Monday, February 02, 2015


[IWS] CANADA: Perry Work Report, 30 January 2015

[The following is courtesy of the Centre for Industrial Relations, University of Toronto].

January 30, 2015


Morley Gunderson Prize: Nominations Now Open

The Morley Gunderson Prize was established in 1997 as a tribute to Morley's extraordinary commitment to the Centre for Industrial Relations and Human Resources at the University of Toronto. It recognizes a current student or graduate of the Centre who combines outstanding professional achievement with dedicated and significant service to the Centre. 

Nominations may be submitted by current students, graduates, faculty and staff to the Director, Anil Verma, by February 20, 2015. The selection committee considers all nominations, and the award will be presented at the Sefton-Williams Lecture, co-sponsored by the Centre and Woodsworth College of the University of Toronto. 

Nominations for the Morley Gunderson Prize should be sent to:


2015 Sefton-Williams Memorial Lecture to be held on March 19

Hosted by Woodsworth College and the Centre for Industrial Relations and Human Resources, this annual lecture is now named in honour of Mr. Larry Sefton and Mr. Lynn Williams. The Sefton-Williams Memorial Lecture series presents topics of interest to scholars and practitioners of labour-management relations. The lecture has recently been endowed by USW International Executive Board and its members. 

The inaugural Sefton-Williams Memorial Lecture takes place on Thursday, March 19th at 7p.m. and is entitled Inequality and its Discontents: A Canadian Perspective. Speakers are Armine Yalnizyan, Senior Economist for the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives and Miles Corak, Professor of Economics at the University of Ottawa. More information will be available shortly.

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·  Time to Reinstate the Long-Form Census

·  First Nations Excluded from Key Employment Data

·  The Future Now: Canada's Libraries, Archives, and Public Memory

·  Fraser Institute: Are Good Jobs "Fair"?

·  Unions and Government Compete for the Moral High Ground

·  Canada's Labour Market Running Out of Steam?

·  StatsCan: Career Decision-Making Patterns of Canadian Youth

·  Unpaid Interns Back on the Agenda

·  The Unequal States of America

·  The 40-Year Pursuit of Equal Pay: A Case of Constantly Moving Goalposts

·  Gender Bias Against Women of Color in STEM

·  Economists Don't "Like" Facebook's Global Economic Impact Claims

·  The Value of Using Hollywood Clips in Sociology Class

·  Reality Show Sends Fashion Bloggers to Work in Cambodian Sweatshop

·  Book of the Week

Time to Reinstate the Long-Form Census

Bill C-626 is up for its second reading on Thursday, January 29, 2015. Watch the live broadcast from 5:30 - 6:30 PM at

"In 2010, the federal government ended the long-form census that informed critical business, policy, and research decisions across the country. As information becomes an increasingly valuable commodity in today's world, Canada made a conscious decision to blindly walk away from vital data about our culture and society."

"The mandatory long-form census provided critical information about demographics, commuting patterns, skills shortages, and other economic data that helped to determine public policy, guide researchers, and give businesses a leg up. It allowed for historical comparisons that let us know how our society is changing."

"The loss of this data represents a blow to free expression, hampering the right to information that should be enjoyed by all Canadians."

Bill C-626, An Act to Amend the Statistics Act, would reinstate the mandatory long-form census.

Canadian Journalists for Free Expression, January 28, 2015: "Coalition of organizations call for the reinstatement of long-form census"

Canadian Journalists for Free Expression, January 27, 2014: "Canadians have a right to information"

Ontario Council for University Libraries -- Current process in Parliament to reinstate the mandatory long-form census for 2016 [website]

"The cancellation of the mandatory long-form census has damaged research in key areas, from how immigrants are doing in the labour market to how the middle class is faring, while making it more difficult for cities to ensure taxpayer dollars are being spent wisely, planners and researchers say."

"The effect hasn't just been in urban centres. Canada does not regularly gather unemployment statistics on First Nations people living on reserve, so the mandatory long-form census provided the best picture of a situation that all federal parties identify as a policy priority."

