Students & Workers United button
This button was created for the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS), a national union formed in 1981. Its members consist of students and post-secondary students’ unions across Canada. The slogan "Students & workers united” recognizes that both students and workers face many of the same struggles and share common interests (Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario, 2019). It also recognizes that students can also be workers on their campus. The button calls for solidarity between students and workers at post-secondary institutions.
The button may have been produced for the Students and Workers United campaign, which appears in a 2019 annual report for CFS Ontario with a picture of the same button. The campaign fought for “greater job security, fair living wages and pensions to foster a high-quality post-secondary education” (Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario, 2019, p. 8).
Along the fold, it indicates that the button is union made in Canada on recycled paper. At the bottom, there is a very small triangle which is possibly a union printing label for the Communications, Energy and Paperworks Union of Canada (CEP/SCEP), whose logo was shaped like a triangle. The CEP dissolved after merging with Unifor in 2013, however, putting it outside of this scope if the button was made for the 2019 campaign.
Union of Unemployed Workers button
This button shows a group of people holding a sign that reads ‘JOBS’. It is a button for the Union of Unemployed Workers. In Ontario, there were unions of unemployed workers in London and Toronto, active during the 1980s-1990s. John Clarke helped form the union in London in 1983, before he eventually became an organizer with the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP) in 1989.
The London union worked with the Toronto Union of Unemployed Workers on the March Against Poverty to demand a 25% increase in social assistance (People's Voice, 2018). The province-wide march took place in 1990 and led to the formation of OCAP. The artist for this button is unknown, although it is signed “C.S. 83”. The button is union-made.
Support CUEW button
This button was designed in 1980 by Karl Beveridge for the Canadian Union of Educational Workers (CUEW). At the time, the union officially became the CUEW. Prior to this, it was part of CUPE Local 3902, which represented teaching assistants and instructors at the University of Toronto and Victoria College.
Contract faculty, instructors, and TAs from Trent University, the University of Ottawa, Athabasca University, the University of Manitoba, Dalhousie University, and Guelph University organized with CUEW in the 1980s and 1990s. In the mid-1990s, the CUEW faced struggles with their finances and leadership. As a result, they rejoined CUPE in 1995 (CUPE 3902, n.d.).
Beveridge is a Toronto-based artist who works alongside fellow artist Carole Condé. They are well-known for their collaborations with unions and community organizations. Their art has appeared in galleries and museums in Canada and internationally. You can read more about Beveridge and Condé as well as their art and involvement in the labour movement on their website.
The button was manufactured by Boothe Kent Co. in Toronto. It is union-made with a Printing Pressman and Assistants Union label in the fold.
Peace is Union Business button
This button was made for the Trade Unionists’ Peace Committee. According to the Connexions directory, there was once an organization with this name in Toronto that is no longer active (Connexions, 2016).
There is also the Trade Union Peace Committee organized in British Columbia around the 1980s. The committee was created in response to the nuclear arms race. It sought to expose how government spending on weaponry affected the economy and workers (CUPE, 1983).
The committee consisted of various trade union representatives, including Frank Kennedy who acted as chairman in its early days. Kennedy was also the president of the End the Arms Race Committee and president of the Vancouver and District Labor Council. The Trade Union Peace Committee organized the 1983 Walk for Peace alongside the End the Arms Race Committee. The event was attended by 65,000 people (Gerow, 1984).
The slogan ‘Peace is Union Business’ is used by the Trade Union Peace Committee. This phrase has been particularly popular in Australia’s labour movement. It was coined by unionists who were against Australia’s involvement in the Vietnam War (Gregory, 2003).
In the fold, it shows that the button was manufactured by Bazaar Novelty Niagara. This is likely Bazaar & Novelty, a retailer that has been selling entertainment merchandise since 1936.
Peace & Jobs United May Day Committee button
The United May Day Committee plans an event for International Workers Day that is celebrated yearly on the first of May. The event is often in addition to a march in Toronto. International Workers Day, also called May Day, is dedicated to honoring workers and recognizing their struggles. Although Canada celebrates Labour Day in September, May Day is honoured by unions and community organizations.
It is unclear what year this button is from but it was likely distributed by the United May Day Committee at a May Day event. This button has an Allied Printing Trades Council union label with the shop number 28 that shows it was union-made in Toronto.
CUPW The Struggle Continues button
CUPW and the Canada Post have clashed many times throughout their history. In 1965, the CUPW won the right for all public service employees to participate in collective bargaining following a wildcat strike. An illegal strike in 1974 won an increase in wages for operators of coding machines, a job that was commonly held by women. The 1981 strike won seventeen weeks of paid maternity leave.
‘The Struggle Continues’ is a common phrase amongst labour unions. It is used often by CUPW to communicate that there is more work to be done for workers' rights. This button does not point to a specific dispute.
CUPE New Democrats button
The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) has a long relationship with the NDP (New Democratic Party). They are a founding partner of the Party, which was a collaboration between the Canadian Labour Congress and the Canadian Commonwealth Federation. In a CUPE document about the Manitoba NDP, the union’s affirmation was “we don’t ‘support’ the NDP – we ARE the NDP” (CUPE, 2015). This button is meant to show this natural connection between the union and the Party. It demonstrates support for the NDP and was likely produced during an election campaign.
This button is union-made. It has an Allied Printing Trades Council Label with the shop number 9.
Union Yes enamel pin
This small enamel pin shows support for unionization and encourages workers to vote for a union in their workplace. These types of pins are quite common and they share many of the same features. There are numerous examples such as this one, with the words “Union Yes” and a checkmark next to “Yes”. The word ‘union’ is typically in blue and ‘yes’ is often in red. The ‘O’ in ‘union’ displays a different logo depending on which union the workers have organized alongside. This particular pin has an older United Steelworkers (USW) logo that shows multiple faces lined up next to each other, encircled by “United Steelworkers of America”. Engraved on the back is the Retail Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) logo.