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Comparison of Gender Issues in Canada and the United State

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  Indeed, labor unions in Canada have gone out of their way to help bring about employment equity both for their workers and on their own boards.   Linda Briskin writes that “ In an attempt to address the under-representation of women in top elected positions, many key Canadian unions and central have adopted affirmative action policies which allocate seats (either designated or added) on leadership bodies to women. ”     She goes on to point out that in 1983, the Ontario Federation of Labour amended its constitution to have five ‘ affirmative-action’ seats on its board.   The Canadian Labour Congress adopted similar policies in 1984.  Many unions across the country soon followed.   This served to increase the number of women on labor boards to 28% by the mid 90’ s.

Furthermore, in the 1980’ s, the Canadian Labour Congress expanded the list of ‘ tools’ courses it offers for its members to include women’ s rights and sociology, among other topics.   Before that time, the courses were generally limited to techniques in collective bargaining.   If a labor union is to remain a powerful force in politics and continue to advocate successfully for substantive equality, the unions must exercise their power from time to time.   A labor union, if it goes on strike, can cause major disruptions in the economic and social life of a country.   They can bring air-traffic to a standstill or halt road construction.   They can even prevent a person from buying food.

In The Feminization of Poverty: Not Only in America, Gertrude Schaffner-Goldberg and Eleanor Kremen write that, In the United States, as elsewhere, long-term trends in the labor market are creating more contingent work, less steady and secure employment, and fewer jobs with full fringe benefits for women (for most men as well).   Affirmative action and anti-discrimination policies have lost the support of the federal government, and some recent Supreme Court decisions have reversed rulings that furthered desegregation, both gender and racial.      

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