Fall 2019 - LBST 310 D100

The Politics of Labour (3)

Class Number: 3943

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Sep 3 – Dec 2, 2019: Thu, 2:30–5:20 p.m.

  • Prerequisites:

    30 units. Strongly Recommended: LBST 101.



Explores working class politics and the labour movement in the context of neoliberal economic and public policy, recurring economic crises, the changing nature of work, and declining union membership. Explores electoral politics and organized labour's relationship to political parties. Examines community unionism and workers' roles in social movements focused on civil rights, gender, and the environment, among others. Breadth-Social Sciences.


The course will examine the internal and external politics of unions in Canada as well as their relationship to political parties, new social movements, and society as a whole. Through a combination of lectures, films, small assignments, and class discussions we will consider the state of class struggle in Canada through the lens of politics, both parliamentary and extra parliamentary. We will also examine how class, race, and gender divisions have been faced within the movement and how they have been dealt with. We will consider the role of workers in the struggle for social and economic justice and how the politics of the labour movement intersect (and sometimes clash) with other movements for social justice.


This course will allow students to learn about the contemporary relationship between the labour movement and both parliamentary and extra parliamentary politics in Canada. Students will come away with an understanding of how the organized labour movement, and the working class more broadly, operate politically both in the workplace and society at large. This course will expand students’ knowledge of current concepts in the field of labour studies and politics. The course will draw on students' experiences and research, and we will develop research, writing, and presentation skills through the class assignments. In addition, lectures, tutorial discussions, films, and guest speakers will provide the tools we need to understand the increasingly complex world of labour and politics.


  • Partcipation 15%
  • Short assignment on Labour and Politics 15%
  • Annotated bibliography 10%
  • Presentation 20%
  • Research project 40%


Grading: The letter grade N (incomplete) is given when a student has enrolled for a course, but did not write the final examination or otherwise failed to complete the coursework, and did not withdraw from the course before the deadline date. An N is considered and F for purposes of scholastic standing. 

Grading System: Undergraduate Course Grading System is A+, A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, C-, D, F, N (N standing to indicate the student did not complete).

A+ 95-100 B+ 80-84 C+ 65-69 D 50-54
A 90-94 B 75-79 C 60-64 F 0-49
A- 85-89 B- 70-74 C- 55-59  

Centre for Accessible Learning: Students with hidden or visible disabilities who believe they may need classroom or exam accommodations are encouraged to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (1250 Maggie Benston Centre) as soon as possible to ensure that they are eligible and that approved accommodations and services are implemented in a timely fashion.



Samuel, Christopher. (2017). Conform, Fail, Repeat: How Power Distorts Collective Action. Toronto: Between the Lines.
ISBN: 978-1-771133371

The Graphic History Collective with Althea Balmes, Gord Hill, Orion Keresztesi & David Lester. (2019). Direct Action Gets the Goods: A Graphic History of the Strike in Canada. Toronto: Between the Lines.
ISBN: 978-1-771134170

Additional course readings posted on Canvas.

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html