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Redistributing union power to women : the experiences of two women’s committees Foley, Janice R. 1995-06-04

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REDISTRIBUTING UNION POWER TO WOMEN:THE EXPERIENCES OF TWOWOMEN’S COMMIflEESbyJANICE RUTH FOLEYB.Comm., University ofManitoba, 1976B.Ed. Brandon University, 1986M.EC1. University ofManitoba, 1988A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENTOFTHE REQUIREMENTS FOR THEDEGREE OFDOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHYinTHE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIESFaculty of Commerce and Business AdministrationWe accept this thesis as conformingto the equir stand d.THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIAAPRIL, 1995Janice Ruth Foley, 1995In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilmentof the requirements for an advanceddegree at the Universityof British Columbia, I agreethat the Library shall make itfreely available for reference andstudy. I further agree that permissionfor extensivecopying of this thesis for scholarlypurposes may be grantedby the head of mydepartment or by his or herrepresentatives. it is understoodthat copying orpublication of this thesis forfinancial gain shall notbe allowed without my writtenpermission.(Signature)‘2A/Department of i1-ittfrThe University of British ColumbiaVancouver, CanadaDate/4/3,,1DE-6(2188)11Abstract:This study examined women’s committees in two public sector unions in BritishColumbia withpredominantly female memberships over a twenty year period. The questionaddressed was how and under what circumstances the committees could secure gains forwomen, given a context where women remain at a power disadvantage relative to men.Gains sought were of three types: 1) improvements in contract clauses particularlybeneficial to women; 2) increased female participation in union governance; and 3)structural changes conduciveto future increases infemaleparticipationinuniongovernance.Structures as defmed included both formal structures and other regularized procedures,including processes of communication, decision making and resource distribution.Based on literatures from several disciplines, a power model was developed thatguided data collection. Data were collected via archival research and semi-structuredinterviews, and analyzed qualitatively.The study found that the structures governing how the committees operated weresignificant factors in committee effectiveness and that the active cooperation of theleadership and/or the membership ensured that structures conducive to committeeeffectiveness existed. The committees’ major challenge was to align their goals with thoseof the leadership or the membership in order to generate the level of support that wouldpermit them to achieve their goals. The degree of alignment between committee andmembership goals affected to what extent the committee could secure goals not supportedby the leadership and was the major variable affecting committee power. However,committee power was not necessarily associated withthe level ofgains achieved forwomen111because both leadership and membershipactions and existing unionstructures could induceoutcomes for women not orchestratedby the committees.As a result ofthis research, the initial powermodel was refined and therestrictionsonthe committees’ and leaderships’use ofpower were clarified.The utility ofcrossingthedisciplinary boundaries between organizationaltheory, industrial relations, andpoliticalscience to explore how power is exercisedin unions was demonstrated.Support for thepolitical model of organizations was generated,suggesting that insights gainedfrom thestudy ofunions might advanceorganizational theorizing.ivTABLE OF CONTENTSPageAbstract iiTable of Contents ivList of Tables ixList of Figures xAcknowledgement xiChapter 1. Introduction to the Study 1The Problem 4Purpose of the Study 5Relevant Literature 5Need For the Study 6Limitations 7Chapter 2. Literature Review 9Introduction 9Women’s Committees 10Women’s Committees and the Women’s Movement 10Women’s Committees as Social Movements 11Social Movement Theory 12Applicability of Social Movement Literature 24to Women’s CommitteesIndustrial Relations Theory 31Organizational Theory 37Power 37Committee Effectiveness 43Chapter 3. Theoretical Model and Methodology 45Theoretical Model 45Definitions 46Explanation of the Theoretical Model 48Variables and Operationalizations 49Methodology 52Introduction 52Population and Sample 53B.C. Government and Service Employees’ Union 55B.C. Teachers’ Federation 57Procedures and Overview of Research Design 60VMethodology (cont’d).Data Collection Procedures 61Data Analysis 65Chapter 4. Case Study ofthe B.C. Teachers’ Federation 69Introduction 69Background to the Establishment of the Task Force 71Examination of the Status of Women Program, 1973-1977 72Discussion of the Theoretical Model 721. Environment 722. Levels of Support For the Status 73of Women ProgramMembership 73Leadership 753. Structures 77Union 77Program 784. Committee Activities and Characteristics 795. Potential For Gains 82Examination of Gains Achieved Over the Period 83Examination of the Status of Women Program, 1977-1981 85Discussion of the Theoretical Model 851. Environment 852. Levels of Support For the Status 86of Women ProgramMembership 86Leadership 893. Structures 90Union 90Program 914. Committee Activities and Characteristics 915. Potential For Gains 93Examination of Gains Achieved Over the Period 95Discussion 97Examination of the Status of Women Program, 1981-1988 99Discussion of the Theoretical Model 991. Environment 99viExamination of the Status of Women Program, 1981-1988 (cont’d).2. Levels of Support For the Status 102of Women ProgramMembership 102Leadership 1073. Structures 108Union 108Program 1094. Committee Activities and Characteristics 1105. Potential For Gains 113Examination of Gains Achieved Over the Period 116Discussion 118Examination of the Status of Women Program, 1988-Present 122Discussion of the Theoretical Model 1221. Environment 1222. Levels of Support For the Status 124ofWomen ProgramMembership 124Leadership 1263. Structures 130Union 130Program 1314. Committee Activities and Characteristics 1335. Potential For Gains 137Examination of Gains Achieved Over the Period 138Discussion 140Summary and Conclusions 143Summary 143Conclusions Regarding the Theoretical Model 146Other Conclusions 148Chapter 5. Case Study of the B.C. Government andService Employees’ Union 156Introduction 156Analytical Framework Employed 158Union Structures 159Governance Structures 159Centralization of Union Structures 161Women’s Committee’s Structures 166viiExamination of Feminist Activism, 1975-1987168Discussion of the Theoretical Model 1681. Environment1682. Levels of Support For the Women’s Committee173Leadership 173Membership 1783. Structures1814. Committee Activities and Characteristics1845. Potential For Gains187Actual Gains Achieved In Period One190Discussion196Examination of Feminist Activism After 1987200The Rise of Militancy in Component 12200Structures Affecting Militancy Early in Period 2201Discussion of the Theoretical Model For Period 22051. Environment2052. Levels of Support For Feminist Activism206Leadership 206Membership2103. Structures2124. Committee Activities and Characteristics2185. Potential For Gains225Actual Gains Achieved In Period Two227Summary and Conclusions233Summary233Conclusions Regarding the Theoretical Model236Other Conclusions238Chapter 6. Summary and Conclusions247Summary of Research Project247Framework of the Chapter248Conclusions Regarding the TheoreticalModel 248Summary of Research Findings248Cross-Case Analysis252Synthesis of Research Findings258The Revised Theoretical Model266Propositions269vm Other Conclusions 270 Conclusions Drawn From Social Movement Theory 270 Conclusions Drawn From Organizational Theory 274 and Industrial Relations Limitations of the Study 28Contributions of the Study 285 Future Research Directions 287 References 296 Appendices 305 Appendix A 30Appendix BAppendix C 7 ixLIST OF TABLESPageTable 1 Analysis of Tactics 151Table 1.1 Total Tactics Employed By Period 151Table 1.2 Total Political and Educational Tactics 152Employed By PeriodTable 1.3 Total Externally- and Internally-Directed Tactics 152Table 2 Analysis of Resolutions to the AGM 153Table 3 Gains Realized By Category By Period 154Table 3.1 Governance Improvements 154Table 3.2 Structural Change 154Table 3.3 Bargaining Gains 155Table 4 Origin of Women’s Resolutions Brought Forward 242Table 4.1 Period One 242Table 4.2 Period Two 242Table 5 Disposition of Women’s Resolutions 243Table 5.1 Period One 243Table 5.2 Period Two 243Table 6 Female Participation in BCGEU vs. Total Participation 244Table 6.1 Period One 244Table 6.2 Period Two 244Table 7 Women’s Resolutions Brought Forward 245Table 8 Gains Realized By Category By Period 246Table 8.1 Governance Improvements 246Table 8.2 Structural Change 246Table 9 Cross-Case Comparison 293Table 9.1 Types of Resolutions Brought to Convention 293Table 9.2 Types of Resolutions Passed 294Table 9.3 Female Participation Achieved 295xLIST OF FIGURESPageFigure 1. Preliminary Model of Power45Figure 2. BCTF Conclusions289Figure 3. BCGEU Conclusions290Figure 4. Combined BCTF and BCGEU Conclusions 291Figure 5. Revised Power Model292xiACKNOWLEDGEMENTI would like to thank Mark Thompson and allmy committee members for thecontributions they have made to this researchproject. I also want to thank mystaunchsupporters back in Winnipeg, particularly my motherand my sister Donna, for withouttheirencouragement, I might have given up. To the restof my family in Calgary, Regina andTexas, and my friends, thank you as well. I knewyou were all rooting for me.Most of all, I would like to thank the BCTF andBCGEU for allowing me access totheir archives and theirmembers, and all ofthe peoplewho participated inthe study. Withoutyour cooperation, this study would not have been possible.1Chapter 1. Introduction To The StudyWomen face many challenges in the labour market that are partially related to thestereotypes that exist about women and women’s work (Armstrong and Armstrong, 1990;Burton, 1992; Kanter, 1977). Some important aspects of these stereotypes pertaintowomen’s lack of suitability for high-pressured, high authority positions, and their lack ofcommitment to the workforce because of home and family responsibilities (Ghiloni, 1987;Mills, 1992). These stereotypesçlead to discriminatory hiring and promotionpractices,and it is difficult to refute the evidence suggesting that discrimination occurs’.Efforts have been made to change this situation. Governments have passedaffirmative action and pay equity legislation, made efforts to improve training opportunitiesfor women, and increased the number ofdaycare spaces available. Nevertheless, the male-female wage gap persists (Gunderson and Robb, 1991). A more effective solution mayinvolve collective action in the workplace (Acker, 1992; Ostrander, 1987; Steinberg andCook, 1988; Stevensen, 1988).Unionization is one form of collective action that could help Canadian women(Gunderson, 1989; Craig, 1986), because Canadian unions are reputed to be ideologicallycommitted to improving the conditionofworkingpeople (Morton, 1989). Consequently,women’s concerns shouldgainprominence as more and more womenenter the labour forceFor example, working women tend to be found in the lower ranks of organizationalhierarchies (Hearn and Parkin, 1992; O’Leary and Ickovics, 1992) and two-thirds of Canadianworking women occupy clerical, sales, and support service positions where pay is low, jobs areroutine, and opportunities for advancement are restricted (Grant and Tancred, 1992).2and join unions. However, the outcomes to date of unionization for women have beenmixed.Unionizedfemaleworkers dotend to enjoybetterwages andworkingconditions, andhave greater protectionagainst arbitrary management actions than do non-unionized femaleworkers (Armstrongand Armstrong, 1984; Berheide, 1988; Gunderson, 1989; Gutek, 1988;O’Farrell, 1988). But even within unionized workforces, the pattern of occupationalsegregation by sex and the male-female wage gap persist. Also, while some progress hasbeen made, in general contract improvements in areas of special significance to femaleworkers, such as better access to childcare, elimination of sexual harassment, improvedtraining opportunities, and improved benefits for part-time workers, have been slow tomaterialize. Similarly, female participation in union governance is low, particularly athigher levels in the union (Briskin, 1990; Christensen, 1988; Hearn and Parkin, 1992;Heery and Fosh, 1990; Rees, 1990).Consequently, the question of whether or not unions are truly committed toimproving the lot of working women has arisen. They have been charged with purposelypromoting the interests ofthe male membership at the expense ofthe female membership.The fact thatproblems persist that have long been identified as particularly troublesome forwomen gives some support for this claim. Two of these problems are the timing andlocation of union meetings, and the lack of encouragement given to female members tospeak out at union meetings and to run for office (Acker, 1992; Rees, 1990). Theseproblems have contributed to the under-representation of women on union executives,particularly at the vice presidential and presidential levels, and on influential committees3such as bargaining committees (Dickens and Coiling, 1990). Consequently, women’sinterests have beeneasierto overlook indecisionmaking (Armstrong and Armstrong, 1990;Coverman, 1988; Heery and Fosh, 1990; O’Farrell, 1988; Rees, 1990).Despite these charges, there is evidence that at least some unions have historicallymade efforts to promote women’s concerns. For example, the United Auto Workersestablished a women’s department in 1944, and in 1962 mandated the establishment ofwomen’s committees in union locals. Similarly, the Confederation of National TradeUnions established a women’s committee in 1953 (Guberman, 1983). However, theseformally-created and leadership-controlled women’s committees in unions, unionfederations, and union confederations have only been in place in Canada and Quebec sincethe mid-1970’s. They arose with the reemergence of the women’s movement in the early1970’s, and their stated purpose was to force theirunions to fightaggressively for women’srights (Field, 1983). Their role has been to convey women’s concerns to the executive, toeducate the membership about issues of particular significance to women, and to initiatetraining and other programs to address women’s concerns and prepare them for leadershiproles.They have enjoyed a measure of success. Due to their efforts, some unions arecurrently providing daycare facilities to enable womento more easily attendunionmeetingsand conventions, and special initiatives are being undertaken to better ensure that femaleconcerns get onto the decision making and collective bargaining agendas. In some cases,vice-presidentialpositions to be heldonly by women are being created, and efforts are being4made to encourage women to seek union office. Some increases in female participation inunion affairs have been noted (Briskin, 1990).However, the existence of women’s committees has not guaranteed their success(Field, 1983). The status quo, theunionbureaucracy, the close connections to the leadershipand member apathy and resistance have impaired their effectiveness (Briskin, 1990; Briskinand Yanz, 1983). In some cases, the establishment of women’s connnittees by unionexecutives has been seen as a mere attemptto appease female members by making it appearthatunions are concerned with their welfare when in reality they are not. It has been notedthatthe creationofspecial committees to address women’s issues marginalizes these issues,making change unlikely (Briskin, 1991; Chaison and Rose, 1989; Dickens and Coiling,1990; Grant and Tancred, 1992; Wine and Ristock, 1991). It has been further noted thatthese committees are not very powerful in any event, which diminishes their abilityto bringabout significant improvements for women (Dickens and Colling, 1990; Ackers, 1992).The Problem:Giventhe controversy regarding women’s committees’ abilityto bring aboutchangesbeneficial to working women, and the tendency for the female membership to beoutnumbered and outranked in the union, the problem I explore in this study is, how andunder what circumstances can women’s committees secure tangible gains for women, givena context where womenhave traditionally been, andcontinue tobe, at a powerdisadvantagerelative to men.5Purpose ofthe Study:The major purposes ofthis study are: 1) to gain a betterunderstanding ofhow gainsfor women are achieved and obstructed; 2) to attempt to validate a theoretical model ofpower applicable to women’s committees; and 3) to understand theprocesses throughwhichpower is acquired and maintained.Relevant Literature:The problem described above is not adequately addressed in the organizationaltheory, industrial relations, political science, orfeministliteratures, althougheach literatureoffers some insights. The organizational literature identifies power resources arising fromorganizational structures that might be applicable to women’s committees in unions and anumber of factors that impact upon committee effectiveness.An extensive literature in industrial relations discusses how democratic unions areinevitably transformed into leadership-controlled unions as union affairs become morecomplex and specialized. As power increasingly becomes centralized in the hands of theleadership, leadership support for women’s issues may affect how successfully women’scommittees can influence outcomes. Hence, the factors contributing to the centralization ofpower within unions may be important in determining the level of support the women’scommittee enjoys inside the union.The political science literature is useful in that it identifies forces conducive tochanging political systems, and addresses social movement phenomena. Since women’scommittees, like social movement organizations, must exert political pressure in order to6change the status quo, the social movement literature potentially provides insight into thepreconditions for the success of these movements. Also, since women’s committees haveconnections with the women’s movement, the strategies and tactics employed by the lattermay be relevant to women’s committees as well.Finally, since the need for women to work collectively within organizations toadvance their interests would not arise in a non-patriarchal society, this study is mostfundamentally informed by the feminist critique of the structures and processes ofpatriarchal society, reproduced within bureaucratic organizations, which disadvantagewomen. The feminist literature shaped my interest in and my approach to, this researchtopic. Inparticular, it indicatedthatwomen’s voicehas beensubmerged indominantsocietaldiscourses, and consequently dictated that a primarily exploratory qualitative approachshould be taken in addressing the research problem. Of course, since there has been littleresearch in the academic literature with respect to women’s committees, an exploratoryapproach was necessary in any event.Need for the Study:First, the need to find ways to equalize women’s status in the labour market in itselfmade the study worthwhile. Second, there was also a need for additionalempirical researchon power: 1) to contribute to our understanding ofthe concept ofpower (March, 1966), itsutilization, and its consequences (Salancik and Pfeffer, 1977) forlltypes oforganizations,including unions; and 2) to overcome the paucity ofextant research that reveals how poweris retained in the hands of leadership groups, allowing them to maintain control over7privileged positions and opportunities (Martin, 1992).This study proposed to study powerby examining how it was constituted and exercisedwithin unions, and how it affectedoutcomes for women. Third, this study providedan opportunity to integrate the manydifferentperspectives onpowerthat havebeen advancedinthe differentdisciplines to arriveat a more complete model of how structures and processesaffect power.Finally, there is a need for unions to understandhow their own structures andinternal dynamics may be undermining their futuresurvival, which rests upon their abilityto show currently unorganized groups in the labourmarket, such as female and otherminority group workers, that unionization will benefitthem. Clarifying the obstacles to thesuccessful functioning of women’s committees shouldbe helpful.Limitations:The major limitation ofthis study is that, since it involved intensive examinationofonly two women’s committees in B.C.