Ninety-Nine Days: The Ford Strike in Windsor, 1945

Description

200 pages
Contains Photos, Bibliography, Index
$19.95
ISBN 1-55021-088-2
DDC 331.89'28292'0971332

Publisher

Year

1995

Contributor

Reviewed by Steve Pitt

Steve Pitt is a Toronto-based freelance writer and an award-winning journalist. He has written many young adult and children's books, including Day of the Flying Fox: The True Story of World War II Pilot Charley Fox.

Review

With the end of World War II, most Canadians were looking forward to a
quick transition to a peacetime economy. But a strike erupted at the
Ford plant in Windsor, Ontario, and threatened to bring labor to a halt
across the country. Politicians, reporters, and citizens quickly chose
sides in a struggle that would last 99 days.

A great deal was at stake. Unlike their counterparts in the United
States, most Canadian unions still had no real bargaining power.
Canadian organized labor was determined to catch up to its American
cousins in wages, seniority rights, and job security. But Canadian
industrialists were equally determined to keep the unions weak and
ineffectual.

Although well-researched and clearly written, this book suffers from
two stylistic flaws. First, author Herb Colling introduces each main
player once and then expects the reader to remember whether that person
represents Ford management, the government, the UAW, the CCF, the CCL,
the LPP, the CIO, the TLC, or the AFL. Second, Colling often reproduces
management or union sentiments without warning the reader that these
were opinions at the time, not established facts.

Nevertheless, Colling’s book is an important contribution to Canadian
history. The Ford strike brought about the adoption of the Rand Formula,
which established union power in Canada for the next three decades. The
subject is especially poignant in the 1990s as Canadians witness the
waning of Canadian industry and the declawing of the unions. Given the
current labor atmosphere, this could be popular reading on some future
picket line.

Citation

Colling, Herb., “Ninety-Nine Days: The Ford Strike in Windsor, 1945,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed March 1, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/1753.