The Globe and Mail, January 29, 2015: "Damage from cancelled census as bad as feared, researchers say"

The government is not only opposed to collecting data, but allowing Canadian's access to it, as well.

"In his new book Kill the Messengers, veteran Ottawa journalist Mark Bourrie details the all-controlling aspect of Prime Minister Stephen Harper's government. In this excerpt, he assesses the Conservative crackdown on federal historians, researchers and librarians."

The Toronto Star, January 26, 2015: "The war on brains," by Mark Bourrie

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First Nations Excluded from Key Employment Data

"The government of Canada doesn't gather unemployment statistics on First Nations reserves because it says it's too costly and it's hard to find people to interview."

"That means roughly half of this country's First Nations people don't show up in unemployment numbers. As a result, Canada knows very little about unemployment in areas where it has made job training and economic development a priority. It also means that the regional unemployment figures that play a role in whether employers can import temporary foreign workers are blind to the reality of First Nations joblessness."

"The Labour Force Survey is a key diagnostic tool, something akin to a heart-rate monitor. The survey, conducted monthly by interviewers across the country, delivers a statistically sound snapshot of the Canadian population's employment levels and labour-force participation. Statistics Canada has never included reserves in the Labour Force Survey."

The Globe and Mail, January 23, 2015: "Ottawa failing to include First Nations in key employment data," by Joe Friese

What if First Nations Were Counted?

"Since this data isn't collected monthly, the only reliable figures are from the first week of May 2011, when the National Household Survey (NHS) was conducted. ... [T]he seasonally unadjusted unemployment rate for Canada is 7.6% ... but on reserves it is a shocking 22%. Had reserves been included in the calculations, the Canadian unemployment rate would have been 7.8%, not the official 7.6%. ... [and the] employment rate falls from 61.1% to 60.9% -- pretty incredible, considering people on reserves make up only 1% of the Canadian population."

"That's for 2011, but what would it look like today? [Approximations show] once reserves are included, the unemployment rate is a little worse than the 'official' statistics indicate for Canada, Ontario and Quebec. But it is substantially worse for the Prairie provinces and BC. ... [T]he unemployment rate in December 2014 would have jumped from 5.2% to 5.8% in Manitoba; and in Saskatchewan from 3.6% to 4.3%. BC would see its rate go from 5.4% to 5.7%."

Centre for Policy Alternatives' Behind the Numbers blog, January 26, 2015: "What if First Nations (and their poverty) were counted?," by David Macdonald

First Nations: Out of Sight, Out of Mind?

It's often said that a society can be judged by how it treats its most disadvantaged. So why then does Canada continue to brandish a reputation of racial harmony?

"By almost every measurable indicator, the Aboriginal population in Canada is treated worse and lives with more hardship than the African-American population [in the U.S.]. All these facts tell us one thing: Canada has a race problem, too."

"How are we not choking on these numbers? For a country so self-satisfied with its image of progressive tolerance, how is this not a national crisis? Why are governments not falling on this issue?"

Macleans, January 22, 2015: "Canada's race problem? It's even worse than America's," by Scott Gilmore

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The Future Now: Canada's Libraries, Archives, and Public Memory

In Spring 2013 the Royal Society of Canada (RSC) struck this Expert Panel on the status and future of Canada's libraries and archive institutions. Our mandate acknowledged the allied obligation of libraries and archives.

"They collect, preserve, and disseminate knowledge, and provide access to information and intellectual resources for civic engagement."

Recognizing that these institutions are "actively meeting the challenges of unfolding digital technologies, changing cultural practices, and society's expectations," RSC charged the Panel:

·         To investigate what services Canadians, including Aboriginal Canadians and new Canadians, are receiving from libraries and archives;

·         To explore what Canadian society expects of libraries and archives
in the 21st century;

·         To identify the necessary changes in resources, structures, and competencies to ensure libraries and archives serve the public good
in the 21st century;

·         To listen to and consult the multiple voices that contribute to community building and memory building;

·         To demonstrate how deeply the knowledge universe has been and will continue to be revolutionized by digital technology; and

·         To conceptualize the integration of the physical and the digital in library
and archive spaces.

