36 Lab. Stud. J. 5 (2011)

handle is hein.journals/labstuj36 and id is 1 raw text is: 
                                                                    Official Joumnal of
                                                                    United Associaton for
Articles                                                            Labor Educatlon
                                                                 Labor Studies journal
                                                                        36(1) 5-36
Canadian Autoworkers,                                                   2011 UALE
                                                       Reprints and permission: http://www.
the    Climate        Crisis, and       the            sagepub.corn/journalsPermissions.nav
                                                         DOl: I0. 1177/0I60449X 103 89747
Contradictions of Social                                         http://Isj.sagepub.com


Derek Hrynyshyn' and Stephanie Ross'

This article explores the contradictions in the Canadian Auto  Workers  Union's
(CAW)   approach to environmental issues, particularly climate change. Despite being
one  of the Canadian  labor movement's  leading proponents of social unionism-
understood  as a  union ethos committed   to working-class interests beyond the
workplace, and  a strategic repertoire that involves community-union alliances-
the CAW's   environmental activism demonstrates the contradictory way that social
unionism  can be understood and  practiced by unions. Through a critical discourse
analysis of CAW  policy documents  and leadership statements, we show the union
has  not reframed  its bargaining demands to  emphasize  both economically  and
environmentally sustainable production. Instead, the CAW's   relatively uncritical
defense of the North American  auto industry and the jobs it provides, despite the
clearly negative role such production plays in the climate crisis, its acceptance of the
structures of automobility, and its emphasis on environmental issues that have little
to do with the nature of their industry, indicates the way that social unionism can
be an add-on rather than a fundamental reorientation of a union's role and purpose.
We  argue that, for social unionist environmental activism to be effective, the CAW
must  incorporate social unionist goals and analyses into their bargaining priorities,
and confront the contradictions between their members' interests as autoworkers,
on the one  hand, and as workers and global citizens who require economically and
environmentally sustainable livelihoods, on the other.

Canada, unions, social unionism, climate change, automobility, CAW

'York UniversityToronto, Ontario, Canada

Corresponding Author:
Stephanie Ross,York University, Department of Social Science, 4700 Keele Street,Toronto, Ontario M3J
I P3, Canada
Email: stephr@yorku.ca

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