Labour Studies Index

Updated: 2022-05-16

Lived Experiences of Social Unionism: Toronto Homecare Workers in the late 2000s

Document type Article
Author Cranford, Cynthia
Author Birdsell Bauer, Louise
Author Hick, Angela
Journal Labor Studies Journal
Volume 43
Date 2018 March
ISSN 0160-449X, 1538-9758
Pages 74-96


This article examines workers’ experiences with a union characterized by a social unionist framing and repertoire in the political realm and bureaucratic servicing of problems in the workplace realm. It analyzes interviews with members and officials about union strategies within privatized homecare predominately provided by immigrant women in Toronto. Workers report both consensual and tense relations with clients prompting them to praise their union’s political strategies yet criticize its limited workplace support. Findings indicate the importance of framing and repertoire that connect quality work with quality care, yet indicate a complex labor process that requires more conceptual and strategic attention.