Labour Studies Index

Updated: 2022-05-16

Labour before the law: The regulation of workers' collective action in Canada, 1900-1948

Document type Book
Author Fudge, Judy
Author Tucker, Eric
Publisher Oxford University Press; Don Mills, Ont.
Date 2001
ISBN 978-0-19-541044-0
Pages xii, 398 pages


In this study of the relations between workers and the state, Judy Fudge and Eric Tucker examine the legal regulation of workers' collective action from 1900 to 1948. They analyze the strikes, violent confrontations, lockouts, union organizing drives, legislative initiatives, and major judicial decisions that transformed the labour relations regime of liberal voluntarism, which prevailed in the later part of the nineteenth century, into industrial voluntarism, whose centrepiece was Mackenzie King's Industrial Disputes Investigation Act of 1907. This period was marked by coercion and compromise, as workers organized and fought to extend their rights against the profit-oriented owners of capital, while the state struggled to define a labour regime that contained industrial conflict. The authors then trace the conflicts that eventually produced the industrial pluralism that Canadians have known in more recent years." "The book is simultaneously & history of law, aspects of the state, trade unions and labouring people, and their interaction within the broad and shifting terrain of political economy. The authors are attentive to regional differences and sectoral divergences, and they attempt to address the fragmentation of class experience. -- Publisher's description