-based unions inthe public sector, generalizationsfrom the findings must be treated with caution. This was unavoidable,for it was anexploratory studyofa largelyunresearched topic area, andtime and resource considerationsrestricted my choices. Another limitation was a substantialdependence on materialsavailable from archival sources which were occasionally missing or otherwiseunavailable,not comparable between the two cases, and not amenable toquantification to back upstatements made in interviews. Furthermore, the interview data wasperceptual and hard toverify across respondents, and there is the possibility that not allrespondents werecompletely candid with me. However, these problemswere minimized as much as possible.8A more serious limitationis that I may have been a source ofbias inthe interviews,although I guarded against the latter during the interviews and the case write-ups.Nevertheless, ideally this research would have been done with a research team so thatperceptual biases and blind spots could have been overcome.9Chapter 2. Literature ReviewIntroduction:As mentioned in the previous chapter, the problem addressed in this study was howand under what circumstances women’s committees inunions were able to secure gains forwomen. The literature that is relevant to this problem extends beyond the boundaries oforganizational theory, to incorporate the literatures in industrial relations, feminist theoryand political science. There are a number of reasons for this, but among them are thefollowing: 1) organizational theorists have demonstrated little interest in the internaldynamics ofunions, so the applicability of the power literature to union organizations hasnot been established; 2) attention has been directed to the internal politics ofunions in theindustrial relations and political science literatures, so these literature must be considered;3) gender issues are central to this problem, and while the organizational literature hasbegun to address these issues, historically it has been gender-blind and a gendered theoryofpower has yet to be developed; finally, 4) the feministliterature addressing the women’smovement is more pertinent to the activities of women’s committees, since their aims andconstituencies are similar.My intentionwas to integratethose aspects ofthe organizational, industrial relations,and the social movement/women’s movement literature found in political science thatpertained to my problem in providing a theoretical framework for this study. There weresome difficulties to overcome indoing so, because the social movement/women’smovementliterature generally addresses inter-organizationalratherthanintra-organizationalbehaviour,10and identifies inter-organizational rather than intra-organizationalstructures, processes andpower resource deficiencies impeding the advancementof women. Therefore, the ideasarising from that literature were examined critically.My strategy was: 1) to examinechliterature separately, in order to identifystructures, processes, strategies and tactics, and powerresources conducive to advancingspecial interests; 2) to determine which ofthemmight be relevant to women’s committees;and 3) to incorporate those that were relevant intoa theoretical model ofpower applicableto women’s committees. Before discussing the literaturebearing on the theoretical model,I will review the links between women’s committeesand the women’s movement in orderto explain why the women’s movement has special relevance for thisstudy.Women’s CommitteesWomen’s Committees and the Women’s Movement:Since the late 1970’s, the women’s movement has attempted to broadenits supportbase to make greater strides towards women’s equality (Adamson,Briskin and McPhail,1988; Briskin and Yanz, 1983; Dumont, 1986; Wineand Ristock, 1991). Part ofits strategyhas been to form alliances with associated movements, suchas the peace movement and thelabour movement. Consequently, female activists unaffiliatedwith organized labour havesupported job action, have participated in demonstrations, andin other ways havedemonstrated solidarity with the organized labour movement,in order to help securebenefits for women. Furthermore, women active withinthe labour movement have soughtout other experienced activists within the labour movementand from the women’s11movement in an effort to promote advances for women. The experienceof the women’smovementhas shownthat womenmust stand together ifgains areto be made, because thereare formidable barriers to success (Briskin and Yanz, 1983;Wine and Ristock, 1991).Therefore, it is extremely likely that female activists within unions willhave connectionswith female activists in the women’s movement.Women’s Committees as Social Movements:A social movement is generally seen as “a collectivity acting withsome continuityto promote or resist a change in the society or group of whichit is a part” (Turner andKillian, 1972, p.246). It is distinct from a special interest group inthat it attempts to gaina permanent powerpositionand pursues goals that extend beyond the specialinterests of itsmembership (Wilson, 1973). Since the social movement literaturehas been applied to theanalysis ofthe women’s movement (Costain, 1992), it mayalso be useful in the analysis ofwomen’s committees. Within that literature, the women’s movementis considered a socialmovement, and the organizations through which social movementgoals are realized arelabelled social movement organizations.Since there is a great diversity ofwomen’s committees, it is difficultto situate anyone of them in either the interest group or social movementcategory without knowing itsspecific goals. However, since the growth ofwomen’s committeeswas inspired by a socialmovement (ie. the women’s movement), I initially assumed thatwomen’s committeespursueconcerns that extend beyond the employment situation2,andshould therefore be seen as2One example is the mandate ofthe women’s committee in the Confederationof NationalTrade Unions, which included fighting for freeand accessible contraception and abortion(Guberman, 1983).12social movement organizations.Envisioning women’s committees as social movement organizations has twoadvantages. First, it helps to explain female unionists’ willingness to serve on women’scommittees, which is otherwise problematic. The odds against their success may be veryhigh because they threaten male privilege, and women’s committees are unlikely to bepowerful enoughto succeedwithoutthe supportofamale-dominated leadership cadre. Theirinvolvement is difficult to explain in terms of self-interest, which is the explanation thatwould be invoked in the organizational power and politics literature in the case of specialinterest group formation, because the emotional the physical costs of involvement areenormous3.Second, it legitimates the incorporation of insights about collective behaviourfound in political science into the study of women’s committees. I will now examinethatliterature.Social Movement TheorySince the early 1970’s, the dominant theory in the social movement literature hasbeen the resource mobilizationtheory. It has three variants, the rational actor approach, theorganizational-entrepreneurial approach, and the political process approach, but they sharethe following set of beliefs (Morris and Herring, 1987, p.157):There is no fundamental difference between movement behaviour andinstitutionalized behaviour; movement participants and their actions are rational;social movements pursue interests; movement mobilization occurs through aninfrastructure or power base; outcomes ofcollective action are central, and they areproducts of strategic choices made by participants; either support or repression byBased on personal conversation with a past-chairperson of a women’s committee.13elite groups can affect the outcomes ofmovements.The variant that has been most useful in analyzingthe women’s movement is the politicalprocess model (Costain, 1992), while the organizational-entrepreneurialmodel is thedominant approach within resource mobilizationtheory. The ensuing discussion will focuson these two models.The political process approach focuses on thestudy of the political process andcollectivebehaviour, and sees the latter’scentral dynamicas the strugglebetweeninsurgentsand authorities (Gamson, 1975; Tilly, 1978).Incontrast, the organizational-entrepreneurialmodel sees social movements as orchestrated by professionalsocial movement leaders andactivists, and dependentfor success on the abilityto attract and maintaina flow ofresources(Zald and McCarthy, 1987).The resources identified as important in the organizational-entrepreneurialapproachinclude tangible assets such as money and officespace, specialized resources such asexperienced leadership, access to communicationnetworks, and access to decision makers,and unspecialized resources such as membership commitment(Freeman, 1979). Politicalprocess theorists do not dispute the need for suchresources, but emphasize the need for afavourable “structure of political opportunity” (McAdam,McCarthy and Zald, 1988).Since these theorists see social movement groups as challengergroups lacking legitimacyin the eyes ofthe authorities, they see themas locked into a power struggle with authoritieswho have the resources to destroy them, which forcesthem to seek powerful supportersfrom within the system.This refers to the group’s ability to gaina receptive hearing within the political system.14It shouldbe noted that having the resources needed to achieve certain outcomes doesnot necessarily impiy a willingness to use them to that end (Freeman, 1979). This appliesto both the challenger group and the authority. Values, past experience, reference groups,anticipated consequences, and relationships with the other group can act as constraints onresource use. In the case of the authorities, indications are that they will avoid using theirpower to destroy socialmovementorganizations when: 1) the goals ofthe challenger groupsand the authorities are aligned; 2) the authority wishes to form an alliance with such groupsto promote its political interests; or 3) its legitimacy might be damaged by using repressivetactics againstthe challenger group whenthe latter enjoys a measure ofpublic support (Zaldand Berger, 1987). Butthe threat ofrepressive actionis always apossibility for a challengergroup, which forces them into a power struggle.Political process theorists try to determine what social structures and processesenable challengers to succeed at theirtask. The firstrequirement is to attract supporters anddevelop the organizations throughwhichcollective action canbe launched. Then, resourcesmust be amassed to make collective action possible. In addition, the membership must beactivated and the threat posed by the authorities neutralized, to bring the social movementinto existence. Ifthe authorities are not neutralized, the social movement can die before itis born. Once the movement is successfully launched, a great deal of effort is required tokeep it alive. It is this aspect of the theory that is most pertinent to my study (McAdam etal., 1988; Morris and Herring, 1987; Turner and Killian, 1972).The literature indicates that as they grow, social movements face four crucialchallenges (Wilson, 1973). The first is to reconcile the need to change the system with the15need to work withinthe system in order to survive. The second is to make progress towardgoal achievement in order to maintain member commitment, but never quite reach it, inorder to keep the social movement vital (Zald and Ash, 1966). The third isto prevent splitsfrom occurring within the membership, so that solidarity can be maintained. The fourth isto set up an organizational structure that will facilitate goal attainment. Each of thesechallenges deserves comment.The first challenge is extremely difficult to meet, because the two goals are quitecontradictory. A social movement is dedicated to changing the status quo, and it is difficultto do so because established authorities are bound to resist if they can. Operating in amanner that will not threaten the authority’s interests is likely to result in an inability tobring about change, a loss of legitimacy in the eyes of supporters, and possibly a loss ofmembers. But acting too aggressively can alienate not only the authorities whose supportis needed to effect the desired changes, but also the general public and possibly some ofthemembership. To neutralize a challenge, the authorities are likely to attempt to coopt orincorporate social movementorganizations into the political establishment, or to cut offthesocial movement’s access to resources. Where the social movement organization is unableto neutralize these threats, it is forced to abandon its pursuit of social change.The social movement organization may succumb to the authority’s influence for anumber of reasons. Cooptation is particularly likely if the leader is vulnerable to materialincentives and more concerned about the movement’s continued existence than itseffectiveness. The greater concern for continuity in turn is most likely whenthe movement16becomes becalmed (Zald and Ash, 1966). This is most likely to happen once it has beeninstitutionalized, meaning that the government has set up official structures to address themovement’s demands. At that point, the social movement’s goals shift to societalaccommodation rather than change, and the members’ goals shift to those derived frombelonging to a group. If leaders align themselves with authorities, they ensure theircontinuedleadership andthe socialmovement’scontinuedexistence becauseoftheresourcesthat the authorities will then make available to the movement. If leaders refuse to alignthemselves with the authorities, they put the movement at risk ofmarginalization, that is ofnever getting the authorities to take its demands seriously. Researchers have noted thatbothmarginalization and institutionalization are detrimental to change (Adamson et al., 1988;Briskin and Yanz, 1983; Dumont, 1986; Turner and Killian, 1972) but hard to avoid.The second challenge is to make some progress with respect to goal achievement,but to never actually succeed. Once success is achieved, there is no longer a need for thesocial movement. Too much success can lead supporters to abandon a movement in favourof another, more needy, movement. Too little success results in low morale and apathy,because there is no pay-off for the members’ efforts. It can ultimately lead to reducedmembership and even social movement failure. So social movements walk a very tenuousline between vibrancy and failure.In some senses, the dictate to succeed but only within certain limits is less of aproblem than many social activists would wish, because success is rare unless it is definedThis means it has created a niche for itselfbut its growth has slowed or stopped, membersno longer expect to achieve goals, and morale is low.17in terms of very small victories. The women’s movement, for instance, acknowledges thatsome gains have been made, but nevertheless asserts that progress has been minimal(Briskinand Yanz, 1983) and that, as withother social movements, structural and attitudinalchange are necessary to true goal achievement. Too little success is more likely to be theproblem for social movements because of the power of the established order.The third challenge is to ward off the possibility of dissension within the ranks ofsupporters. Social movement organizations can ensure an ongoing flow of resources byfollowing one oftwo strategies (McAdam et a!., 1988). The first is to restrict membershipto the movement’s natural constituency, which may be small andpoor, and therefore unableto provide necessary resources. The second is to allow openrecruitment. In the latter case,there is a highprobabilityofschisms developing withinthe membership. Activists agreethatgroup cohesiveness is crucial to the success ofa social movement organization, because theleader must be able to control the membership, particularly when emotions are runninghigh. But the mobilizationof large numbers ofpeople is also crucial, so again the leader isfaced with a dilemma. Both approaches to securing resources are risky.Finally, there is the issue oforganization, to which a great deal ofattentionhas beenpaid. While social movements often originate in friendship groups and other loose,unstructuredgroups, organizationmustbecomemore formalizedto allow a socialmovementto grow. Some activists associate centralization of power and the development ofbureaucratic structures with social movement success (Gamson, 1975; Wilson, 1973). Butother groups, including women’s groups, are vehemently opposed to such structures, partlyon ideological grounds (Adamson et al., 1988; Ferguson, 1984; Piven and Clowarcl, 1977;18Wilson, 1973). In general, the women’s movement has tended toward decentralization andinformality rather than bureaucracy and centralization, but its experience has indicatedthatdifferentorganization structures are appropriate atdifferent stages in a movement’s growth.Initially, the organizational form introduced within the women’s movement was thesmall, egalitarian, consciousness-raising group. The close, intimate relationships thatdeveloped within these groups were extremely conducive to group mobilization, andundoubtedly contributed to the initial success ofthe movement. However, as the movementgrew, alternative forms of organization had to be introduced, to allow the movement tomake important decisions about what issues to pursue, how resources should be allocated,how to respond effectively to challenges from the authorities and the general public, howto maintain solidarity and commitment within the ranks, and how to ensure that thenecessary tasks were performed (Costain, 1982).In some cases, a modified bureaucratic structure was adopted, with traditionalhierarchical structures but higher levels of membership participation and leadershipaccountability, and membership education to encourage leadership skill development(Adamson et al., 1988). In other cases, non-hierarchical and decentralized structures wereadopted, with rotating leadership positions and consensus decision making processes.Movementactivistsfoundthatthe alternativestructures only worked well whengroups weresmall and homogeneous. In particular, they found that the lack of a formally recognizedleader merely forced leadership underground. The informal leader still shaped the agenda,but her power was seen as illegitimate, which caused resentment within the membership(Costain, 1992).19The experience of the women’s movement suggests that there is no structure for asocial movement organization that is inherently superior. Group ideology, the age of themovement and the requirements of growth, the skills and resources available within theorganization, and constraints imposed by authorities (Wilson, 1973) are certainly factors toconsider, along with the goals pursued, the strategies employed, the nature of themembership, andthe tactics thatthe authorities employ, among others (Morris and Herring,1987). But meeting the challenge of organization can have a major impact on themovement’s success, because how the social movement is organized affects how well theother three challenges can be met.For example, too much formalization can impede member support and solidarity.Alienation from the organization develops as leadership cadres form, the division of labourintensifies, and rules proliferate. This alienation