbed some smaller, more radical unions, like the Canadian Textile and Chemical Union, which were focused on organizing more marginalized workers, such as immigrants and  women, and reveal much about the more progressive bent in the Canadian labour movement in Toronto in the 1970s and 1980s.

A few more steps need to be concluded before the collection can be made available to the public, including transporting the boxes to the archives; having them appraised by an independent expert; processing that collection; and creating a finding aid. This process can take a few months. In the meantime, the PCHP | PHLC will study these materials; draw a selection for digitization; and find interesting ways to use them on its online exhibit website.

We are very happy for having enabled the preservation of this collection, and we are grateful to the executive and all the members of CAW Local 40 for having entrusted us with its care.

More to follow.

Union meeting at McGregor Hosiery Factory, 1977. Domingos Marques fonds, F0573, Clara Thomas Archives & Special Collections

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