Royal Society of Canada, Expert Panel Reports, November 10, 2014: "The Future Now: Canada's Libraries, Archives, and Public Memory"

Royal Society of Canada, November 14, 2014: "The Future Now: Canada's Libraries, Archives, and Public Memory" (225 pages, PDF) 

The section on Academic Libraries begins on page 102 of the PDF (page 93 of the actual document)

"However, the library environment of Canada's 332 academic libraries, with their 686 branch outlets, is in itself markedly different today than it was 15 or 20 years ago. And even though the entering students are more technologically savvy than were their predecessors, they also require a more sophisticated skill set than was previously necessary in order to navigate the sophisticated information and knowledge resources required to succeed in the academic enterprise. Their searching experience as first-year students tends to be a product of a Google or in fewer instances the Google Scholar experience. They have little or no grasp of the breadth and depth of the information and scholarly communication environments as they exist and relate to their individual program of study."

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Fraser Institute: Are Good Jobs "Fair"?

"Is a job offering a good wage, good benefits and a pension at retirement a bad thing?" Is it unfair?

It just may be, according to the Fraser Institute.

"A new report from the Fraser Institute probes that question by comparing public and private sector compensation in British Columbia in 2013."

"The report argues that private-sector wages are driven by the bottom line, whereas public-sector salaries are driven by politics (i.e. 'political bargaining'). The report cites 'largely unions' and the fact that 'the public sector operates in a monopoly with no competitors.'"

How dare those unions negotiate higher wages for their employees.

Because "'is it fair that a private-sector worker working a similar job as a public-sector worker is getting paid less in terms of total compensation?' asked Charles Lammam, the Fraser Institute's associate director of tax and fiscal policy, and one of the authors of the report."

Good point Charles. Perhaps the public sector should mirror the private sector, so that, as reported by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives:

·         The highest-paid, top-level employees get substantial increases in compensation packages. Taxpayers would love to dole out an average 20 times more to top-earning public servants, I'm sure.

·         Women, visible minorities and aboriginal workers take significant pay cuts.

·         Most people lose their pensions.

·         Public-sector workers' jobs become subject to the volatility of the market. No big deal if police, firefighters and health care workers are faced with major layoffs whenever there is an economic crisis or market volatility, right?

Now that's more like it!

PressProgress, January 23, 2015: "Fraser Institute wonders if a good job with good pay and a good pension is 'fair'?"

Fraser Institute, January 20, 2015: "Comparing Government and Private Sector Compensation in British Columbia," by Jason Clemens, Charles Lammam, Milagros Palacios, and Feixue Ren

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Unions and Government Compete for the Moral High Ground

"This time, unions are bargaining for goals such as safeguarding scientific integrity in government."

"The Conservatives portray themselves as responsible fiscal managers and the unions portray themselves as only wanting the mental wellbeing and safety of workers."

"Ottawa Centre MP Paul Dewar, also the NDP's foreign affairs critic, said the government unwittingly helped the unions shift their message with its 'ham-fisted' treatment of veterans."

"Dewar argues the Conservatives use the public service as the 'enemy' or 'punching bag' in the drive to cut spending and the size of government. But that backfired with the outcry over the closing of veterans' offices and other services, he says."

"'It's a perversion of logic and facts for the government on the one hand to point the finger at the public service when services aren't delivered ... while on the other hand cut the funds for public servants to fulfil their mandates,' he said."

"This has created a poisonous atmosphere in these contract negotiations and it's important for unions to remind Canadians about the work they do."

Ottawa Citizen, January 23, 2015: "Unions and government compete for the moral high ground," by Katherine May

Public Service Alliance of Canada [website]

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Canada's Labour Market Running Out of Steam?