makes it more difficult for the movementto mobilize its members, which places it at a disadvantage in the power struggle with theauthority, reducing its legitimacy, increasing the authority’s efforts to eliminate it, andmaking goal attainment less likely. Too little formality similarly affects ability to adapt tothe environment, maintain solidarity within the membership, and achieve goals. Conflictover leadership threatens the solidarity necessary for success, and the lack of a formalleader is detrimental to goal achievement. Therefore, organizational issues are extremelyimportant to the long-term success of social movements.Other factors ofcentral importance to the movement’s success are the goals pursuedand the strategies and tactics employed by the social movement organization. With respectto goals, a movement’s goals can be radical or conservative, and the nature of goals will20affect the probability of hostile intervention by authorities. Research has shown that themore modest the goals, the fewer the goals, and the less the goals challenge the establishedorder, the more likely it is that social movements will gain acceptance and some measureof success (Ash, 1972; Gamson, 1975). With respect to strategies and tactics, movementactivists know that if they provoke opposition from the authorities, at best their resourceflow (of potential supporters as well as money and other tangible resources) will bethreatened. The outcome is the same ifthey provoke the antagonism of the general publicand/or thereby give impetus to the growth of countermovements.Antagonizing their own members is no less risky because in doing so they lose oneof their most significant resources. This is not only because they perform the bulk of thework withinthe organizationand are the source ofthe group’s legitimacy, but also becausetheirex-membersmayjoinandsubsequently strengthenrival socialmovementorganizations.Consequently, membership member commitment must be maintained at high levels.However, because a socialmovementlackspoliticallegitimacy, itdoes nothave easyaccess to resources controlled by government, and thus cannot serve its interests solelythrough reliance on politically acceptable means. One of the important decisions theorganization must therefore make is whether to use tactics acceptable or unacceptable toauthorities in attempting to meet its goals. In the latter case, it must decide whether itshould be only “mildly unruly” by engaging in boycotts and strikes or more extreme byengaging in mass demonstrations and violence (Gamson, 1975).Research indicates that the appropriate tactics to use depends on: 1) the relationshipbetween the authorities and the challenger group; 2) the degree of goal consensus between21the two bodies; 3) the amount of trust existing between them; 4) the relevant resourcescontrolled by the authorities (Zald and Berger, 1987). Under some circumstances, theauthority can be educated or persuaded to become more sympathetic to the movement(Wilson, 1973). If the authority comes to share the world view of the social movementorganization, the organization will not have to take more direct action.Where directactionbecomesunavoidable, a numberofprinciples shouldbe followed(Turner and Killian, 1972): 1) use the minimum amount of power possible; 2) accuratelyassess the resources available to the movement and to the opposition; 3) accurately assessthe leader’s control of the membership; 4) accurately predict the backlash that will resultfromthe use ofpower. Morris and Herring (1987) emphasize the need foraccuracy as well,pointing out that the more accurately the social movement group can forecast how tominimizethecosts and maximize theeffectiveness ofvarious strategies and tactics, the morelikely it is to succeed.Unfortunately, although there is general agreement that strategic choices do affectoutcomes, there is little empirical evidence regarding the outcomes of the use of variousstrategies and tactics (Morris and Herring, 1987). One exception is Gamson (1975) whoseresearch indicated thatthe use ofviolence and otherunruly tactics was positively associatedwith the success of challenger groups.Costain (1992), who used the political process model to analyze the women’smovement, identifies the role played by political opportunity, goals, and tactics. She assertsthat the women’s movement succeeded in part because it emphasized non-threatening,incremental goals and appeared politically innocuous. Also, the political climate was22favourable because the government was increasingly willing to respond to new interests andwas in need of a larger support base within the populace. As the political costs to thegovernment of allowing a women’s movement to exist and the political costs to potentialsupporters ofjoining the movement fell, they became low enough to allow the movementto develop and grow. The government itself became an important source of resources forthe women’s movement. It provided funding for women’s groups, women’s shelters,research on women, etc., established status of women committees, and appointed RoyalCommissions on the status of women. Government support was a significant source ofstrength for the women’s movement.Havingnowexamined some ofthe insights the social movementliterature offerswithrespect to the issues that a social movementmust address in order to survive (such as goals,strategies and tactics, recruitment mode, and organization), I will now examine the powerresources that are considered particularly significant to movement success. By “powerresource” I am referring to assets that a movementcan draw upon to strengthen its positionvis-a-vis authorities. Since some of these assets (such as appropriate strategies andorganization and the availability of necessary tangible resources) have already beendiscussed, they will be left out of the ensuing discussion to avoid redundancy.One additional resource that is clearly identified in the literature is support, bothfrom membership and from outside the organization (Ackelsberg, 1988; Adamson et al.,1988; Morris and Herring, 1987; Wilson, 1973; Zald and Berger, 1987;).Membershipstrength is important because the mobilization of large numbers of people is much morelikely to influence authorities. This is partly because it increases the group’s legitimacy and23increases the likelihood that sympathetic groups or individuals with accessto the authoritywillbring pressure to bear in support ofthe movement, and also because big demonstrationsattract media attention and can give the movementdirect access to the public, which wouldotherwise be difficult to attain. Outside support is deemed necessary because it may be asource of expert assistance, it reinforces the legitimacy of the movement’s cause, bypreventing the movement’s isolation from other related causes it can sustain greateractivism, and it can provide encouragement when things are not going very well.The other power resource that is repeatedly mentioned in the social movementliterature is the ability to shape social reality formovementparticipants and others (Gamson,1968; Garson, 1978; Klandermans, 1992; Michels, 1959). Those who can impose adefinitionof a situation, set the terms in which events are understood and issues discussed,and define what to strive for, can control the actions of others (Connell, 1987). Ideologyis a weaponthat social movementorganizations canuse as well, as long as they have accessto communication technology. They must try to challenge the version of reality promotedby authorities, rival organizations, and the media (McAdam et al., 1988) and bring theirideological message to their various constituencies. They can also try to bring thedistorted communication strategies that may be employed by the authorities to the attentionof the public, and undertake actions designed to make the authorities look ridiculous, todiscredit them and hurt their image. Successful use of such tactics is a power resource.To summarize, the social movement literature identifies issues pertaining toorganizational structures, recruitment procedures, goals, strategies and tactics, membersolidarity and activism, and powerresources thatimpact ona social movement’sgrowth and24success. My next task is to identify howmuch of this literature isapplicable to women’scommittees.Applicability of Social Movement Literatureto Women’s Committees:As was mentioned earlier, one ofthe commonalities betweenthevarious approacheswithin resource mobilization theory isthat movement behaviour andinstitutionalizedpolitical behaviour are two ends ofa continuum (Morris and Herring,1987). Within thepolitical process model, challenger groupsare those whose goals arenot supported by theauthority, andconsequently, unionsare recognized as challengergroups vis-a-visemployers.This does not eliminate the possibilitythat challenger groups vis-a-visthe unionleadership might arise within unions.It has been noted that subgroupswithin unions mayprovide a basis for mobilization independentofthe broader union context (McAdamet a!.,1988). There is no reason why the challengecannot be launched againstthe union itselfrather than against external authorities.Particularly in the case of undemocratic,authoritarianunions with an entrenchedleadership cadre, the presenceofexcluded interestsis likely. If these interests coalesceand unifying structuresdevelop, resources areaccumulated, and the membership mobilizesto fight for change, all theprerequisites forpresenting a challenge to the authoritiesare in place.The problem is that the challenger groupmust rely on the leadershipfor financialresources, space, and legitimacy withinthe union structure if it is toachieve change, andthis weakens the degree to which it canmount a challenge. In addition,in order formembers to even contemplate mountinga challenge against their union,fear, duty to theleadership, loyalty, habit, propaganda,and cooptation must all be overcome(Weinstein,251979). This is made even more difficult because:to engage in oppositional activity one must first penetrate the facade of ideologicalneutrality that administrative structures claim for themselves and see them aspolitical arenas in which domination, manipulation, and the denial of conflict arestandard operating procedures (Ferguson, 1984, p.17).However, once the challenger group announces itself, the leadership will probablyacknowledge it and make some minor concessions. In the case of women’s mobilization tofight for women’s rights, the union would be in a politically difficult position if it refusedto acknowledge women’s special interests, given its role as defender ofmembers’ interests.This would be particularly the case where there was a sizeable female contingentwithin theunion. But since the emergence of such a group would constitute a threat to the maleestablishment in unions, covert resistance might be anticipated. Therefore, theconceptualization of social movements as essentially power struggles between challengergroups and authorities would seem to be applicable to women’s committees within unions.There is a minimal literature that addresses bureaucratic challenges arising withinorganizations (Ferguson, 1984; Weinstein, 1979; Zald and Berger, 1987). It indicates thatinternal struggles can affect major organizational priorities, the control of organizationalresources, and organization survival and growth, but are most likely to leave thebureaucratic order intact. Zald and Berger (1987) define “bureaucratic insurgencies” asattempts by members to implement goals that the legitimate authority has refused tosupport, or is not acting upon. Weinstein defines “bureaucratic oppositions” as “attemptsto change organizations from withinby those who lack the authority to make such changes”(Weinstein, 1979, p.7). Both Weinstein and Ferguson draw analogies between intrabureaucratic challenges and oppositions arising in authoritarian states, which suggests that26intra-bureaucraticchallenges couldqualifyas socialmovementactivity as institutionalizedpolitics.Zald and Berger suggest it is appropriate to subjectorganizationalconflictoccurringoutside conventional channels to social movement analysis. Hence, most conflict occurringin non-union settings should qualify for social movement analysis because institutionalizedprocedures to deal with intra-bureaucratic challenges do not exist. The same is true ifprocedures do exist, but do not work, with the result that efforts by organizationalparticipants to bring about change occur outside conventional channels.Bureaucratic oppositions occurring within unions are harder to classify, becausewhen a women’s committee is established in response to a challenge launched against theleadership, an institutionalized procedurejcreated to address the conflict. The women’scommittee is authorized to work for changes for women. However, if the committee’smandate or resources are too limited to allow substantive change to occur, the women’scommittee may be forced to operate outside its mandate6.In this case, presumably it shouldbe seen as a social movement organization, and its activities can be appropriately subjectedto social movement analysis, as the conflict is being handled outside institutionalizedchannels.In addition to positioning at least some women’s committees within the socialmovement category, these articles identify structural features, strategies, and power6Weinstein mentions that “Internally created groups ... are only as effective as their topechelon allows them to be...” (p.74.). She specifically addresses the nominal democracy and theexcluded interests found in unions, commenting that “ It does not follow, simply because the‘machinery’ of democracy is present, that those in power will allow it to be used” (Weinstein,1979, p.30).27resources conducive to bringing about change within bureaucracies. Ferguson makes aparticularly strong case againstbureaucratichierarchies whichimplicitlyenters intotheotherdiscussions, so it will be reviewed briefly.Ferguson believes that the hierarchical power structures found in bureaucracies arethe primary source of oppression in society today. She maintains they silence femalediscourse, make workers dependent on management, force alternative organizations toassumebureaucraticproperties, andenableorganizationalsuperiorsto shape realityforotherorganizational participants and to restrict advancement to those willing to accept theirversion of reality. In short, they allow those at higher levels ofthe organization to controlworker behaviour, suppress opposition, and reproduce dominance relations. Fergusoncautions that bureaucratic power structures are extremely resistant to change.Ferguson’s arguments have been supported by others. Hall (1972) agrees withFerguson’s critique ofbureaucracies, saying bureaucratism in unions means the repressionof rank and file opposition and has become the “prime menace to unionism”. Weinstein(1979) agrees that ideology is an effective way to minimize challenges to authority andthereby uphold the status quo. She states that:Attempts to make things seems as through they are routine or that they aredetermined by ‘objective standards of efficiency or productivity’ are essentiallyrhetorical strategies which, like the managerial viewpoint, have the political impactof minimizing challenges to authority (Weinstein, 1979, p.7).This suggests that a possible way to promote change in bureaucratic structures would be tohave challenger groups deconstruct ideological messages and convey alternative interpretiveframes to organizational participants. Butto do so effectively, the challenger group mustbepowerful.28Weinstein outlines the difficulty associated with maintaining the opposition group.She stresses the benefits offace-to-face interaction, and suggests that a group size of 12-15is optimal. Her specific advice is that challengers should interact with and form allianceswith the maximum possible number of like-minded individuals inside and outside theorganization, to get more ideas, knowledge and social support. She indicates that powerresources can come from outside the organization in the form of resources available fromnational groups, laws against discriminatorypractice, and external social norms and values.Within the organization, power resources in part derive from the size of the oppositiongroup and its status.Inthe case ofintra-bureaucratic oppositions, the strength ofthe oppositiongroup andits relationship with the authority determine the strategies and tactics most conducive tosuccess. If the group’s relationship with the authority is amiable, and the latter shares thegroup’s commitment to bringing about the desired change, informing the proper authorityaboutthe obstacles in its pathmay eliminate the obstacles. The ability to identify the properauthority and the best way to approach him/her is a power resource for the oppositiongroup. This entails knowledge ofthe actual hierarchy of influence within the organization,and of “proper procedure”, which ifviolated may result in no hearing.It is quite likely that the group’s purpose will be at odds with that ofthe leadership.Since persuasion is not feasible given that the opposition group is outranked vis-a-vis theleadership, more directactionmustbe contemplated. Weinstein suggests staging events thatdiscredit the authorities, publicizing wrong-doings, seeking the help ofallies with access toand influence over the leadership, and drumming up support within the organization.29She warns that the authorities are likely to resist the efforts of opposition groups tobring about change, and indicates that they may try to “getthe oppositional forces identifiedand formalized, so they avoid having to deal with individuals” (p.50) and can more easilycoopt or force them into compromises. Cooptation suppresses future conflict because itremoves the leadership that the opposition group depends upon for effective operation, anddestroys trust within the group.The alternative to cooptation is reprisals against opposition group members or thegroup itself. For individuals these might be in the form of lost opportunities, loss ofacceptance, even expulsion from the union on the grounds ofdisloyalty. In the case ofthegroup, budgets might be cut, it might be cut offfrom information, or procedures might becreated or enforced that make it difficult for the group to accomplish its task. Anotheralternative would be to allow change, but instead it may be made to appear unnecessary.Zald and Berger identify a number of power resources for challenger groups as well.Picking up on the difficulty mentioned above of the challenger group’s dependence on theleadership for financial resources, they associate the group’s ownership and control ofphysical facilities with its ability to launch effective attacks against authorities. They alsoidentify the loyalty and commitmentofthe members to the group and to the cause as powerresources.They indicate that factional splits within the leadership may be a source of strengthfor the group, because one of the factions may ally itself with the insurgents to increasesupport for its own leadership bid. Another source of strength may be the leadership’sinability to act against the challenger because of the moral rightness of the challenger’s30cause in the eyes of other organizational members and the general public. So the authoritymust carefully assess the ramifications of overt attack before acting.The foregoing review of oppositions occurring within organizations indicates thatintra-organizational opposition can be more risky for participants, and therefore moredifficult to mobilize, than opposition against an external authority. But once it develops,there is nothing that inherently distinguishes intra-organizational opposition from the inter-organizational oppositions that characterize social movements. While inter-organizationaloppositionshavebeensubjectedto greater study, intra-organizational oppositions are similarwith respect to the difficulties to be faced and the recommended strategies and powerresources to be utilized. This suggests that the social movement literature is applicable tomy study.While the