Canadian Seaman's Union

Canadian Seaman's Union, established 1936 to improve the archaic working conditions and wages for ordinary commercial seamen.

Canadian Seaman's Union

Canadian Seaman's Union, established 1936 to improve the archaic working conditions and wages for ordinary commercial seamen. Affiliated to the TRADES AND LABOR CONGRESS, this effective, well-supported, nationalist, communist-led industrial union contributed handsomely to Canada's WWII effort despite the leadership's flip-flops. It gained concessions, was recognized as collective-bargaining agent for ordinary seamen, and fought unsuccessfully to retain Canada's merchant fleet, the Western world's fourth largest.

Using the red scare (although most members were not communist) and an ill-timed strike in 1949, some shipping companies, including the federal government's, in collusion with the government and Canadian union leaders pressured by US international unionists, imported a known criminal, Hal BANKS of the SEAFARERS' INTERNATIONAL UNION, who violently broke the CSU. The SIU (Canadian branch) a quasi-company union, was stripped of its union status and disaffiliated by the TLC in 1950. National unionism lost, temporarily.