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Since 1990, The Word On The Street has proudly hosted some of the finest talent in Canadian literature. Our 27th festival is shaping up to be one of our best yet. Check out all of the authors, performers, and storytellers below!
Joan Roberts served as a union organizer for the phone operators at Bell Canada. She later worked as a development consultant for the Labour Council Development Foundation. Currently, she runs a training and consulting practice. She lives in Toronto.
The story of the Bell Canada union drive and the phone operator strike that brought sweeping reform to women’s workplace rights.
In the 1970s, Bell Canada was Canada’s largest corporation. It employed thousands of people, including a large number of women who worked as operators and endured very poor pay and working conditions. Joan Roberts, a former operator, tells the story of how she and a group of dedicated labour organizers helped to initiate a campaign to unionize Bell Canada’s operators. From the point of view of the workers and the organizers, Roberts tells an important story in Canada’s labour history. The unionization of Bell Canada’s operators was a huge victory for Canada’s working women. The victory at Bell established new standards for women in other so-called “pink-collar” jobs.