social movement literature is useful, it cannot give any definitive answersto the central question in this study, how women’s committees can achieve gains forwomen. This literature does, however, provide some clues as to the variables to consider.It suggests that the optimal approach is contingent on the situation, on how the authorityresponds to a particular challenge, and on the external environment with its prevailingnorms and values. It is up to the social movement group’s leadership to correctly analyzethese factors and decide on a course of action that the membership will enthusiasticallysupport, and that will not alienate its audience or its target. So one variable of extremeimportance is the calibre ofthe leadership, particularly its ability to command the allegianceof its members either through creation of meaning or achievement of results. This comesthrough clearly in the literature addressing both inter- and intra-organizational oppositions.31Other variables of considerable importance are the factors governing the responseofthe authority to a challenge. A major consideration is how muchpower the authority hasto control the opposition, which in turn is affected in part by organizational structures andthe authority’s control over the resource flow to the challenger. To the extent that unionstructures centralize power, control over both resources and opposition groups may bevirtually assured. But even when this is not the case, a politically astute authority may beable to get around or change democratic structures and thus control the opposition groupwithout suffering a backlash. Similarly, a politically skilled opposition group may be ableto manipulate situations to afford itselfgreater autonomy than the leadership grants to it. Sopolitical expertise and union structures are also important variables in this study.Industrial Relations Theory:The critique of bureaucratic structures presented above has left unspecifiedhibureaucratic, hierarchical structures affectintra-organizationaloppositiongroups’ outcomes.Inthe case ofunions, this has beenaddressed inthe industrialrelations literature, which hashad a long-standing interest in how union structures7encourage or discourage democracy,and thereby contribute to or detract from the representation of member interests. We willnow turn to that literature.In this literature, structures are those relatively permanent arrangements set out in theunion constitution, the bylaws or the regulations that govern how the union carries out itsbusiness. An example of a structure would be the power and duties granted to elected leadersand union staff representatives. Committee format and responsibilities are also consideredstructure as are regularized procedures, such as those pertaining to running conventions orelections. Areas where autonomous decision making is possible are excluded from structure.32The general belief, based on Michels’ study ofsocialist parties in Italy, France, andBelgium, is that over time, in any large, bureaucratic organization, a small group ofpeoplewill come to dominate the leadership and to control resource flows. Growth creates anincreasingly acute need for specialized knowledge and expertise, which can only developover a reasonably long tenure in office. But the specialized knowledge gained and the perksof office isolate the office-holders from the rest of the organization. The power of theoffice-holders enables them to fill vacant positions in the leadership cadre with politicalallies, loyal to the leadership, which makes the leadership even more powerful. Because oftheresources theycontrol, theycancontrolorganizationalparticipantsandthe organizationalagenda. The longer the incumbents are in office the more knowledge and power theyaccumulate, the more allies they acquire, and the more difficult they are to unseat.This process is evident in unions where power becomes increasingly centralized inthe leadership’s hands. As this occurs, the leadership becomes more detennined to stay inpower, and may engage in all sorts of unsavoury practices to ensure this (Hall, 1972;Michels, 1959; Lipset, Trow and Coleman, 1956). Since the leadership controls all unionresources, it can ensure that leadership rivals have a difficult time getting a hearing fromthe membership. Inaddition, it can control all the informationconveyed to the membership,thereby discrediting the rivals. Consequently, it becomes increasingly secure in its abilityto maintain power and has less incentive to respond to interests other than its own. Themembership supports a strong leadership, believing it to be better able to protect themembers’ interests, and therefore exerts little pressure for change. Increased tenurestrengthens the incumbents’ position and only a total insensitivity on their part to the33economic realities facing the membership can threaten them.Social movement researchers have observed this process in social movementorganizations as well, particularly those which have become institutionalized.As a result of the extension and elaboration of the administrative staff and theemergence of finer status distinctions within the movement, together with the morecomplex problems of adaptation that an institutionalizing movement experiences,greatexpertise and considerable amounts oftime are neededto fulfilthemovement’sadministrative needs. The greater the differentiation, the more sophisticated theseskills must be. The experience and the information which the administrator needsand, incidentally, helps to create in the operation of his office. . .makes the seniorbureaucratic office virtually unassailable, providing it has a secure financial base(Wilson, 1973, p.342).Michels insists only that the leadership cadre will control the organization, not thatit will necessarily ignore the wishes of its members. This study seeks to discover whatcircumstances are most conducive to keeping union leaders attentive to these wishes.Michels’ study and the study by Lipset, Trow and Coleman (1956) of the InternationalTypographical Union, provide some insight. Michels’ study shows that a political party canemploy ideological control and cooptationto stay inpower8.The study ofthe typographicalunionshows how anactivemembershipcanensure leadership accountability. Togetherthesestudies demonstrate the dangers inherent in a bureaucratic, hierarchical structure, and howthey can be minimized. The typographical union provides a model of the type of structurethat promotes membership representation by the leadership, so its two-party system and itssupporting norms will now be described and contrasted with the typical one-party structure.In the typographical union, in part because organizational norms supported and8Michels (1959) suggests that another group’s values can be shaped either by cooptationorby controlling freedom of speech, conveying self-serving messages, and covering them up withappeals to loftier motives.34legitimated opposition and the leadership changed hands frequently, greatstatus differencesnever developed between the membership and the leaders. Also, oppositiongroups hadregular access to communicationchannels which allowed them to challengethe incumbents’communications to the membership, and ensure that members were well-informed.This,along with the availability of numerous opportunities for would-be leadersto develop thepolitical skills necessary to gain access to leadership positions, allowed themto take anactive role in the union, either in support of or in opposition to theincumbentadministration. Procedures existed to ensure that disciplinary action would notbe takenagainst those challenging the incumbents, which ensured that the oppositionwas vocal.Union meetings were one locale where political skills could be honed. Vigorousdebate between the incumbents and the leaders of the opposition occurred duringthemeetings, and the incumbents would be quickly taken to task iftheir actionsdispleased themembership or the formal opposition, which forced them tobe accountable. Because theopposition was organized, membership dissatisfaction with the incumbents’actions couldbe channelled effectively to bring about desired changes.In a one-party system, in contrast, there is no opportunity for member involvementexcept in support ofthe incumbents because internalpolitical activity is normallyprohibitedby constitution. This prevents dissenters from having any legitimate role to play,reducesthe number of first-line training opportunities available to would-be leaders, makes themembershipcompletelydependentonwhateverinformationthe leadership choosesto conveyto them, and ensures that no real debate can take place during union meetings,whichencouragesnon-attendance and strengthens themembership’sdependence onthe leadership.35Under the one-party system, there may be no recourse against the incumbents’actions, short ofvoting them out ofoffice at the next election. But voting them out may befairly difficult. In the first place, they may be able to eliminate any contenders forleadership and any opposition support through discretionary control over hiring, firing,training, and discipline. Another advantage is that they control the union communicationresources. Thus they can convey self-serving messages through official unioncommunication channels, while denying the opposition any equivalent way to respond,unless the latterhas independent access to alternativecommunicationchannels, suchas thoseavailable from allies outside theunion9.They also control the electionmachinery itself, andmay be able to force through election procedures that strengthen the probability of theircontinued incumbency or reduce the frequency of elections, for seemingly legitimatereasons. Similarly, the incumbents’ superior knowledge of parliamentary procedure mayallow them to manipulate convention proceedings to ensure their reelection. Finally, theyhave a monopoly on knowledge of how the union is run, which makes them virtuallyirreplaceable.Therefore, these case studies show that to promote the representation of members’interests, the union constitution should safeguard free election procedures, protect freedomof speech, restrict the discretionary power of the union governing body particularly withrespect to resource allocations, protect member rights to due process with respect toHaving allies outside the union is important for at least two other reasons. First, they canlaunch challenges against the leadership that members may be reluctant to launch. Second,belonging to such outside groups can provide the membership with the opportunity to developthe political and parliamentary skills,needed to act as an effective opposition group.36discipline, hiring and job assignments, and minimize status differentials between unionleaders and members. Furthermore, members should be encouraged to participate in unionaffairs, and trained so that they can do so comfortably.These arrangements would increasethe likelihoodthatmajoritygroup interests wouldbe considered indecisionmaking. Itis unclear thatthey wouldnecessarily promote minoritygroup interests. It has been documented that intervention by the leadership has beennecessary in some cases to protect minority rights in the face ofmajority group intolerance(Leiserson, 1959). Therefore, the leadership’s willingness to use its power to force throughgains for womeninthe face ofoppositionfromthe bulk ofthe membershipmightbe crucialto securing gains for women.The issue of power has been implicit in the foregoing discussion of the structuralfactors contributing to the representation of members’ interests, because the incumbents’monopoly power over union resources and their ability to change structures that interferewith their accumulation ofpower make opposition attempts almost futile. Similarly, whenthe social movement literature examines the factors allowing a challenger group to mountan effective attack on an authority, the power bases of the two groups are at issue. Theydetermine whetherornotthemovementsurvives and what types ofstrategies and tactics canbe utilized. We now turnto the organizational literature to examine three structural modelsof power that have been proposed by organizational theorists, to see how they supplementthe insights gained throughthe social movement and industrial relations literatures, to arriveat a model of power applicable to women’s committees.37Organizational TheoryPower:Theorganizationalliterature offers several perspectives onpowerthatmaybehelpfulin this study. The first defines power in terms of relationships between individuals (Dahi,1957), the second in terms of resource control, particularly the control of communicationstructures, channels, networks and rules (Hickson, Hinings, Lee, Schneck and Pennings,1971; Mintzberg, 1983; Morgan, 1986; Pfeffer, 1981). A third perspective focusesspecifically on power acquired through the ability to shape meaning (Clegg, 1989; Frost,1987; Mumby, 1988; Spruill, 1983). The feminist organizational theorists offer a fourthperspective that derives from post-modernist roots. The first two models offer a surfacelevel analysis ofpower, examining decisionmaking and non-decisionmaking. The focus ofthe third and fourth models is on deeper structure power phenomena. The non-feministmodels will be examined first.Dahi (1957) is creditedwithadvancing the view ofpower inherent inthe firstmodel.His intuitive idea ofpower was this: “ A has power over B to the extent that he can get Bto do something that B would not otherwise do” (p.203). Critics pointed out that his modelwas inadequate because it failed to incorporate actors’ intentions and the significance ofoutcomes (Clegg, 1989). An important additional critique was advanced by Bachrach andBaratz (1962), who noted that ensuring B’s non-action through the indirect (rather than thedirect) exercise of power was also important.Bachrach and Baratz indicated that powerful groups could mobilize bias to protecttheir interests. That is, they could invoke a set of values, beliefs, rituals and institutional38procedures that would enable them to control decision making by affecting the behaviourof opposition groups in one of the following ways: 1) making them keep silent, in therealization that their beliefs would be unacceptable; 2) making them remove themselvesfrom the decision making setting; or 3) keeping them from becoming aware that an issueconcerned them in the firstplace (Spruill, 1983; Deetz, 1992). The ability to mobilize bias,however, was based on resource control, so throughtheir critique they introduced a numberofresource considerations excluded from Dahl’s model. A more structural model ofpoweremerged which continues to dominate the organizational literature.The structural view conceptualizes power as arising from the division of labourwithinorganizations, whichputs apremiumoncertainresources, skills, andknowledge, andmakes certain tasks and departments more crucial than others. For example, departmentswiththecapacityto reduce organizationaluncertainty, whichperformspecializedandcriticalfunctions, which are irreplaceable, and upon which other departments depend, are morepowerfulthanare departments thatare less crucial to the organization. Similarly, individualswho hold central positions in information networks are more powerful than those on theperiphery of such networks.Morgan (1986, p.159), who integrated much of the previous organizational powerliterature, compiled a list of 14 determinants of power, the bulk of which derived fromposition in organizational hierarchy in some fashion. Power could originate in: 1) formalauthority; 2) the use of organizational structure, rules, and regulations to gain politicalcontrol; 3) ability to cope with uncertainty; 4) control of scarce resources; 5) control ofdecision processes; 6) control of knowledge and information; 7) control of boundaries; 8)39control of technology; and 9) control of the interpretive frames used in the organization.Power could also originate in certain personal characteristics, such as need and willingnessto expend energy to achieve goals, and the ability to develop valuable alliances throughoutthe organization (Hickson, Hinings, Lee, Schneck and Pennings, 1971; Mintzberg, 1983;Pfeffer, 1981).One resource within the resource control approach that has been singled out forspecial attention is the ability to control communication structures, channels, networks, andrules. The ability to control communications allows individual organizational actors tomanipulate who gets what information, when, and also to control how day-to-day situationsare understood and acted upon. As such, it is a potent medium of power (Astley andSachdeva, 1984; Frost, 1987).However, there are limits to this power, because meaning has to be negotiatedamong organizational actors and is restricted by organizationalframes ofreference. Morgan(1986) has noted the paradox that even though a great deal of energy is expended in thesearch for power, few organizational participants feel powerful. He suggests that the overtas well as the covert activities engaged in by organizational actors in order to controldecision outcomes can be seen as the exercise of power at the surface level of theorganization, but that surface level power is limited by a number ofuncontrollable deeperlevel power structures that shape opportunities facing organizational actors. He refers toeconomic factors, the structures ofcapitalist society, socialization, and education, but deepstructures that shape opportunity can originate within as well as outside organizations.40Deep structure power is embedded in organizational structures and interpretiveframeworks, and is so much a part of the taken-for-granted organizational scene that it isinvisible. It will be “virtually impossible for some of the actors to recognize that theirinterests are not being met, that the sectarian interests ofthose with power are disguised asuniversal interests serving all the members of the organization. . .