Re-shaping Work: Union Responses to Technological Change


232 pages
Contains Photos, Bibliography, Index
ISBN 1-895998-02-6
DDC 331.88'9071




Edited by Christopher Schenk and John Anderson
Reviewed by Dave Bennett

David Bennett is the national director of the Department of Workplace Health, Safety and Environment at the Canadian Labour Congress in Ottawa.


This collection of essays, written by and for workers, evolved out of
Ontario’s Technology Adjustment Research Programme (TARP). Intended to
address the challenges posed by new technologies, the essays fall into
two groups: practical case studies, and theoretical pieces that point to
political strategy. In the former group are studies of the garment
industry, the federal public service, the building trades, the
metal-working trades, and the post office.

Vince Chapin of the International Associa-tion of Machinists
contributes an outstanding

article titled “Knowledge at Work,” in which he contrasts
“machine-centred technologies”— producers of the “near
workerless work organ-ization”—with “human-centred technological
systems.” What this essay demonstrates is that work organization must
be human-centred in order to succeed. In their introduction, the editors
offer modest but realistic proposals for taming the new technologies.


“Re-shaping Work: Union Responses to Technological Change,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed April 23, 2024,