After revising its labour force survey estimates for 2014 and the 2001-to-2014 period, Statistics Canada reported that "employment gains last year were 121,000 -- or a third lower than the originally estimated increase of 186,000. This meant the jobless rate in December of last year was 6.7 per cent rather than the 6.6 per cent first reported, while the labour force participation rate ebbed to 65.7 per cent in the month -- the lowest point since 2000 and even lower than first pegged."

"The Statscan revisions 'suggest that the economy might not have been on quite as firm ground as earlier believed,' noted CIBC economists.... The scale of the revisions were 'significant,' [added] Krishen Rangasamy, senior economist at National Bank Financial."

"The revised data, together, 'imply a weaker employment picture in 2014 with the growth trends for both employment and the labour force disappointing,' said RBC assistant chief economist Paul Ferley in a note. Still, 'it is important to note that much of the downward revision to employment is the result of weaker population growth rather than any macroeconomic factor such as firms responding to weaker demand.'"

The Globe and Mail, January 28, 2015: "Canada posts weakest annual job growth since 2009," by Tavia Grant

Statistics Canada's The Daily, January 28, 2015: "Labour Force Survey: Year-end review, 2014"

Statistics Canada's The Daily, January 29, 2015: "Revisions to the Labour Force Survey, 2001 to 2014"

Statistics Canada, January 2015: "The 2015 revisions of the Labour Force Survey (LFS)"

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StatsCan: Career Decision-Making Patterns of Canadian Youth

According to the Youth in Transition Survey "[c]areer decision-making for the majority of Canadian youth is an on-going process, occurring throughout adolescence and typically lasting well into adulthood."

"Among youth aged 25 who were asked about their career expectations on a regular basis from the age of 15, few held to the career expectations they had as teenagers. For the remaining majority of 25-year-olds, there was a lot of uncertainty in terms of their career choices. More than 13% of young adults were still undecided about a career at age 25, while almost 4 in 10 (38.3%) had decided to pursue a new career."

"Among the other factors involved in choosing a career, the higher the priority parents placed on postsecondary education, the greater the consistency youth demonstrated in their career expectations."

"When family socioeconomic status (SES) was taken into account, a greater proportion of youth with a high family SES (13.6%) demonstrated consistency of career choice from the age of 15, compared with 7.9% of those with a low family SES."

Statistics Canada's The Daily, January 27, 2014: "Study: Career decision-making patterns of Canadian youth and associated postsecondary educational outcomes, 2000 to 2010"

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Unpaid Interns Back on the Agenda

"The parliamentary secretary to Labour Minister Kellie Leitch is meeting this week with various stakeholders about unpaid interns, stoking hopes among advocates that the federal government may be ready to make changes."

"One participant said Cathy McLeod's consultations suggest unpaid interns could soon be given workplace standards and safety protections under the Canada Labour Code -- something the federal NDP is calling for in a private member's bill."

"'This is the first time that we've heard from the federal government on this; they've been completely silent until now,' Claire Seaborn, president of the Canadian Intern Association, said in an interview on Monday [January 26 2015] following a discussion with McLeod. 'My take on the meeting is that they're probably going to take action to amend the Canada Labour Code .... the question is whether they're going to include interns who are not students under minimum wage laws, and that's what I'm pushing for.'"

CBC News, January 26, 2015: "Unpaid interns on agenda as federal officials meet with youth worker advocates," by Lee-Anne Goodman

CBC News, January 22, 2015: "Federal messaging on unpaid interns changed with NDP bill," by Lee-Anne Goodman

Open Parliament -- Bill C-636: Intern Protection Act

Canadian Intern Association [website]

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The Unequal States of America

"... [A]ll 50 states have experienced widening income inequality in recent decades" according to a new paper published by the Economic Policy Institute.