“(Frost, 1987, p.506). Itoriginates in “earlier struggles, movements andmaneuvers”to resolve resource dependencyproblems “that settle, for a time, the way things come to be perceived, valued, and actedout” (Frost and Egri, 1989). Out of such maneuvering, systems of influence and“appropriate” ways to understand organizational realities develop that bestow specialadvantage, for now and into the future, on those who prevailed. It takes the form of aninvisible source ofpower that allows the victors to control organizational outcomes withoutencountering resistance. The capacity to embed power in this fashion is felt to be basedupon the ability to control symbolic and signifying systems, which arises from the abilityto control communication.The post-structuralists, who have presented the most recent critiques of existingorganizational theories of power (Clegg, 1989; Deetz, 1992; Mumby, 1988), also linkcommunication and power. In their view, human consciousness is forged, and systems ofdomination obscured, through communication. Power is exercised when communication isused strategically in order to frame the interests of other groups in terms of the dominantgroup’s interests, and thereby close down discussion of important issues.Several strategies can be employed to eliminate discussion. These include: 1)naturalization, where the particular interests of a group are represented as inviolate, not41subject to change; 2) neutralization, where positions favouring the privileged group arepresented as value free; 3) legitimation, where higher-ordervalues are invoked tojustifyandsustain the self-interests of the privileged group; 4) socialization, through whichorganizational members’ values, beliefs, and actions are shaped to suit the interests of theprivileged group; 5) topical avoidance, where controversial topics are kept offthe agenda,possibly by restricting access to public forums; and 6) pacification, where apparent effortsare made to consider the interests of non-privileged groups but the will to accommodatethem is non-existent (Deetz, 1992). Post-structuralists feel that power lies in controllingorganizational discourses, which are defined as: “historically specific, socially situated,signifying practices. . .the communicative frames in which speakers interact by exchangingspeech acts” (Fraser and Bartky, 1992, p.185). They believe power relations can beidentified by analyzing language situations.Feminist organizational theorists also take a critical approach to the power modelsintroduced in the organizational literature, because the models treat as unproblematic thedistinctly gendered nature of power distributions in Western societies. They are inagreement with the post-structuralists that controlling discourse is the path to power, butnote that the controllers have tended to be men (Chafetz, 1990; Hawkesworth, 1990), 50women’s voice has been lost. As a consequence, unfounded gender stereotypes, genderideologies, and gender norms that oppress women are part of our societal belief systems,and ensure that women remain unable to access positions of power. These stereotypes,ideologies, and norms exist because: 1) men have more control over women’s lives andactions than do women, and also the means to enforce their will; 2) men occupy42institutionalized positions of social decision making from which women are excluded, butnot vice versa; 3) men benefit more from women’s labor and other activity than vice versa(Hawkesworth, 1990). The feminists’ approach is to view knowledge as a socialconstructionwhich serves the interests ofthepowerful. They recommend discourse analysisas one means of identifying how the cultural hegemony’° of dominant societal groups issecured and contested (Fraser, 1992).The majorcontributionto theview thatknowledge andpowerare related comes fromthe post-modernist literature, based on the work of Foucault (Fraser, 1992; Hawkesworth,1990; Malson, O’Barr, Westphal-Wihl, and Wyer, 1989). Foucaultbelieves the social fieldis a myriad of unstable and heterogeneous relations of power (Sawicki, 1991). Power isexercised in a chain-like fashion, and everyone simultaneously undergoes and exercisespower. Foucault’s message is that power comes from submerging discourses which wouldchallenge the authority ofthe power-holders, and from defining in self-serving terms whatconstitutes knowledge and truth11.The ability to make laws and to determine how they areenforced is the key to domination. But since any exercise of power invites resistance, theself-serving nature oflaw and theunscientificbases ofknowledge and truthmust be hidden.10Culturalhegemony refers to thepowerto establishthe fundofcommonsense, self-evidenttruths thattend to be accepted unquestioningly in society, thatprivilege dominant social groups.‘Chomsky’s work (1987; 1989) is very reflective of Foucault’s commentary on howknowledge and truth are constituted. He accuses national governments of lying to the public,with the willing complicity of the intellectuals and the media. He finds no scientific bases foraccepted thought in contemporary society. Nor does he find evidence that the United States isa democratic society, despite citizens’ protection against state coercion. He points out thatcoercion is unnecessary whenthe governmentcancontrolthe informationmade available to themand therefore “manufacture consent”.43Consequently, he maintains that a whole set of knowledges primarily concerned withstruggles and hostile encounters between authorities and others have been overlooked.He believes the tendency to focus oncentralized forms ofpowerhas obscured other,more visible forms ofpower that canbe found at the periphery ofthepower network. Sincesuch forms ofpower are more visible and have immediate effects, they can be more easilycontested (Gordon, 1980).Foucault’s argument supports the notion that power can exist in the deep structuresof organizations, and that submerged texts can be brought to light to reshape knowledge,whichis inline with feminists’ general aim. But some feminists are opposedto theexclusiveemphasis on the analysis oftext found in post-modernism because “The world is more thanatext. . .There is amodicumofpermanence. . .traditions, practices, relationships, institutions,and structures persistandcanhaveprofoundconsequences...” (Hawkesworth, 1990, p.147).The combined message from the feminists and the post-modernists then would be to lookwidely for power sources, to be sensitive to hidden organizational discourses, but also tobe aware that structures and regularized procedures can be potent sources ofpower.Committee Effectiveness:A final contributionto this study from the organizational literature is the guidelinesdeveloped for effective committee operation. The available literature largely deals with thedynamics of running meetings rather than with the structural aspects of committeeformation. One notable exception is Hackman (1987;1990), who examined several types ofgroups to identify aspects of organization and process that were preconditions foreffectiveness. He defined effective groups as those that met the output standards of their44users, enhanced group members’ ability to work together in the future, and enhancedmembergrowthand need satisfaction. Process criteriaforeffectiveness includedthe exertionof sufficient effort to achieve results, sufficient knowledge and skill to carry out the grouptask, and use of appropriate strategies. The important organizational prerequisites ofeffectiveness were group structures that promoted task accomplishment, a supportiveorganizational context, and access to a process expert if required. These factors mightcontribute to women’s committee’s ability to secure gains for women. In the followingchapter, the theoretical model arising from these disparate literatures will be described.45Chapter 3. Theoretical Model and MethodologyTheoretical ModelHaving completed the literature review, my next task is to integrate those aspects ofthe organizational, industrial relations, and social movement literatures pertinent to myproblem to arrive at a model of power applicable to women’s committees. The model,reproduced in Figure 1 below, identifies the variables of primary interest in this study.Definitions of the variables in the model follow.FIGURE 1 PREUMINARY MODEL OF PERExternal Environment External EnvironnsntUNION_____________GOMMITEE> crnvrnEsCOMM ECHARACTERISTICSI46Definitions:Environment:Refers to the economic, legal and social environment within which the unionoperates.Structures:Include union and women’s committee structures as defined below.Unionstructures: Formal structures and procedures set out in theunion constitution,by-laws, policy manuals, etc. that determine how unionbusiness is to be conducted,which can only be changed at convention. Other regularized procedures andprocesses (suchas decisionmaking and communicationprocesses and procedures forresource distribution), which can be changed by the leadership without recourse toconvention procedures, are also considered aspects of structure.Women’s Committee structures: Formal arrangements made by the union thatauthorize the women’s committeeto pursue a specifiedmandate andmakecommitteemembers accountable for how that mandate is pursued. Resource allocations to thewomen’s committee are aspects of women’s committee structure. Regularizedprocedures and processes that develop within the women’s committee through theactions of its members are also considered aspects of structure.Committee Support:Includes leadership support and membership support as defined below.Leadership Support: The proportion of the leadership who support the women’scommittee’s mandate and could potentially be mobilized to support its actions.47Membership Support: The proportion ofthe membership who support the women’scommittee’s mandate and could potentially be mobilized to support its actions.Committee Characteristics:Include group cohesiveness, commitmentto change, leadership and political skill asdefined below.Group Cohesiveness: The perception among committee members, the membership,and the leadership that the group sees itself as something more than a collection ofindividuals, which enhances its ability to work cooperatively to achieve its commongoals.Commitment to Change: The perception among committee members, themembership, and the leadership that the women’s committee is willing to expendconsiderable amounts of energy and withstand considerable amounts of resistancefrom the membership and/or the leadership in attempting to bring about changesbeneficial to women.Leadership Skill: The perception among committee members, the membership, andthe union leadership that the leadership available to the committee, supplied bycommittee members, the women’s committee chair and the staff representativeassigned to the committee facilitates goal accomplishment.Political Skill: The perceptionamong committee members, the membership, and theleadership that the political expertise of the women’s committee facilitates goalaccomplishment.48Committee Actions:Refer to the choices made by the women’s committee with respect to how it pursuesits mandate, given the restraints within which it operates.Committee Power:The perception among the committeemembers themselves, the membership, and theleadership regarding the women’s committee’s potential for achieving threecategories of gain for women: 1) changes in contract clauses beneficial to women;2) changes in union and committee structures that make future gains for womenmore likely; 3) changes in female participation in the union, such as the number ofwomen in the governing body, on local executives, etc.Explanation of the Theoretical Model:The model derives solely from my attempt to bring together in some reasonablefashion the variables identified in the literature review. There are no guidelines in theliterature on how to accomplish this, but the actual positioning of the variables is ofsecondary importance. The primary importance ofthemodel is that it provides a frameworkfor investigating the research problem. It was anticipated that the relationship between thevariables would become clearer as the study progressed, but initially it was assumed thatall variables affected and were affected by the others. For example, in keeping with thestructural power models, union structures were seen as a potential power resource for thewomen’s committee. But the perceived power of the women’s committee was seen as anindependent as well as a dependent variable, in the true Foucauldianspirit. Hence, not only49could union structures affect the perceived power of the women’s committee, but theperceived power of the women’s committee could also affect union structures. The otherrelationships depicted in the model followed the same pattern.The aim ofthis research was to trace these interrelationships over aprolongedperiodin order to acquire some understanding of how they contributed to power over time.Variables and Operationalizations:Environment:The relative favourableness of the external environment was determined fromarchival sources as well as interviews with past and present committee members,chairs and staff representatives, and past and present members of the leadership.Archivalsources includedconventionreportspreparedbytheleadership, descriptionsof environmental factors in union publications, resolutions and incidences of strikeaction.Union structures:Were determined through examination of union constitutions, by-laws, and policyand procedure manuals, as well as through examination of convention minutes,reports to convention and to the union governing body, meeting minutes,newsletters, and journals. The perceived favourableness of these union structureswithrespect to women’s committees was identifiedthrough interviews withpast andpresent committee members, chairs, and staff representatives, and past and presentmembers of the leadership.50Women’s committee structures:Were determined through examination of union constitutions, by-laws, and policyand procedure manuals, as well as through examinationofleadership and committeemeeting minutes. The perceived favourableness of these structures was determinedthrough interviews with past and present committee members, chairs and staffrepresentatives, and past and present members of the leadership.Committee Support:Membership support: Indicatorsofmembership support overthe committees’ historywere obtained from archival sources and also from interviews with past and presentcommittee members, chairs and staffrepresentatives and past and present membersof the leadership. Indicators of membership support determined from the archivesincluded vote counts at conventions for and against resolutions dealing withwomen’s issues, the percentage ofresolutionsdealing withwomen’s issues thatwereapproved, membership turnouts for committee-sponsored events, letters supportingor protesting the committee’s actions in union publications.Leadership support: Indicators of leadership support over the committee’s historywere obtainedfromarchival sources as well as from interviews withpastand presentcommittee members, chairs and staffrepresentatives and past and present membersof the leadership. Indicators of leadership support included changes to committeestructures that enhancedtheireffectiveness, proportionofrecommendationsmadebythe committee to the leadership that were approved and comments in reports,speeches, and newspaper articles that pertained to women’s issues.51Committee Characteristics:Were ascertained from both archival sources and interviews. The primary archivalsource was committee meeting minutes.Group cohesiveness: Archival indicators ofgroup cohesiveness included number ofcommittee meetings held compared with number mandated by the leadership,evidence of agreement about goals and strategies, level of attendance at committeemeetings.Commitment to change: Archival indicators of commitment to change were foundin speeches made by committee members at workshops and women’s conferences,in references made to feminist principles, in number of committee membersidentifying themselves as feminists.Leadership skill: Archival indicators of leadership skill included attempts made tofacilitate group processes via training, group discussion, also attempts to promotealignment of goals through week-end retreats or goal-setting meetings.Political skill: Archival indicators ofpolitical skill includedproportionofresolutionsto convention that were approved, whether attempts to pressure the leadershipsucceeded, whether efforts were made to build alliances and membership supportinside the union.Committee Actions:Committee actions were ascertained from archival sources and interviews. Thearchival sources examined included committee meeting minutes, committee andleadership reports to convention, and committee newsletters and journals. Where52possible, committee tactics were categorized as political, educational, directedtogroups internal or external to the union, and employing pressure toward theleadership or not.Committee Power:The degree of favourableness of all the variables in the model was assumed topredict potential committee power. Perceptions about actual committee power overtime were ascertained via interviews with past and present committee members,chairs, staff representatives, and past and present members of the leadership. Thelevel and types of gains achieved for women were considered outcomes of actualcommittee power.MethodologyIntroduction:Methodologists have indicated that the appropriate methodology for addressing“how” questions relating to a contemporary setofevents overwhichthe researcher has littleor no experimental control, is the use of case studies’2(Gummeson, 1993; Yin, 1984;1989, 1994). They also maintainthat relatively unstructured approaches are appropriate forexploratory studies (Bogdan and Taylor, 1975; Filstead, 1970). Feminists agree thatinformationshouldbe gathered in anunstructured way priorto quantification, to ensure thatthe questions asked and the knowledge soughtreflectwomen’s reality (Hawkesworth, 1990;12Yin (1994) defines a case study as an empirical inquiry that: a) investigates acontemporary phenomenon within its real life setting; when b) the boundaries betweenphenomenon and context are blurred; and in which c) multiple sources of evidence are used.53Tomm, 1989). This study involved case studies ofwomen’s committees in two unions sincetheir inception in the 1970’s. The intent ofthis research was to refine the theoretical modelof women’s committee power derived from the pertinent academic literature by referringto the actual experiences of women’s committees.Data were collected in two phases. Initially, through archival research, the relevanceof the variables in the model and their relationships were examined over the history ofthewomen’s committees. The second phase involved interviews with informed union sourcesregarding significant events which affected the committee during its history. This phaseprovided additional information about the relationships between the variables in the model,identified those that were most important in securing gains for women, and illustrated howpower interacted with other variables to produce outcomes.Individual case reports were conveyed to all persons interviewed in this study priorto finalizing them to solicit comments and feedback, and ascertain whether the essence ofthe committees’ struggles to achieve gains for women had been portrayed accurately.Population and Sample:For the purpose of minimizing variation in the political, social and economicenvironment, the population was restricted to women’s committees within B.C. unions.Within this population there were several constraints on the feasible sample. First, since Iwanted to study power, the sample had to include those women’s committees most likelyto be powerful. I assumed committees in unions with a substantial female membershipwouldmeet this criterion. Second, since muchofmy data would come fromunionarchives,the unions had to be Vancouver-based unions. Consequently, my potential sample was54restricted to women’s committees in the B.C. Government and Service Employees Union(BCGEU), the B.C. Teachers’ Federation (BCTF), the College-Institute EducatorsAssociation (CIEA), the Health Sciences Association (HSA), the United Fishermen andAllied Workers Union (UFAWU) and the Vancouver Municipal and Regional EmployeesUnion(VMREU). Preliminarychecking indicatedthatarchival datawas sketchy inthe latterthree unions, so they were eliminated.A final constraint was that I thought it advisable to eliminate as many of thedissimilarities between the three remaining unions as possible. Fortunately, they werehomogeneous in certain respects. In all cases, the proportion offemales in the membershipwas in excess of 50%, all three unions could be categorized as public sector unions13,andsimilarities existed within their bargaining and administrative structures. The BCGEU andBCTF were similar in that both had in excess of 40,000 members (52,000 and 41,000respectively), and as the largestunions inB.C., played important leadership roles withinthelabour movement. Also, their provincial women’s committees were established during themid-1970’s. CIEA was similar to the BCTF in that its membership too was comprised ofeducational faculty and it shared a number of the BCTF‘s concerns with respect toeducation, albeit at a different level (primary and secondary versus post-secondary). CIEAwas also similar to the BCGEU in that some of the BCGEU’s members were communitycollege instructors.13The BCGEU was affected by the Social Credit government’s privatization campaignduring the 1980’s which transferred the jobs of many of its members from the public to theprivate sector. Currently, the private sector employees, 22,000 strong, are included in one ofthe union’s 11 components.55There were differenceshowever. A majorone was thatthey were subjectto differentlabour legislation. In the BCGEU, public sector members are covered under the PublicService Labour Relations Actwhile private sector members are covered by the B.C. LabourCode. The membership of the BCTF is governed by the Schools Act as well as by theprovincial labour code, and CIEA is covered by the provincial labour code. In addition,there was