Women at the bargaining table. White collar unionization at Carleton University is a 22-minute documentary film that tells the story of union activism at Carleton University in the mid-1970s.

Featuring five of the women who led the faculty, support staff and librarians union movements on campus, the film captures the drive and passion of workers to overturn entrenched collegial employee/management relations and secure “the rule of law and more equitable working conditions.

By 1976, the Carleton University Academic Staff Association (CUASA) and the Carleton University Support Staff Association (CUSSA) were both certified for collective bargaining. This made the university amongst the first in the country to have white collar unions for both academic and support staff.

This documentary is based on my master’s thesis Solidarity by Association: The Unionization of Faculty, Academic Librarians and Support Staff at Carleton University (1973-1976). This thesis won the Eugene A. Forsey Prize in 2014. The Eugene A. Forsey Prize is given by the Canadian Historical Association for the best thesis in labour history.

Sponsors for the film and screening include the Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 2424 (CUPE 2424), the Carleton University Academic Staff Association, the Carleton Centre for Public History, the Centre for Research and Education on Women and Work (Carleton University, and the Workers’ History Museum.