Specific findings from The Increasingly Unequal States of America: Income Inequality by State, 1917 to 2012 include:

·         "After incomes at all levels declined as a result of the Great Recession, income growth has been lopsided since the recovery began in 2009, with the top 1 percent capturing an alarming share of economic growth."

·         "Lopsided income growth is also a long-term trend. Between 1979 and 2007, the top 1 percent took home well over half (53.9 percent) of the total increase in U.S. income. Over this period, the average income of the bottom 99 percent of U.S. taxpayers grew by 18.9 percent. Simultaneously, the average income of the top 1 percent grew over 10 times as much -- by 200.5 percent."

The Economic Policy Institute, January 26, 2015: "The Increasingly Unequal States of America: Income Inequality by State, 1917 to 2012," by Estelle Sommeiller and Mark Price (download the PDF version here, 34 pages)

On a positive note, "less egalitarian states like Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New Jersey have lower-than-average poverty rates, better life expectancy, and better education systems. Of course, we could all aspire to be more like Hawaii -- low inequality, lots of longevity, relatively little poverty, and fabulous weather. But barring a miraculous turn of events in which the whole country transforms into Maui, it's worth remembering: Even if the rich make out like bandits in a state, it may well still be a pretty good place to live."

Slate, January 27, 2015: "West Virginia Is for Egalitarians," by Jordan Weissmann

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The 40-Year Pursuit of Equal Pay: A Case of Constantly Moving Goalposts

"Despite progress in the fight for gender equality in the workplace, women continue to face a broad range of difficulties. While they've made strides in breaking through the 'glass ceiling,' they often face other challenges, including discrimination and sexism. A substantial gender pay gap persists around the world."

Recent research by Jill Rubery and Damian Grimshaw of the University of Manchester theorizes that "when there has been identifiable progress toward improved equality, the 'goalposts' have moved, and thus gender pay equality proves to be an elusive target."

The authors review and define a long history of research on gender pay equality and "conclude that there is no all-encompassing explanation for the persistence of gender pay inequality, but certain rules of the game have made achieving gains difficult: 'The moving goalposts are clearly related to the ever-widening wage distribution, the changing principles of pay formation and the reduced capacity of trade unions to promote equal pay due to the shrinkage of collective bargaining coverage.' Furthermore, 'gender equality in pay is perhaps unlikely to be achievable while gender inequality and misogyny still pervade public and private life..... Policies and measures to reduce gender pay gaps thus need constant monitoring and reinforcement; the search for gender pay equality can perhaps be expected to remain both elusive and in need of continuous attention.'"

Journalist's Resource, January 21, 2015: "Equal pay, gender wage gaps and 'constantly moving goalposts': Review of 40 years of research"

Cambridge Journal of Economics, November 16, 2014: "The 40-year pursuit of equal pay: a case of constantly moving goalposts," by Jill Rubery and Damian Grimshaw

Women want equality at home and in relationships, as well.

"'Our work shows that most people want to have more egalitarian relationships,' says Sarah Thebaud, a sociologist at the University of California, Santa Barbara.... 'But they may fall back on to traditional gender roles when they realize that egalitarianism is hard to achieve in the current workplace environment.'"

The research results show that "people's current attitudes toward gender roles are likely a result of restrictive workplace policies."

"Raising children when both parents work full time at demanding jobs is very difficult ... which may be why women are more apt to leave work or work part time."

"But this research also suggests that as workplace policies change, people's attitudes toward gender roles will shift as well, says Kathleen Gerson, a sociologist at New York University...."

NPR Science Desk's Shots, January 23, 2015: "Young Women And Men Seek More Equal Roles At Work And Home," by Maanvi Singh

An earlier edition of "Can We Finish the Revolution? Gender, Work-Family Ideals, and Institutional Constraint" by Sarah Thebaud and David S. Pedulla can be read here (50 pages, PDF). The paper will be officially published in the February 2015 edition of the American Sociological Review.