much more heterogeneity within the membership ofthe BCGEU than within themembership of either the BCTF or CIEA. For instance, one of the components is almostentirely clerical workers, while another is almost entirely tradespeople. Naturally, themembership of the first of these components is almost entirely female, while that of theother is almost entirely male. Another major difference was size, because relative to theothertwounions, CIEA is tiny, with only 5000members in 1992. Additionally, its women’scommittee had only been in existence since 1983. For the latter two reasons, the CollegeInstitute Educators’ Association was eliminated, and the final sample consisted of theBCGEU and the BCTF. I will now describe the two unions in more detail.The B.C. Government and Service Employees Union:As of June, 1993, the BCGEU had a total membership of 52,000 split between thepublic and private sector, and among 11 components (10public sector components, and oneprivate sector component). The eleven components are organized on the basis of type ofwork performed, and a number of locals exist within each component, based on 12geographic areas covering the province. The union is governed via a biennial convention,where membership delegates from all the locals join with members of the provincial56executive to pass resolutions bearing uponunion concerns, and to elect officers for the nexttwo years. Resolutions can be initiated by the locals and by the provincial executive.The provincial executive is made up of the president, who chairs the convention,four vice-presidents, and a secretary-treasurer (all elected at convention), plus thechairpersons of each component. Between conventions, the provincial executive is thegoverning body of the union. The provincial executive receives advice from the executivecommittee, which consists ofthe table officers and the senior staffofthe union, in regardsto general policy and union operation. The president chairs the executive committee.The major activity engaged in by the union is collective bargaining on behalf of itsmembers. A master agreement sets service-wide terms and conditions of employment forall public service employees. In addition, each component negotiates a componentagreement. The master bargaining committee consists ofthe unionpresident and the chairsofthe 10 public service components. Seniorstaffpersons andexecutive committeememberscan be assigned by the president to the master bargaining committee. The president chairsthe master bargaining committee.Componentagreements address terms and conditions ofemployment specific to thatcomponent, and any other matters delegated to them by the master bargaining committee.The president is a member ex-officio of all component bargaining teams. Where membersare not covered under the Public Service Labour Relations Act, collective bargaining todeterminellterms and conditions ofemployment is conducted at component orbargainingunit level, subject to the relevant labour legislation.57Amongtheprovincialexecutive’s powers is the powerto appointcommittees to carryout the business of the union. At a Women’s Conference sponsored by the BCGEU forInternational Women’s Day in May, 1975, a recommendation was made to the provincialexecutive that a women’s committee should be established to deal with women’s issues andpolicies. The provincial executive endorsed the recommendation and a committee wasestablished. Its mandate was to advise the provincial executive on issues related to womeninthe workplace, union, and society. Its goals were to overcome sexism and discriminationin the union and the workplace, and to encourage women to assume union leadershippositions. The women’s committee meets four times per year at the BCGEU headquarters.The components sendrepresentatives to theprovincialcommittee. Astaffrepresentative actsas secretary to the women’s committee, and she reports to the president after each meeting.The chair ofthe committee and all committee representatives are appointed by thepresidentfollowing each biennial convention.The committee maintains close ties with the women’s committees in the B.C.Federation of Labour, the National Union of Public and General Employees, and theCanadian Labour Congress, as well as ties to the New Democratic Party. Support for thecommittee has varied widely over the years, as has the committee’s ability to secure gainsfor women and its power. I turn now to a description of union and women’s committeestructures within the BCTF.The B.C. Teachers’ Federation:As of 1993, the BCTF had 41,000 members spread over 75 school districts across58the province. Locals are set up at school district level. There are three governing bodieswithin the federation: the annual general meeting, the representative assembly, and theexecutive committee. Delegates to the annual meeting include elected representatives fromeach local, members of the representative assembly and the executive committee. The annual meeting handles resolutions and adopts policy recommendations put forward by locals,standing committees, the executive committee, and the representative assembly. Policyamendments can only be passed with a three-quarter majority. The annual meeting alsoelects the executive committeewhichconsists ofthepresident, the immediatepast-president,the first and second vice-presidents, and 7 members-at-large, all nominated by therepresentative assembly or from the floor of the convention.One or more representatives are elected by each local to sit on the representativeassembly, which approves the operating budget and advises the executive committee onfederation policy issues. The representative assembly can veto executive committee actionsand policy recommendations. In turn, the executive committee can order a review of theassembly at the instigation ofthe locals. The executive committee sits on the assembly, butas a non-voting body. Additional duties can be assigned to the assembly at the annualmeeting. Apart from the duties delegated to the representative assembly, the executivecommittee is responsible for the governance ofthe union between conventions.Collective bargaining is completely decentralized within the BCTF, with each localresponsible for negotiating with the local school board. The locals make generalrecommendations on bargaining matters to the federation, which promotes these issues to59the appropriate external bodies, i.e. the Department of Education. The BCTF’s primaryfunction is as an advocacy group for teachers and students.The executive committee has the authority to appoint advisory committees, and theBCTF’s provincial Status of Women Committee arose from a four-person task forceappointed by the executive committee following the release ofthe 1970 Royal Commissionon the Status of Women. The task force’s mandate was to investigate the involvement ofwomen in education, both as students and as employees. It made an initial report to the1973 annual meeting, which documented discriminatory practices and recommended theappointment of a full-time BCTF staff person to improve the status of women in thegovernment of the federation and in education in B.C. The task force also recommendedthat a status of women contact be established in each local to work closely with the staffperson, to encourage female participation in federation and local governance, and toeliminate discriminatory contract clauses.The Status of Women Program established three major areas of endeavour: theelimination of sexism in schools, leadership skill development for women, and bargainingforequality. Women interested in sitting onthe Status ofWomencommitteewere appointedby the executive committee and given authority to choose the chair of the committee. Aswith the BCGEU, the primary strategy adopted was education, to raise awareness of thedegree of sexism in the school system, and to dispel concern that the major programobjective was to get more women into administration. In reality, the program’s concernspertained to textbooks, curriculum, teacher attitudes, and the structure and philosophy ofschools which perpetuated sexist attitudes. The transition from task force to standing60committee occurred after the 1977 Annual General Meeting. As with the BCGEU’scommittee, the Status ofWomen committee is a leadership advisory group so the executivecommitteecan exercise a great deal ofcontrol over its activities. Since 1987, the committeehas met three times annually.Unlike the BCGEU, the BCTF has been successful in getting status of womencommittees established atthe local level. The nine women appointed to the provincial statusof women committee are responsible for facilitating and coordinating status of womenprograms in nine zones established across the province. Zones encompass several schooldistricts and zone meetings are held twice a year, which ensures networking goes onregularly between the local committees, the local contacts, and the provincial committee.Much of the impetus for the grassroots participation in status of women initiatives comesfrom teacher contacts with students.Procedures and Overview of Research Design:Preliminary contact was made with both unions to ascertain their willingness tocooperate withthis research study and to ensure thatthe necessary informationwas availablein their archives. This was followed by a two-phased exploration ofthe research problem.Phase one consisted of archival research, and phase two involved informant interviewing.The general strategy was firstto acquire athoroughunderstanding ofthe environment withinwhich the unions functioned and how it changed over time, how the unions and women’scommittees operated to achieve goals, and to identify factors other than those in thetheoretical model thataffected the women’s committee’s ability to secure gains for women.61In phase two, the focus was oni2Qcausal variables contributed to outcomes.Informationwas gainedthrough semi-structured interviews withpast and present committeemembers and staff and leadership representatives.The general analytic strategy followed was based on Yin (1994) but was modifiedto be congruent with the exploratory nature ofthis study. I relied on the theoretical modeland four general guidelines in determining to which data to attend, in organizing myapproach to the cases, and in defining alternative explanations to be examined.The guidelines were based oneach ofthe literatures examined, and were as follows:1) the power dynamics that are manifested may be rooted in deep structures, so unearthinghidden assumptions and values is desirable; 2) the degree of institutionalization of thecommittee may affect the relationships between the variables in the model; 3) the level ofmembershipparticipationinunionaffairsmay affectcommitteegoals andoutcomes achievedfor women; 4) the degree to which goals sought challenge the status quo may affect howeasily they can be achieved. However, a conscious effort was made to remain open toemergent insights and unexpected relationships through the data collection process, and myapproach was modified to madmize data collected. In analyzing the data collected, I madecomparisons withinunions andbetweenunions overtime to discoverpatterns withinthe dataand possible explanations for outcomes, and to determine whether these patterns and/orexplanations held for both unions studied.Data Collection Procedures:Yin (1994) recommends a number of principles to follow in collecting data to62enhance reliability and validity: 1) multiple sources of evidence should be used to obtainmultiplemeasures ofthe samephenomenon; 2) a case study data or evidentiary base shouldbe maintained, separate from the report, to give other researchers access to the data andpermit replicability; 3) a chain of evidence should be maintained so that links between theresearch questions and case study conclusions can be traced; 4) key informants shouldreview the draft case study report to corroborate the facts and evidence presented.I satisfied these requirements by: 1) collecting data from multiple archival recordsas well as from informant interviews; 2) retaining a hard copy of all interview transcriptsand archival records bearinguponthe research question; 3) ensuring that my interpretationsof the data were clearly differentiated from the factual data collected, and wheredisagreement existed that the full range of opinion as well as the predominant opinion ofinformants was presented; 4) giving every informant an opportunity to examine the reportand provide feedback. The main factual data were collected from the archives and fromsupplementary information gained from staff representatives attached to the women’scommittees or other informed union sources.The archival search which preceded the interviews was essential for a number ofreasons. Most obviously, what the interviews should focus on had to be identified, and hadto be situated in the wider contextofevents occurring within and outside the unionto allowme to better understand the informants’ comments and to prompt them to discussexplanations for committee outcomes other than those supplied by the theoretical model. Inaddition, the archival research suggested some issues to consider during the interviews thatthe theoretical model overlooked. Also, for purposes of making comparisons over time63within and between unions it was necessary to compile statistics on the variables in themodel throughout the period.The archival records that were considered included: meeting minutes ofthecommittee andunion leadership; newsletters andjournalspublished by the committee or theunion; reports submitted to the leadership by the women’s committee; leadership reports toconvention; committeereports to convention; conventionminutes withrespect to resolutionshandled; union constitutions and bylaws.Hence, the following purposes were achieved through archival research: 1) somequantitativemeasures ofthe variables in the theoreticalmodel were developed; 2) importantaspects ofthe changing internal environment ofthe union were quantified, such as changesin membership size and composition, changes in the level of female participation in theunion, changes in committee activities, changes in strategies employed by the committee;3) the relationships inthe model were clarified; 4) a chronology ofsignificantevents arisinginternally and externally that affected the union and the committee over time was compiled.The statistics compiled were necessarily limited by the data available but primarilyaddressed: 1) changes in female participation in union leadership and staff positions, inbargaining, and as delegates to policy-setting conventions; 2) the number of structuralchanges achieved and the proportionthat were social change oriented14;3) the numbers andkinds of resolutions pertaining to women’s issues that were brought to convention.14To qualify as social change oriented the primary beneficiaries ofthe resolutionhad to beexternal to the union membership and had to be implementable by the union rather than anoutside group.64It should be noted that in the BCTF case, unlike inthe BCGEU case, it was possibleto analyze the committee’s activities from committee minutes and other documentationavailable. A list of all the actions undertaken by the committee was compiled, whichidentified that basically two types of activities, political or educational, were undertaken.Political activities consisted of efforts made to directly influence one of three influentialgroups: 1) the BCTF leadership, 2) others with influence within the BCTF such as localexecutives, administrators, other committees, and 3) others influential outside the BCTFwho affected the BCTF, such as government, school boards, students. Educational activitiesconsisted of efforts to educate the same three groups. The activities that fell into these sixcategories were determined and three research confederates assisted withrunning reliabilitychecks on the categorizations. Agreement rates were between 76 and 90%. The results ofthis analysis can be found in Table 1.Upon completion of the archival research, the interview phase of the researchcommenced. Key incidents inthe history ofthe women’s committeewere initially identifiedby contacting two informants identified by the staffperson attached to the committee whogave me anoverview ofthe committee’shistory, its power overtime, its achievements, andthe obstacles it faced at various times. This provided the background used in determiningmy interview questions and identified important informants to contact.Prospectiveinformantswere initiallycontactedbytelephone, toldaboutthestudy andwho had referred me to them, and asked ifthey would be willing to be interviewed. Therewas no problem arranging these interviews which generally took place in their homes atwhatevertime was convenientforthem. The interviews weretape-recorded, generally lasted65two hours, and beganwithmy assurance that they would be giventhe opportunity to reviewthe draft of the report before it was finalized, and that none of their comments would bequoted in the final report without their consent. The format of the interviews was first todetermine the history of the informant’s personal involvement in the union and thecommittee. Then I asked about significant events in the committee’s history, when it wasmore or less powerful, and why. Probing questions were utilized constantly to understandthe rationale behind their comments. Afterwards, I introduced explanations provided byother informants and asked fortheircomments, to develop alternative explanations, identifypatterns, and resolve contradictions emerging from the data.At the end of the interview I asked for suggestions about other people to contact. Iwas most interested in maximizing the range ofopinions solicited, so I purposely sought tointerview representatives ofthe committee, staffassigned to the committee, and leadershiprepresentatives covering the fullrange ofthe committees’ histories. UltimatelyI interviewed16 people at the BCTF and 17 at the BCGEU. Informant feedback on the case write-upsconfirmed their accuracy and validity.Data Analysis:Miles and Huberman (1984) state that “the ideal model for data collection andanalysis is one that interweaves them from the beginning” (p.49). This is the approach thatwas taken in this study. An initial classification system based on the variables in thetheoretical model and the three categories ofgains for women that were ofconcern was setup to record and analyze data. All archival records ofinterest were photocopied so thatthey66could be easily consulted during data analysis and report preparation. Hard copies weremade of the interview transcripts which were stored as computer records.As data collectionproceeded, close attentionwas paid to regularities emerging fromthe data that rounded out the theoretical underpinnings of the study and suggested newavenues of inquiry to pursue during the interviews. Three general modes of data analysiswere applied to the data, pattern-matching, non-statistical time series analysis, andexplanationbuilding (Yin, 1994). Pattern-matching involved locatingpatterns inthedata foreach case, seeing if these were observable across the sample, and comparing them withpredictions based on theory. Time series analysis involved placing these patterns intohistorical context so that their evolution could be traced, and key factors in theirdevelopment analyzed. Explanation-building involved developing possible explanations forthe data obtained and seeing which ones were supportable once all data was collected.Efforts were made throughout the data collection and analysis phases to increasestudy reliability and validity. Throughout the study, the researcher’s and informants’proposed explanations for outcomes were checked in subsequent interviews to enhance bothreliability and validity. Records were kept of the analytical procedures and decision rulesused, as recommended by methodologists (Miles and Huberman, 1984). The researchercontinuously questioned all phases of the research to promote internal validity. Researchconfederates were utilized to run reliability checks on researcher-developed