In this indispensable study of Canadian industrialization, Craig Heron examines the huge steel plants that were built at the turn of the twentieth century in Sydney and New Glasgow, Nova Scotia, and Trenton, Hamilton, and Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. Presenting a stimulating analysis of the Canadian working class in the early twentieth century, Working in Steel emphasizes the importance of changes in the work world for the larger patterns of working-class life.
Heron's examination of the impact of new technology in Canada's Second Industrial Revolution challenges the popular notion that mass-production workers lost all skill, power, and pride in the work process. He shifts the explanation of managerial control in these plants from machines to the blunt authoritarianism and shrewd paternalism of corporate management. His discussion of Canada's first steelworkers illuminates the uneven, unpredictable, and conflict-ridden process of technological change in industrial capitalist society. As engaging today as when first published in 1988, Working in Steel remains an essential work in Canadian history.