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Gender Bias Against Women of Color in STEM

Typically, "studies of gender bias generally focus on the experiences of White women, leaving unanswered the major question of whether the same patterns of bias extend to women of color. This report finds that women of color experience pervasive gender bias -- but in ways that often differ from the ways White women experience it."

Significant findings of the report include:

·         100% of the women interviewed reported gender bias.

·         Black women are more likely (77%) than other women (66%) to report having to prove themselves over and over again.

·         Asian-Americans reported both more pressure than other groups of women to adhere to traditionally feminine roles and more pushback if they don't.

·         Latinas who behave assertively risk being seen as 'angry' or 'too emotional.'

·         Latinas report being pressured by colleagues to do admin support work for their male colleagues.

·         Both Latinas and Black women report regularly being mistaken as janitors.

"The implication: women leave STEM in response to pervasive and persistent gender bias."

Hastings School of Law, University of California, January 21, 2015: "New Study Reveals "Double Jeopardy" Faced by Women of Color in STEM"

Center for WorkLife Law at UC Hastings, January 21, 2015: "Double Jeopardy? Gender Bias Against Women of Color in Science," by Joan C. Williams, Katherine Phillips, and Erika Hall (60 pages, PDF)

Tool for Change project--"Two prominent researchers who have focused for more than two decades on documenting the reasons STEM disciplines' have been unable to attract and retain women have partnered with the Association for Women in Science (AWIS) to leverage their extensive research to create sustainable tools that level the playing field for women in academic STEM disciplines." [website]

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Economists Don't "Like" Facebook's Global Economic Impact Claims

"A report commissioned by Facebook concludes that the social network was responsible for $227 billion in global economic impact, and 4.5 million jobs, in the year ended October 2014, roughly equal to the gross domestic product of Portugal. The report was prepared by the consulting firm Deloitte."

"Independent economists said Deloitte and Facebook used questionable assumptions in the report, valuing each Facebook 'Like,' and assigning Facebook credit for roughly one-sixth of smartphone sales."

"'The results are meaningless,' Stanford economist Roger Noll said in an email. 'Facebook is an effect, not a cause, of the growth of Internet access and use.'"

"Tyler Cowen, a professor of economics at George Mason University, said Facebook likely has a significant economic impact, but not as great as the report suggests. He said Facebook likely doesn't create nearly as many jobs as the report suggests. 'The value of smartphones is that they help you read Facebook -- in addition to other benefits -- not vice versa,' Cowen said, calling the study's calculations 'bad reasoning.'"

Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg disagrees. She argues that Facebook drives smartphone sales in the developing world. According to Sandberg, "[p]eople actually confuse Facebook and the internet in some places."

The Wall Street Journal, January 20, 2015: "Facebook Touts Its 'Economic Impact' but Economists Question Numbers," by Reed Albergotti

Deloitte, January 2015: "Facebook's global economic impact" (36 pages, PDF)

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The Value of Using Hollywood Clips in Sociology Class

"As critical movie goers, we sociologists can go crazy when we watch Hollywood movies. In an effort to appeal to mass audiences, they often rely on gender stereotypes and misrepresent other cultures with overly simplistic characters."

The mass appeal of Hollywood films makes them especially powerful vehicles to engage students. Consider Disney's Pixar film, A Bug's Life, ... Through very engaging storytelling and award-winning animation, A Bug's Life, has entertained audiences of all ages. What probably has not occurred to students, however, is that it is an excellent illustration of Marxian theories and concepts...."

For other examples of sociological theory applied to Hollywood film clips, see these examples:

·         Weber's concept of bureaucracy in Office Space

·         Goffman's concept of a total institution in Full Metal Jacket

·         Institutionalization in Shawshank Redemption

·         Stereotyping in Up in the Air

·         Distinction in Dr. Seuss' The Sneetches

·         Forms of capital in Pretty Woman

·         Theories of crime and deviance in West Side Story

·         Game theory in A Dark Knight

"Using situations that promise powerful punch lines and characters with whom viewers can emotionally identify, these videos will keep our students captivated by the power of sociology."

