It is with great pleasure that I'm writing to announce the publication of our colleague Craig Heron’s latest book: Lunch-Bucket Lives. Remaking the Workers' City (Between the Lines, 2015)
Here's a brief description of the volume:
The book examines a half-century of profound change in the daily lives of working people in what is perhaps Canada’s best-known industrial centre, Hamilton, Ontario. It provides a close examination of the challenges workers confronted and the diverse ways they responded.
The book falls into four major parts. The first looks at the big picture to see where workers worked and where they went home every night. Here we encounter the large new factories that opened after the turn of the twentieth century – the Steel Company of Canada, International Harvester, Canadian Westinghouse, and many more. We also meet the thousands of newcomers who migrated from the British Isles and Continental Europe to find work in the new factories and settled, often only briefly, in rapidly expanding working-class neighbourhoods around this booming city.
The second section examines how they made ends meet. Here the spotlight is first on the housewife whose labour kept working-class families clean, well nourished, and healthy, and then on the members of the household who were able to bring home some wages, both the father as chief breadwinner and teenaged children who also contributed. The section also looks closing at spending patterns of families on limited incomes and on the welfare programs that the poorest had to turn to for help.
The third probes the changes they faced on the job. Here the story traces the managerial and technological transformation in factories that produced a “Second” Industrial Revolution and the resistance that various groups of wage-earners threw up as their work intensified and their dignity suffered. From the turn of the century through the 1930s, there were several waves of tumultuous strikes.
And the fourth sections follows the various ways workers associated together, in their families, within their own gender and ethnic groups, and through diverse forms of politics, from persistent working-class Toryism to Labourism, Socialism, and Communism.
Overall, the book makes a case for working-class "realism" in the face of the challenges of the period - a constantly shifting set of expectations and aspirations about what was possible, from calculting deference to militant defiance.
On behalf of the entire Department, I would like to congratulate you.
P.S. You are invited to the book launch on Wednesday, June 10th at 6 pm- Supermarket Restaurant and Bar- 268 Augusta Avenue