Resisting Precarity in Toronto's Municipal Sector: The Justice and Dignity for Cleaners Campaign
This paper examines a relative rarity in recent Canadian labour-state relations: the successful resistance by public sector workers and their allies to government-driven employment precarity. At stake was Toronto mayor Rob Ford’s determination to contract out a thousand jobs held by city cleaners. In response, the cleaners and the city’s labour movement launched a Justice and Dignity for Cleaners campaign to preserve these jobs as living wage employment. Effective coalition building behind a morally compelling campaign, together with some fortuitous political alignments, has forestalled city efforts to privatize a significant yet undervalued segment of the workforce. Our examination of the Justice and Dignity for Cleaners campaign reveals that resistance to precarity is not futile, notwithstand ing some attendant ambiguity of what constitutes a labour victory.
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