Struggling With ‘Security’: National Security and Labour in the Ports


  • Deborah Cowen



Systems of social protection are being quickly and quietly recast by developments in a surprising policy area. The rapidly expanding infrastructure of national security policy in Canada compromises labour rights and social forms of security. Security clearance programs, under development for port workers, compromise employment security by making workers and their families subject to invasive screenings that violate privacy, allow for job suspension based on 'reasonable suspicion' of terrorist affiliation, and offer no meaningful independent appeals process. New security regulations threaten to institutionalize racial profiling and undermine collective bargaining. Moreover, there are plans to generalize these programs across the transport sector - a large part of the labour force that includes trucking, mass transit, airport, and rail workers. In this paper I look at ongoing struggles over port security in Canada. I suggest that national security policy as backdoor labour policy works to institutionalize 'anti-social' forms of security.


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— Updated on 2007-10-01


  • 2007-10-01 (2)
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How to Cite

Cowen, D. (2007). Struggling With ‘Security’: National Security and Labour in the Ports. Just Labour, 10.