‘What is Labour’s Stake?’: Workers and the History of Environmentalism in Alberta

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‘What is Labour’s Stake?’: Workers and the History of Environmentalism in Alberta

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The Canadian environmental movement has long included significant engagement from organized labour, Chad Montrie, author of The Myth of Silent Spring: Rethinking the Origins of American Environmentalism (2018), writes in the next issue of Labour/Le Travail. Montrie shows that some of the most dedicated labour environmentalists came from unions representing workers in the auto, steel, mining, chemical, and oil industries. In Alberta during the 1970s, the Oil, Chemical and Atomic Workers (OCAW) used their out-sized influence within the Alberta Federation of Labour (AFL) to conjoin growing concern about occupational health and safety with developing awareness about air and water pollution beyond the workplace.  Drawing on fonds at the University of Calgary Glenbow Archives, Provincial Archives of Alberta, and Library and Archives of Canada, Montrie chronicles and assesses efforts by OCAW officials within the Federation to introduce and sustain a labour environmentalist agenda. 

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