categories.Actual gains achieved were not assessed until after predictions based on the theoreticalmodel were established to avoid biasing the analysis. Conclusions reached were based ondata collected from multiple sources which similarly helped to eliminate researcher bias.67Finally, informants’ feedback on the draft reports was sought to correct factual errors andaffirm the validity ofthe conclusions reached.A number of other factors were built into the research design to enhance reliabilityand validity. They were previously mentioned but will be reviewed here. The first was theuse ofmultiple case studies, whichafforded the opportunity to discover whatgeneralizationscouldbe made across the sample, and hence provided a basis forpossibly generalizing thesefindingsbeyondthe women’s committees inthe sample. The contextual analysis thatderivedfrom the archival phase of this research grounded the findings and indicated what factorsmight affect suchgeneralizations. These study features promoted the external validity ofthestudy.Other factors promoting the internal validity and reliability of the study were alsobuilt into the research design. For instance, the use of relatively unstructured informantinterviews where the informant could query the researcher about the meaning of thequestions and the researcher could clarity the informants’ comments helped to ensure thataccurate information was obtained. Since multiple informants with different perspectiveswere interviewed in regard to the same event, many biases and inaccuracies were capturedby the researcher. The contextual analysis and the quantificationofthe variables promotedinternal validityby establishingbaselinedata againstwhichchanges could be measured. Thepreliminary archival work also provided an opportunity to generate many plausibleexplanations forthe outcomes observed, whichcouldbe investigated as the study proceeded.Unfortunately, there are limits to how well threats to internal and external validitycan be ruled out, particularly in the case of naturalistic inquiry conducted under68circumstances that do not lend themselves to experimental control or variable manipulation.Also, ideally this project would have been conducted by a research team to ensure that theresearcher’s own biases and preconceptions did not skew results. However, informants’comments suggest that there were enough controls built into the research design andprocedures to ensure the credibility ofresearch findings. These willbe presented inthe nextthree chapters.69Chapter 4. Case Study ofthe B.C. Teachers’ FederationIntroductionWhen I undertook to determine how and under what circumstances women’scommittees were able to secure gains for women, one theoretical point ofdeparture was thestructural model of power presented in the organizational literature. It identifiedorganizational structures as well as level and quality of effort exerted to achieve goals, asmajor sources ofpower. This model suggested thatfavourableorganizational and committeestructures would facilitate women’s committees’ efforts, and thathigherlevels ofpoliticallyastute activity on behalf of women would be accompanied by greater gains for women.As I examined the data collected at the BCTF, it became apparent that a secondexplanatory framework would be helpful. Based on the social movement literature, itdepictedwomen’s committees as socialmovementorganizationscommittedto socialchange,that were housed within unions, seen as larger social movement organizations. The uniongoverning bodies controlled committee budgets, resources, and governing structures, werenot necessarily sympathetic to their social change objectives, and had the power to destroythem.This theoretical model upheld the importance of structures and activity levels inwomen’s committee power. But it also emphasized the need to consider the women’scommittees’ actions within the context of the structures governing their actions and theresponses of their governing bodies to them. Furthermore, since both structures and thetypical behaviour of both the governing bodies and the committees changed over time,70consideration had to be given to time period.Consequently, I identified four periods over the committee’s history during whichthe structures ofboththe BCTF and the committeeremainedrelatively stable. Theseperiodswere: 1)1973-1977; 2)1977-1981; 3)1981-1988; and 4)1988 to the present. During thefirst period, the status of women program was born, and it was in this period that theorganizational structures that would govern its operations until 1988 were formed.At the end of the first period, the status of women task force became a standingcommittee, achieving a positionofpermanence which it had not had previously. During thesecond period, it strengthened its network and refined its existing organizational structures.In the third period, the BCTF became committed to securing full bargaining rights andchanged its zonal structure to facilitate that process. The Status of Women Committee(SWC) adopted that structure to support the bargaining initiative, but all other aspects of itsstructure were maintained. In the final period, in response to a leadership change, many ofthe structures governing the committee were also changed. This had a substantial impact onhow the committee functioned in the future.Within these periods, I tried to determine how goals, actions, and outcomes forwomen were linked. The study indicated that the internal characteristics of the committeeseemed less deterministic of outcomes in the fourth period than in the previous three. Thisappeared to be a byproductofthe increasing institutionalizationofthe committee over time.The variables that retained their importance throughout the committee’s history were theexternal environment, levels of leadership and membership support within the BCTF,committee and BCTF structures, andthe committee’sownactions. These variables andtheir71interactions created the women’s committee’s potential ability to secure gains for womenduring particular periods.Whetherornot thispotentialwas realizedproved to depend onthe existing structuresas well as on the women’s committee’s ability to influence structures as well as the othervariables, which was time-bound and dependentonthe leadership’s willingness to listen. Sofor example, a period generally favourable for securing gains for women could be negatedif the leadership imposed unfavourable structural changes onto the committee, perhaps inresponse to actions it did not support.In the next four sections, following a short summary of how the BCTF’s Status ofWomen Program (SWP) came into existence, the variables in the theoretical model will beexamined individually and collectively overeach ofthe four periods using documentary andinterview sources to determine whatpotential for securing gains existed eachperiod. Actualgains achievedwillthenbe examined, and anygaps betweenanticipated and actual outcomeswill be discussed.Background to the Establishment of the Task Force:The context of the early 1970’s in B.C. was encouraging for groups interested inpromotingthe status ofwomenineducation. AnNDP governmenthadbeenelected in 1972,the Minister of Education was female and in favour of women’s rights, and a provincialadvisor on sexual discrimination had been appointed. At the federal level, the newlyreleased Report of the Royal Commission on the Status of Women had revealed that asubstantialdisparity existedbetweenmen and women, partly due to the educational system.72Within the BCTF, a small group offeministteachers known as WomenIn Teaching(WIT) had been meeting since 1969. The members were already aware of and concernedabout sexual discrimination in schools, but had found little support for their concerns. TheRoyal Commission report was the catalyst that drove them to urge the BCTF executive tolook into the status offemale teachers and students inB.C. The executive agreed, and a taskforce was set up in 1971 which was chaired by a member of that feminist group. The firsttask force was succeeded by a second one, which eventually came up with 46recommendations forchange. Sevenofthe recommendations were takento the 1973 AnnualGeneral Meeting and despite very stormy debate, all but one were passed by the delegates(See Appendix A).As a result, instead of disbanding the task force, a status of women program wasestablished and a full-timecoordinator was hired to work with the task force to improve thestatus of women in the government of the BCTF and in education in B.C.Examination ofthe Status of Women Program, 1973-1977Discussion of the Theoretical Model:1. Environment:Initially this was a fairly calm period for the BCTF. It supported the NDPgovernmentelected in 1972, school budgets were adequate, and the country as a whole wasenjoying fairly prosperous times. The second phase ofthe women’s movement had begun,but women in general had not yet developed the level ofawareness necessary for militancy.Period 1 73This period ofcalm came to an end whenthe teacher-friendly NDPgovernment wasreplaced by the Social Credit party in 1975 and a federal anti-inflation program wasintroduced in 1976. The provincial government passed a bill to place teachers under thefederal program, which caused teacher salary roll backs. As a consequence the BCTFbecame more militant in defence of its members’ interests and in defence of publiceducation, and eager to acquire the right to strike.On the bargaining front, under the School Act BCTF locals were restricted tonegotiating pay and benefits, and compulsory arbitration was imposed if the local and thelocal school boards could not reach agreement. Maternity benefits were governed by theprovincial Maternity Protection Act, which afforded 17 weeks of paid maternity leave.Leaves beyond that period were uncommon in collective agreements, and paternity orparenthood leaves did not exist. Similarly, contract language protecting women againstsexual harassment and discrimination was non-existent since only money items could benegotiated.Female involvement in the governance ofthe BCTF at the local or provincial levelwas low. Despite the fact that females constituted 54% of the members of the BCTF in1973, at that time only one ofthe 11 executive committee members was female. Iffemalessat on their local executives, it was likely to be as the secretary (in 48 of the 75 locals)ratherthanthe president (in 8 ofthe locals). Eveninterms ofthe federation’s administrativestaff, only 10% was female.2. Levels of Support For The SWP:Membership - According to informants, male and female attitudes toward status ofwomenPeriod 1 74issues were largely negative at the start of the period. The Women in Teaching group,committed to the eradication of sex discrimination in education, had fewer than 9 regularmembers in 1970. One of its members at the time commented at that, “it seemed like thewhole world was unaware of sex discrimination and particularly the teaching body in theeducational system was still laughing about ‘women’s lib’...”The situation seemingly changed little between 1969 and 1973, despite the reportproduced by the Royal Commission onthe Status ofWomen. According to a member oftheBCTF task force that was set up in 1971 to examine sex discrimination in education, mostof its members “were not convinced that there was a problem...” There was also areluctance on that task force to rock the boat. I was told,We couldn’t say anything about counsellors because that would offend counsellors,and we could’t say anything about textbooks because that was the purview of thegovernment, and the only thing we could talk about was women in administration,but we had to be very careful, we wouldn’t want to offend anyone.The people I spoke with felt that the recommendations brought forward to the 1973Annual General Meeting (AGM) regarding the establishment of a Status of Women taskforce mightnothavebeenpassed ifthepredominantly male delegationhad notbeen shamedinto it. A member of the Status of Women Task Force reported:They were makingjokes, sexist comments inthe middleofourreport and during thedebate onthe recommendations. Awomangotup and chastised themeeting....Itwasembarrassing for them, so they passed the recommendations.The firststatus ofwomencoordinator reportedthat a manbearing aplacardproclaiming that“Eve was God’s first mistake” disrupted a meeting where she was discussing status ofwomen issues. Informantsmaintained thatthere were repeated attacks on the SWP’sbudgetfromthe Representative Assembly (RA)whichrepresented the locals, andwas heavily male-Period 1 75dominated with less than 15% of the representatives female.There was evidence of resistance to the SWP in some of the resolutionsbroughtbefore the executive committee in 1975. One ofthe locals opposed having a section oftheMembers’ Guide entitled “Status ofWomen”, wanting itreplaced by “Status ofWomen andMen”. It also proposed, “That a serious review be made of the need for the Status ofWomen Program”. Also, while contacts were quickly established in each local, informantsreported that it was rare to find status of women issues being discussed at that level.However, the situation improved over the period. Later in the period, according toinformants, “those who spoke out against women’s issues were being slammed, and therewas a backlash in our favour, so there was more momentumfortheprogram.” The majorityof members did not support attempts to scuttle the program, and all 14 of the resolutionsthe SWC presented to the AGM’s between 1974 and 1977 were passed15.Resolutions thatsupported the aims of the SWP were brought forward from the locals. Also, some of thefemale members of the locals began pressuring the male members to develop moreprogressive attitudes. As reported by the first coordinator of the SWP, following theplacard-bearing incident female members ofthe local convinced their local executive oftheneed to devote professional development time to the discussion of women’s issues.Leadershit Support - Prior to the establishment ofthe status ofwomen task force, only oneof the executive members was female. According to one of the members of Women InTeaching, the executive’s reaction when it had heard of WIT’s establishment had been,15This was perhaps because the SWC was successful in increasing the female delegation tothe AGM’s over that period to approximately 50%.Period 1 76“huge guffaws and carryings on. They said, ‘I’ve heard oftwits and I’ve heard ofwitches,but I’ve never heard of WIT!” Nevertheless, the executive committee agreed unanimouslyin 1973 to appoint a full-time coordinator and to work toward improving the status ofwomen in education and withinthe BCTF to “demonstrate the concern ofthe BCTF for therights and responsibilities of women.” Furthermore, in 1975 it agreed to continue theprogram and to extendthe coordinatorpositionfor another two years. One informantnoted:I don’tthink they saw it as a big deal. Their attitude was, the danm thing passed atthe AGM so now we’re going to have to spend some money on it. I don’t thinktheysaw a threat here. It was a fairly long time before that happened.The situation was not completely rosy however. Executive committeeminutes showthat there was some dissent regarding the 1975 decisions. Also, in 1977 whenthe executivecommittee voted to change the status of women task force into a standing committee, aneffort was made to convert it into an “Equality of Opportunity” committee instead. Whilethe committee was established, again there was one dissenting vote.Nevertheless, despite the dissent, overall leadership support for the program wasquite strong. In its reports to the AGM between 1973 and 1977 the executive supported theneed forthe program and spoke favourably abouttheprogress beingmade. Their desire wasto meld status of women concerns into existing BCTF programs so that the SWP couldeventually be eliminated as a discrete program’6,but they noted the “continuing need todevote a special portion ofBCTF resources to the goal ofeliminating sex discrimination inevery aspect of education”. The executive committee also made the establishment of anaffirmative action program a priority in 1976/77. So leadership support for the SWP16That was one of their stated priorities for 1974/75.Period 1 77remained strong throughout the period.According to informants, some ofthis support had its roots in a secret leftistcaucuswhich included feminist activists and members of WIT and the SWC. This caucus calleditself “Teachers’ Viewpoint” when it went public in 1977. Its platform was described in aBCTF newsletter. Among other things it was committed to “taking positions on social andpolitical issues ofthe day”, “curricula and school practices which are non-sexist, non-racist,and reflect the reality of working people”, and working for “equal status for men andwomen, forteachers and principals, forminority groups, and forequality ofopportunity forall students.” Once formally established in 1977, Viewpoint published its own newspaper,held regional meetings, and metregularly priorto meetings ofthe BCTF’s governing bodiesto develop strategies that would promote the group’s interests.However, according to informants, evenwithinperiod one the SWC members withinthis left caucus found themselves having to choose between doing what they believed wasbest for the SWP and what was best for Viewpoint. Three controversial resolutionsregarding school athletics programs that the SWC had advanced had to be withdrawn at the1976 AGM to ensure that a Viewpoint candidate running for a BCTF executive positionwould be elected. Subsequently SWC members decided that Viewpoint’s interests wouldnever again take precedence over the SWP’s. This had a long-term impact on leadershipsupport for the SWP which will become evident in later periods.3. Structures:BCTF - The BCTF went through a reorganization exercise just prior to the establishmentof the Status of Women task force. The executive committee’s report to the 1974 AGMPeriod 1 78stated that members had overwhelmingly approved existing structures and democraticprocesses. Consequently, no notable structural changes were introduced in period one.SWP - During period one, few changes occurred inthe structures firstestablishedto governthe Status of Women Committee. These consisted of a 5-person task force, a network oflocal contacts, and a zonal structure to maintain links between the provincial task force andthe local contacts. The number ofmeetings to be held annually was not stipulated, but sincemost ofthe committee members came from the Lower Mainland, both formal and informalmeetings occurred frequently. The task force was meant to be an advisory committee to theexecutive, hence all resolutions proposed by the task force had to be approved by theexecutive before they could be taken to the membership.Formal terms of reference for the task force were not specified until 1977 when itwas transformed into a standing committee with 7 members and 6 scheduled meetingsannually (see Appendices B and C for original and current committee terms of reference).The program’s initial objectives were: 1) to encourage more female participation inFederation activities; 2) to bring about the elimination from teaching contracts of anyprovisions discriminating against women; 3) to encourage women to qualify for and applyfor administrative positions in education; 4) to eliminate prejudices against the employmentof women teachers to administrative posts; 5) to create an awareness of the degree of sexstereotyping and sexist discrimination at all levels in the school system.Ofthe resolutions proposed by the committee during this period, only one that wasbrought forward and passed at the 1977 AGM had formal structural implications. Itencouraged local executives to make local contacts voting members of the executive.Period 1 79Implementationwas leftto the discretion ofthe local, but by the end oftheperiod, the localchairpersons of 22 SWC’s were voting members of their executives.It was during this period that the SWC initiated a two day contacts’ trainingconference, and started developing and delivering workshops on status of women