Unions and the City: Negotiating Urban Change

Edited by Ian Thomas MacDonald

Cornell University Press

$ 134.95 CAD Cloth, 272 pages ISBN 9781501706547

$ 44.95 CAD Paper, 272 pages ISBN 9781501706820


Written by a US-Canadian team of labour researchers and labour geographers, Unions and the City: Negotiating Urban Change investigates how and why labour unions are becoming more involved in urban struggles, regulation and planning in New York City and Toronto. The contributors assess the effectiveness of this involvement in terms of labour goals—such as protecting employment levels, retaining bargaining relationships with employers, and organizing new workforces—as well as broader social consequences of union strategies, such as expanding access to public services, improving employment equity, and making neighbourhoods more affordable. Focusing on four key economic sectors (film, hospitality, green energy, and child care), this book reveals that unions can exert a surprising level of influence in various aspects of urban policymaking and that they can have a significant impact on the nature of urban change.


If we are right to believe that the future of the labour movement is an urban one, union activists and staffers, elected officials and members of the public alike will require a fuller understanding of what impels unions to become involved in urban planning issues, what dilemmas structure the choices unions make, and what impact unions have on the lives of urban residents beyond their members. This book contributes to that understanding in the hope that it may serve as a roadmap towards both a stronger labour movement and a socially just urbanism.

In Canada order through University of Toronto Press Distribution (UTP).

Quote Promo Code – URBA for a 30% discount.

Email: utpbooks@utpress.utoronto.ca

Telephone: 1-800-565-9523


In the United States order online @ http://www.cornellpress.cornell.edu/book/?GCOI=80140100872890

Quote Promo Code 09CAU6 for a 30% discount.

United States: 1-800-848-6224

UK & Europe: +44 (0) 1752 202301


We are holding a book launch in Toronto on June 1st during the meetings of the Canadian Industrial Relations Association (CIRA) and the Canadian Association for Work and Labour Studies (CAWLS). A panel of labour leaders and activists will be responding to the work in the presence of the Toronto-based authors. This is a free event.

For event details, please see:





Volume contributors:
Simon Black, Brock University; Maria Figueroa, Cornell University; Lois S. Gray, Cornell University; Ian Thomas MacDonald, Université de Montréal; James Nugent, University of Toronto; Susanna F. Schaller, City College Center for Worker Education; Steven Tufts, York University; K. C. Wagner, Cornell University; Mildred Warner, Cornell University; Thorben Wieditz, York University