The Sociological Cinema, November 20, 2014: "Sociology Goes to Hollywood (or why we must use Hollywood clips in our sociology classes)," by Paul Dean

"[G]iven that the grasshoppers rely on the surplus of the ants' labor to maintain their own way of life, it illustrates Marx's theory of exploitation. But as Hopper notes here, 'those puny little ants outnumber us 100-to-1, and if they figure that out, there goes our way of life.'"

The Sociological Cinema, December 8, 2012: "Class Consciousness and Exploitation in A Bug's Life," submitted by Chris Hardnack

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Reality Show Sends Fashion Bloggers to Work in Cambodian Sweatshop

"A young blonde woman weeps openly on camera, her manicured fingers perched wanly against her cheekbones. 'I can't take it any more,' she sobs in Norwegian. 'What sort of life is this?' Her name is Anniken Jorgensen, one of three 17-year-old fashion bloggers who 'star' in a five-part online reality series about the horrors of sweatshop labor in Cambodia. Tapped by Aftenposten, Norway's largest newspaper, for the social experiment, Jorgensen, along with Frida Ottesen and Ludvig Hambro, flew to the Southeast Asian country's capital of Phnom Penh in October, where they experienced a modicum of a Cambodian textile worker's life for a month."

"By the end of the series, the bloggers are transformed, particularly Jorgensen, who previously described the workers' lives as "'just okay; they have a job!'"

"'I have this idea that so many people around the world are unnecessary,' she tells the camera in the final episode, her cheeks moist with tears. 'They are nothing and they do nothing all their life.'"

All episodes of Sweatshop: Deadly Fashion may be viewed here (English subtitles included).

Ecouterre, January 23, 2015: "Reality Show Sends Fashion Bloggers to Work in Cambodian Sweatshop," by Jasmin Malik Chua

What Is Being Done?

"Better Factories Cambodia monitors factories, trains management and workers, and provides guidance and advice on factory improvements that help enterprises preserve profits while respecting workers' rights."

Better Factories Cambodia [website]

Workers are also standing up for themselves.

"Last January in Phnom Penh, the garment industry seemed to be coming apart at the seams: protesters thronged through the streets, several died after security forces opened fire and union leaders were detained for weeks without trial. A year on, the unrest has subsided and workers are getting a modest wage hike, but the systematic suppression of unions continues to breed bitter outrage."

"The recent wildcat strike and protests show workers' desperation has reignited once again. Though multinational brands might have turned away, labor activists haven't forgotten the sacrifices of last year's protests. After facing down bullets, they won't be daunted by their bosses' threatening words."

The Nation, January 23, 2015: "Cambodia's Garment Workers Aren't Backing Down," by Michelle Chen

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Book of the Week

Rebel Youth: 1960s Labour Unrest, Young Workers, and New Leftists in English Canada, by Ian Milligan. Vancouver : UBC Press, 2014. 241 p. ISBN 9780774826884 (pbk.)

From the publisher: "During the 'long sixties' -- between 1964 and 1973 -- baby boomers raised on democratic postwar ideals demanded a more egalitarian society for all. While a few became vocal leaders at universities across Canada, nearly 90% of Canada's young people went straight to work after high school. There, they brought the anti-authoritarian spirit of the youth revolt to the labour movement. While university-based activists combined youth culture with a new brand of radicalism to form the New Left, young workers were pressing for wildcat strikes and defying their aging union leaders in a wave of renewed militancy that swept the country. In Rebel Youth, Ian Milligan looks at these converging currents, demonstrating convincingly how they were part of a single youth phenomenon. With just short of seventy interviews complementing the extensive use of archival records, this book reveals a youth current that, despite regional differences, spanned an intellectual network from Halifax to Victoria that read the same publications, consulted the same thinkers, and found inspiration in the same shared ideas. Rebel Youth draws important connections between the stories of young workers and the youth movement in Canada, claiming a central place for labour and class in the legacy of this formative decade."

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