Project #8: An Entirely Different Kind of Labour Union: The Service, Office, and Retail Workers’ Union of Canada

SORWUC1 Sorwuc2 Sorwuc3 Sorwuc4 Sorwuc5 Sorwuc6 Sorwuc7 Sorwuc8 Sorwuc10 Sorwuc9 Sorwuc11

You are welcome to print out the pdf version of this comic, but not for commercial purposes: GHC_SORWUC


3 Responses to “Project #8: An Entirely Different Kind of Labour Union: The Service, Office, and Retail Workers’ Union of Canada”

  1. Janet Nicol on

    Thank you to the writers and artist of this wonderful comic! As a SORWUC member who
    joined after the bank drive, I would suggest the ideological drive was more of the ‘anarcho-syndicalist’
    flavor rather than socialist. The Sorwuc constitution stated that no staff member would
    have a salary any greater than the highest wage negoiated in a Sorwuc contract–a principle
    not well adhered to in most large unions where staff members make up to $20,000 more
    than their members. Sorwuc was able to negotiate contract clauses supporting women’s lifestyles–on
    maternity issues, servicing coffee in the office, etc. This comic captures the big picture very well
    at a time when women were forming all sorts of groups–book stores, health collectives, print journals,
    etc. Many thanks for carrying this history in to the 21st century! (as bank workers continue to work
    unpaid overtime (etc.) and banks reap huge profits.

    Reply
  2. Drena McCormack on

    This is a good contribution which can be useful to broaden the number of people who are aware there ever was such a thing in Canada as a feminist union. How do you plan to distribute it — online only or in a print version? Do you have a plan to get it to high schools, for example?
    I do agree with Janet Nichol’s comment that the founding members did not self-consciously see themselves as “socialist feminists”, rather that we were more influenced by syndicalism. But I don’t remember even using such labels at all — when the caucus split into 3 groups with different priorities (one group wanted to concentrate on abortion organising, for example) I just remember I agreed more with the Working Women’s Association of focussing on working class women.

    Reply
  3. John Kidder on

    MY late wife Siri Heiberg was a member of SORWUC in the ’70s when they successfully organized the bar at Jerry’s Cove in Kitsilano, Vancouver. Through Siri I met for the first time a bunch of working women, strong, feminist, and in charge. A serious education for a cowboy, and of paramount importance in my life thereafter. Now, four and half years after Siri’s death, I’m in a relationship with another original SORWUC person, Jean Burgess from Spences Bridge. And the learning continues.

    Thank you all for this wonderful graphic history. And thanks to all the women in SORWUC who did make change in the world, not just temporary shifts, but permanent changes in attitudes, mine and many others.

    Reply

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