As part of the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies Founders Seminar series, Suzanne Mills, Associate Professor of Labour Studies and Geography and Earth Sciences at McMaster University will present a talk on the following:

Place-based rights and mobile jobs: the new political economy of work in northern resource development.

When: Friday November 6th, 2015
Time: 2:30- 4:00
Location: Tory Building 202

Over the past thirty years northern Indigenous peoples and governments have sought to challenge employment practises that facilitate the flow of workers from the south to the north. Through provisions in Community Benefit Agreements signed with project owners, Indigenous governments have begun to play a role in the regulation of northern employment. Efforts to challenge the allocation of work in resource industries, however, are embedded in broader shifts in the organization of resource work: declining union power, the use of fly-in, fly-out labour regimes, the internationalization of labour practices and the increased use of subcontracting. In this talk, I draw on case studies from Labrador and Northern Ontario chart how obstacles to the success of CBA provisions for the inclusion of northern Indigenous workers inform our understanding of the contemporary political economy of resource work. I argue that the experiences of Indigenous peoples provide insights into two questions that are central to labour geography: “How do place-based identities structure job competition among workers?” and, “How is worker power shaped and re-shaped by the shifting geography of institutions regulating employment?”

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