Labour History Subject Classifications

The records of this classification consist of manuscripts, drafts and galley proofs, lecture notes, books, and research materials.


A number of articles that have been published in daily newspapers and/or journals are included in this classification. Broadly, the articles are on labour issues, class conflict, poverty issues, tactical voting, democracy and Canadian labour unions, and land systems, among other topics.

Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT)

The record on CAUT is very limited. It is in the form of speeches at CAUT meetings that are contained in an individual fonds.

Collective Agreements

The largest collection consists of collective agreements between York University Faculty Association (YUFA) and York University, but various agreements between other trade unions and their respective employers will also be found. This section also includes records of collective bargaining negotiations. Items identified will also be cross-listed under other classifications, such as YUFA Records.

Communist Parties

The records are mainly of the Communist Party of Canada (CPC), and the American Communist Party. They consist of CPC’s own fonds as well as materials collected/compiled by some party members including papers on the history of the CPC. The American Communist Party’s records are until 1956, and included in it are the minutes of Committee meetings and research materials on American radicalism and European socialism.


The scope of this classification is quite diverse. The records range from material on the American Indian Movement’s (AIM’s) occupation of Wounded Knee, illegal wiretaps by FBI on AIM, the Poor Peoples’ March on Washington (1968), issues of human rights violation and racism, the James Bay Protest (1973), and documents of Parkdale Community Legal Clinic.


The documents under this classification are from the Robert Owen Foundation fonds and concern cooperatives, and cooperative associations and societies in Canada.


This classification’s record consists of correspondence or notes that concern trade union activity, and labour-related organizing efforts.


The Council of York Students Federation (CYSF) fonds covers a broad range of students’ actions in support of labour: from the participation in strikes and boycotts to the formation of committees and launching of campaigns in defence of particular categories of workers.

Labour Conferences

Records of conferences on labour issues and related topics within specific fonds are included in this classfication. The few records of campaigns or actions of solidarity with other unions are also part of this classification.

Labour Journals

This classification includes a collection of labour journals contained in different fonds. In a couple of instances, the fonds may also contain newsletters of various unions. The fonds under this classification are also cross-listed with the Articles/Pamphlets category.

Labour Strikes

The records of various labour strikes, e.g., YUFA, Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW), and others along with information on the Winnipeg General Strike are included in this classification. It also includes information on consumer boycotts or unionization drives of different labour unions.

Photographs/Tape Recordings

The bulk of the photographs are from the Saywell Photograph Collection which depicts various strike actions, including the Winnipeg General Strike, handling of asbestos in the workplace, communist activists, and labour-related photographs in British Columbia. Tape recordings contained in a few fonds are also included in this classification.

Socialist/Social Democratic Parties

The records of this classification consist of correspondence, newsletters and pamphlets of Socialist Workers Party, Sparticist League, Ohio Socialist Party, Socialist Party of Canada, and textual records of Canada’s New Democratic Party (NDP).

Trade Unions

This classification has records that cover a wide range of Canadian and American trade unions. A few documents of the Canadian Congress of Labour are also included in this classification. Some records are limited to collective agreements of various trade unions, while other fonds, such as YUFA’s records, are more comprehensive. With the exception of YUFA’s records, the documents of other trade unions in this classification are not very extensive.

Union Issues

Items under this classification pertain to union surveys, unionization papers, documents relating to workers’ associations, and issues concerning unions and the police. The records of United Electrical Workers’ union and its relationship with the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) are also included in this classification.

Women’s Organizations

This classification consists primarily of the Federation of Women Teachers’ Associations of Ontario (FWTAO) and the Canadian Association of Women in Science fonds. Some documents within the latter fonds are from the National Action Committee on the Status of Women (NAC).

York University

The various fonds under this classification contain documentation that, in addition to being relevant to one of the other classifications, is also related to York University. The fonds are of York’s administrators (the President and Vice President External Relations) and documents within these fonds of York University Staff Association (YUSA) and of YUSA’s strike (1978), as well as relevant documents of the Founders College fonds. The classification is also cross-listed with CYSF and YUFA Records.

YUFA Records

The classification consists of: audio tapes of Joint Grievance Committee hearings, various records, minutes of meetings, reports, surveys, correspondence and papers. Access to many of the records is restricted. YUFA records are also cross-listed with other classifications, such as Collective Agreements or York University.