..this is interesting.
Toronto Airport Workers’ Council (TAWC), a non-union organization that represents Pearson’s workers.
“Wall-to-wall airport organized”
Toronto Pearson Airport is Canada’s largest workplace, with over 50,000 workers. Among them are the small but noteworthy group of workers who formed the TAWC in 2012, an organization open to all Pearson workers – “from customs officers to duty-free workers to security officers to flight attendants,” says Smith.
“It’s pretty much wall-to-wall airport organized now,” he explains. “The critical thing about it is we’re all workers. We all work at the airport.”
There are six unions involved in the solidarity pact that formed the TAWC: CUPE, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW), the Public Service Alliance of Canada Customs and Immigration Union (PSAC-CIU), the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Teamsters Local 419, and Unifor. Though the TAWC is a completely volunteer-led organization, the bulk of dedicated TAWC activists are local-level officers within these unions, and Smith makes it clear that he does not consider the TAWC to be a form of dual unionism.
“Often calls for labour movement renewal talk about alternative forms of workers’ associations or workers’ organizations,” said Paul Christopher Gray, assistant professor of labour studies at Brock University. He and his co-researcher, Jordan House, have also been involved in public education efforts and airport worker solidarity actions through the Toronto Labour Committee. “What we thought was quite interesting about the TAWC was that it is a workers’ organization. It is not a union, and yet unlike a lot of the other proposed alternative forms of workers’ associations, it is based in a workplace, at the site of production. It engages in direct actions, things that can be disruptive at the point of production that often the alternative forms of labour organizing can’t be.”
Forms of labour organizing that are not workplace-based, like solidarity committees and workers’ councils, can rely heavily on tactics like protests and lobbying that, while putting pressure on an employer, do not directly confront them. But there is no substitution for action taken in the workplace to disrupt production. As a model, the TAWC serves as a middle ground between these alternative workers’ associations and traditional trade unions.....