Labour Studies Index

Updated: 2022-05-16

Solidarity by Association: The Unionization of Faculty, Academic Librarians and Support Staff at Carleton University (1973–1976)

Document type Thesis
Author Bufton, Martha Attridge
Degree M.A. (History)
Publisher Carleton University; Ottawa, Ont.
Date 2013
Pages 399


In the mid-1970s, three employee groups at Carleton University changed campus labour relations dramatically: the professors and librarians who belonged to the Carleton University Academic Staff formed the first Ontario faculty union in June 1975; nine months later the Ontario Labour Relations Board certified the Carleton University Support Staff Association as the bargaining agent for the administrative and technical staff. The history of faculty labour action at Carleton has been told but not that of either academic librarians or support staff so this case of unionism provides a unique opportunity to compare their experiences. Working primarily with oral histories, I argue that status was critical to mobilizing labour action at Carleton. These employees—many of whom were women—wanted a fair workplace but deliberately chose an independent association over a trade union because such “solidarity by association” was compatible with their deeply held beliefs about their work and place on campus.