This sweeping history of the New Brunswick Federation of Labour begins and ends in a scene from a Federation conference in Moncton, NB, in 2011—with the happy disorganization as everyone stands and sings “Solidarity Forever.”
The talk at the conference is on the subject of the “latest fallout from the global economic crisis”—unemployment and the closing of paper mills. Two years from the event—2013—will mark 100 years since the formation of the Federation, one of the oldest in Canada, and a feature of “the provincial identity.”
In surveying the Federation’s century of history, Frank’s book explores the roots of organized labour that go back at least another century to the early 1800s, with “benevolent associations” and the first unions. One of this book’s strengths, quite apart from its thoroughness and research, is the way it has succeeded in contextualizing this umbrella organization into the fabric of social history, so we can see both the changing issues with each passing era, and the themes that continually recur.
Provincial Solidarities: A History of the New Brunswick Federation of Labour
by David Frank
$27.95, paperback, 260 pp.
Athabasca University Press, March 2013