The Workers History Museum’s exhibit, The Struggle for Family Leave, debuted at our Annual General Meeting on February 27, 2012 and officially launched its tour in late March at Carleton University’s Centre for Public History. Since then it has been on the move touring various venues across Ontario and Canada.
At all of these events, there have been very positive comments about this project which shows how unions and labour activists worked to gain rights for families and working parents. Many younger viewers were not aware of how long it took to get maternity leave and other benefits. A number of people did not know that the first ones to get maternity leave were at the University of British Columbia. It has been very informative even to those who were part of the struggle.
Where it’s been:
In March, the exhibit was displayed for 1500 employees working at the National Defence Headquarters in Gatineau. It then went to the President’s Conference for the Union of Taxation Employees and was viewed by their 150 delegates.
The exhibit next went to the Quebec Federation of Labour’s Women’s Conference held in Montreal where over 400 women were in attendance. In mid-April the Canadian Union of Postal Workers on Bank Street displayed the exhibit in their lobby.
At the end of April and beginning of May, the exhibit was on display at the Public Service Alliance of Canada’s triennial convention for four days after being at the Canadian Association of University Teachers conference for the weekend.
In addition, for the May Day events held on May 1st, the exhibit went to two different venues, then back to the PSAC convention. To finish off this very busy week, the exhibit was at the Canadian Dimensions dinner on Saturday May 5th. Later that month the exhibit went to the Canadian Labour Congress Women’s Conference and then on to an event in Cornwall for the Union of Canadian Transportation Employees.
In early June, the Communications Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada hosted the exhibit at their National Executive Board meeting in Ottawa. In mid-June the exhibit travelled to Edmonton for the Alberta Labour History Institute conference.
In August the exhibit was displayed at the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation conference in Toronto. The OSSTF loved the exhibit so much that they’ve asked for it back in March and May 2013! The teachers were also wonderful in reviewing the early drafts of the educational and take home materials created by our summer student which will now accompany the exhibit as it tours.
Where it’s going:
In September, the exhibit is off to Port Elgin, Ontario to the Canadian Union of Postal Workers Residential Education Program for a week.
In October at the SAW Gallery in Ottawa, the exhibit will accompany the official launch of its coinciding documentary “Fighting for our Families” which will feature a panel discussion and wine and cheese. This event is open to the public and is free to attend.
From November 17th to December 21st, the exhibit will enjoy a six week stay at the Workers’ Arts and Heritage Centre in Hamilton.
Where it could be in the future:
The exhibit is in both English and French and comprised of five free-standing panels. It has been on loan for special events lasting a couple of hours to a week, and is also touring for extended visits at museums.
If you would like to host the Struggle for Family Leave exhibit, please contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org