issuesaround the province. Itwas also during this period that the status ofwomen newsletterwasestablished, to help the provincial committee educate and stay in touch with the contacts.It was published approximately five times per year and distributed to contacts, the tableofficers, the RA and to BCTF staff. The contacts were to ensure it was accessible to localmembers. It contained information about status of women initiatives being undertaken atlocal and provincial level, discussed status ofwomenissues around the world, and providedcurricular resources that would be useful to classroom teachers.4. SWC Activities and Characteristics:From the beginning, the people involved in the SWP viewed it a means to an end,that end being the improvement of society for everyone. In an eloquent expression of thatphilosophy, an early SWP coordinator declared:We must always look toward the issues that will further the development of theprogram, not for its own sake, but for that goal that we must always keep in mindof improving the society for all people. . .the enemy is the entire society and thestructures of it because that is what causes the problem for all oppressed groups.As another former committee member succinctly put it, “We wanted a revolution in howthings were done.”My informants were clear on their target, which was to get more women intoadministration, but rather to eliminate hierarchical structures altogether and introducefeminist processes. “Feminists” were defined for me as people “who understand that thePeriod 1 80world is structured in powerful ways, and that some people havepower while others don’t.A feminist approach to power is to collect a base of peopleto challenge the powerstructure.” This was to be accomplished using feministprocesseswhich were described as,“You set your own agenda and you involve the grassroots, and they determinewhat’s to bedone. Also the rotating leadership was something we believed in.”Once the SWP had been established, the task force and coordinatoragreed thattheirfirst task was to establish a network ofcontacts across the provinceto support the work ofthe provincial task force. In line with their socialist and feministphilosophy, the programwas to develop from a grassroots base of support. Feminist processeswere to be followedin building the program. Input to guide the program would besought from the grassrootsand consensus decisionmaking would be achieved through open andegalitarian discussion.The committee would have a rotating chair, group support wouldbe a central part of theprogram, and the objective would be to empower women.However, before that could be accomplished, the membershiphad to be convincedofthe need fortheprogram. The first SWPcoordinator reported onheractivities inthe firstyear.I travelled extensively, made contact with as many people as I could,and I beggedfor opportunities to attend general meetings and RA meetings. I developed speechesthat were designed to get at the real issues and to get away from the idea thatthiswasjusta bunchofcrazy womenwho wantedto burnbras. . .1 talked about economicissues...we could show that 2/3 ofpeople on welfare were women, we couldshowthat average salaries for male and female teachers were substantiallydifferent, thatwomen teachers were much worse qualified ... then therewere children andmaternity leaves, and how come women should be penalized.So it was very easyto make our points logically... I did everything I could to get peopleto buy this asa valid program that was significant and important to teachers whocared aboutchildren.Period 1 81The task force members and the contacts were also extensively involved in outreachactivities during this period. Their efforts were directed toward influencingthe governmentwith respect to non-sexist curriculum changes and to working with other women’s groupsto raise awareness in the communities that there was a need for change.Despite these outreach activities, most of their efforts were directed toward theBCTF. They forged liaisons with potential allies on the administrative staff and othercommittees, opened up information links internally, and maintained a presence at meetingsofthe executive committee to address any status ofwomen issues that might come up. Theymade a point of using their contact network to influence decisions made by the executivecommittee, and to influence events at the AGM’s. The task force members also ran 81workshops on women’s issues in 1977 and visited up to 27 locals annually in period one.An examination of the tactics used during the period indicated that during thisperiod, 76% ofthe SWC‘s strategies were geared to politicaloreducational ends (See Table1.2). Politicaltactics included things like sending delegations ofSWC members to meetingsofthe RA and the executive committee to lobby for desired actions, controlling the AGM’sby planning floor strategies and mobilizing contacts to support status ofwomen resolutions,and running SWC members as candidates for election. The proportion of total tactics thatwas political was 41%. Sixteen percent of tactics were geared to pressuring the executivecommittee or the RA (See Table 1.1). Interms ofoutreach, 20% ofthe committee’s effortswere geared to groups or individuals outside the BCTF See Table 1.3).Interms ofresolutions proposed to the AGM’s overtheperiod (See Table2), almostall (15/16) sought to pressure some group or individual inside or outside the BCTF toPeriod 1 82pursue an initiative that would promote the status ofwomen. Ofthese,9 sought to pressurethe BCTF. Thirteenofthemqualifiedas social change oriented,meaning thatthe resolutionssought action by the BCTF the primary beneficiarieswere external to the BCTF’smembership. The content of these resolutions willbe examined in a later section of thispaper. To summarize the SWC’s actions for the period,it was a very busy time for thecommittee during which its political nature and socialchange orientation were veryapparent.5. Potential For Gains:Informants agreed that the early years were heady onesfor the SWP, and thecommittee perceived itself as successful during this period.Because of the excitementstimulated by the women’s movement, the external social environmentsupported thecommittee’smandate. Despite lack ofsupport from the more conservativemembers, publicdenigration ofthe program was unacceptable to much ofthe membership,and membershipsupport was growing. Leadership support was high as well, and thepolitical astuteness andenergy ofthe committee had been well demonstrated. Asa then-current committeemembercommented, “We werejust so energetic and excited, and societal conditionswere right. Wecouldn’t lose. We couldn’t not go ahead.”The analysis suggests that this should have been a period during whichgains forwomen could have been achieved, because all of the power resourcesidentified in thetheoretical model were positive. Itmightbe recalled thatthe gains thatwere to be examinedin this research were: 1) improvements in female participationin the governance of theBCTF; 2) improvements in structures governing theSWC that would make future socialPeriod 1 83change more likely; 3) improvements incontract clauses favourable toward women. Actualgains in these areas will now be discussed.Examination of Gains Achieved Over the Period:Gains achieved in three areas through the efforts ofthe status of women task forcewere considered. Statistics gathered from documentary sources indicate that gains weremade withrespect to increases infemale involvement inthe governance ofthe BCTF duringthis period (See Table 3.1). Whereas the proportion of the membership that was femaleremained constant at 54% over the period, the proportion of females on the executivecommittee increased from 9% to 27%, and on the RA the increase was from 14% to 25%.However, the proportion of local presidents that was female stood at only 17% at the endofthe period, increased from 11 % in 1973, andtheproportionoffemale administrative staffremained unchanged at approximately 19%.Structural changes achieved overperiod one were substantial. The statistics indicatethat ten policies and six procedures were directly generated by the SWC over the period(See Table 3.2). All of the policies and three of the procedure statements could beconsidered social change oriented, although all but one referred strictly to educationalmatters.By the end ofperiod one, policies existed that stated that sexist curricula should bereplaced, teachers shouldbecomemore aware ofthe effects ofdiscrimination, schoolboardsshould examine the status of female students and teachers, the federal government shouldeliminate programs and advertisements derogatory to women, and affirmative actionPeriod 1 84programs shouldbe implementedby federal andprovincialgovernments. Onthe local scene,integrated sports andopenenrolmentwere to be encouraged, andcounsellors were no longerto be assigned on the basis of sex.Procedural statements committed the BCTF to non-sexist language, theencouragement of female applicants to administrative posts, consideration of women’shistory and status of women issues in revised curricula, and the development of in-serviceprograms to enhance general awareness of sex stereotyping as well as negotiation ofparenthood leaves. Structural changes directly applicable to the SWP included theestablishment of the contact network and the placement of contacts on local executivecommittees. The contact network was quickly established, and as mentioned, 22 localscomplied with the directive to have contacts as voting members ofthe executive by the endof the period.Bargaining gains were not remarkable over the period (See Table 3.3), but to someextent this is because until 1987, the School Act restricted teachers’ right to negotiate non-monetary benefits. School boards could quite legitimately refuse to negotiate many of theitems of interest to the SWP. Nevertheless, some school boards did negotiate extendedmaternity benefits. Between 1973 and 1977, the number of contracts with this provisionincreased from 11 to 15 out of a maximum of 75, and parenthood leave was negotiated inthree locals. Paid paternity leave was negotiated in two contracts, while unpaid paternityleave existed in three contracts. But there was relatively little evidence that the SWP hadmade inroads on the bargaining front.Period 1 85Nevertheless, it must be acknowledged that four years was not a very long periodover which to start a program and amass gains, and gains reported acquire greatersignificance when contrasted with those achieved in later periods. In thenext section, thesecond period in the SWC’s history will be examined.Examination ofthe Status of Women Program, 1977-1981Discussion of the Theoretical Model:1. Environment:The provincial government’s adoption of federal wage control guidelines imposedunder the anti-inflation program continued to aggravate the BCTF. The cap on wageincreases was 6% after October, 1977 and resulted in additional salary roll backs for B.C.teachers. The BCTF decided to fight the program, lobbying the government and liaisingwith labour to develop joint actionplans. One ofthe strategies implemented was a one daywithdrawal ofteaching services. In 1980/81, the BCTF was involved in a major fight withthe government with respect to pension indexing, which was marked by periodic rotatingstrikes and demonstrations. This contributed to the pressure whichcontinued to grow withinthe BCTF to acquire expanded bargaining rights, and it became the federation’s priority atthe 1981 AGM. Other BCTF concerns during this period were declining public support forpublic education and declining enrolment.Onthebargaining front, acourtrulingupholdinganarbitrationdecisionthatdeclaredthe negotiation of extended maternity benefits to be outside the jurisdiction of the BCTFhampered progress in that area, but some boards expressed a willingness to considerPeriod 2 86negotiationofnoon hour supervision and additional preparation time infuture negotiations.2. Levels of Support For The SWP:Membership - Since membership delegates voted to have standing status of womencommittees established in the locals at the 1977 AGM, membershipsupport at the start ofthe period appeared high. Throughout the period the localsbrought forward resolutionssupporting the aims of the SWP. Also, all of the resolutions recommendedby the SWCprior to the 1981 AGM were passed, although one, dealing with preferential hiring offemales to administrative positions until a representative balance ofmales and females wasachieved, was modified before passing.The SWC’s perception was that member support was high. As a then-currentcommitteemember stated, “The program was growing, gaining support from women inthefield, we were abiding by the rules and winning non-feminists and men over to our cause”.However, there was a sense that focusing on improving the lot of students was moreacceptable to the membership than focusing on issues affecting female staffdirectly. As oneinformant put it, “. . .many of the members are the martyrs, and would find it moreacceptable to deal withmotherhood-type issues [because] maybe they couldn’t even see thatthere was a need [for changes for themselves].”Much of the support for the SWC was seen to arise from the SWP network.Representative comments on this topic included: “The SWP’s support was always stronglyembedded among anactivistgroup withinmost locals...”; “. . .wewanted to be aware ofhowwe could keep building that support. We always came back to our grassrootsnetwork outthere across the province.”Period 2 87Despite the strength of the network, there were elements within the membershipduring this period, as in period one, who did not support the SWC. In November, 1978,a member proposed that the SWC should be renamed the Status of Feminists Committee.Committeemembers recalled, “we had to always stay alertto who could stab us in theback,because people did...”. One informant recalled, in reference to the late1970’s and early1980’s, “When I first became involved in my local, women who were involved in the SWPwere labelled, they weren’t acceptable to the membership as a whole. They were seenaswhiny, cranky women.”There was disagreement among my informants about what proportion ofthemembership supported the SWP’s aims atthat time. Two comments are representative: “I’dsay there was a very significant minority, maybe 25%, who would not support women’sprograms but fewer than that who would speak out...”; “...We have historically beensensitive to the fact that we are not supported from the vast majority ofpeople out there.”So there was evidence of a lack of support for the SWC during the second period.Despite the potential for backlash among the members, at the 1981 AGM the SWCintroduced two controversial resolutions supporting women’s rightto chooseat a time whenabortion was considered an offence under the Criminal Code. The first recommendationwas, “That the BCTF support the right ofwomen regardless ofage, marital status,incomeor geographical location to: a) have access to a full range of information, counselling, andmedical services with respect to their health and well-being; b) decide whether or when tohavechildren. The secondrecommended, “Thatthe [CanadianTeachers’ Federation] shouldseek to have abortion removed from the Criminal Code of Canada.”Period 288Their rationale was, “It was basicallythere to protect counsellors,although it wasalso to raise the issue and give it focus,give counsellors andteachers the protectionoftheunion ifthey disseminatedinformation about birth control,etc.” The resolutions createdagreat deal of strife withinthe BCTF, pitting the pro-choicers,which included SWCsupporters, against the pro-lifers,and solidifying the negative attitudestoward the SWC ofthose members opposed to BCTF involvementin “non-educational issues”.Specific arguments made againstthe recommendations,as reported in the BCTFnews publication, included argumentsabout the supremacy oflife, that abortion wasapersonal issue upon which“we can all take a standat our own time and at ourownexpense”, and that “I cannotmorally accept my fees beingused to promote somethingthatis against my conscience.” Predictionswere made that there wouldbe a split within thefederationifthese recommendationswere passed. Nevertheless,the resolutions passed witha 60 to 70% majority of the delegatesto the 1981 convention.The immediate response was anoutpouring of lettersof protest to the BCTFNewsletter. The SWC was chargedwith blatantly manipulatingthe delegates by means ofa “teclmically legitimate but totallyimmoral procedure” whichwas described as:There were runners goingfrom mike to mike to give instructionsto those who hadjammedthe line-ups. . .a “negative” speakerwas able to advancefrommid-lineto thefront so that “both sides” ofthe issue had been heardfrom after only twospeakers. . . [a] hand signal [was]given to the third speakerto bring the debateto ahalt by moving the question afterjustthose two speakers...In response, committee supporterswrote letters charging that,“The use of parliamentarytechnicalities to stall andobfuscate debate was employedby those who opposed therecommendations and not,as many would suggest, bythe supporters of themotions.”Period 2 89Another supporter wrote, “It didn’tmatter that I neverreached the microphone, becausethedebate which took place clearly indicated the rightand necessity of such a choice.”My informants admitted that they stacked the microphoneson the AGM floor, butthey did not see anything wrong with their strategy,which they described as, “we lobbied,organized, spoke and won”. Overthe abortionissue, the SWC demonstrated its strengthandraised the ire of a lot of members, but also demonstratedthat its social change orientationwas supported by the bulk ofthe delegates whowere supposedly representing their locals.Leadership - Leadership support appearedto be high through much of the period.TheSWC’s recommendations to establish standing statusofwomencommittees inthe locals andto convert the task force into a standing committeewere approved by the executivecommittee. In 1979 a former SWC chair was electedto the executive, and the followingyear, three other status of women activists joinedher, so there was a very strong feministpresence on the executive committee in period two,particularly in 1980/81.Other indicators of leadership support were foundin the archives. In November,1977 the executive endorsed a briefproducedby the committee on equalizing learning andworking opportunities for female teachers and students.The briefidentified some initiativesthatcouldbe undertakenatthe local level to redresstheunbalanced distributionofmale andfemale teachers in elementary and secondary schools.The executive also agreed to thedistributionofa questionnaire querying all candidatesrunning forelectionat the 1978 AGMabout their stance on various status of women issues. Finally,all the recommendationsproposed by the SWC from 1977-1980 were forwardedto the AGM, with the exception ofthose thatthe executive either passed on itsown authority, or directed elsewherewithinthePeriod 2 90federation for handling.From 1979-1981, Viewpointcontrolled the executive and in 1979 the committeewasexpanded from a seven to a nine-person committee, a strong demonstration ofsupport. Butaccording to infonnants, some of the executive committee members were disturbed by thepro-choice resolutions. “The rightto choose resolutions werebroughtforwardto the chagrinof the men on the left. They disagreed with what was going on but it was beyond theircontrol.” The committee was reputed to be excessively strong in some eyes, and committeemembers began to suspect that the SWP was being used as a pawn by some of the maleleaders who had their own agenda. One informant suggested that, “They saw us as an allyto what their bigger ante might be”, and as such, “their support was conditional on theSWC’s doing what it was toldto do.” Anotherinformantmaintainedthat, “The progressivesonthe executive committee supported us as long as we stayed withinthe frameworkoftheirpower. But the key was to stay within that framework.” When they refused to do so in theaftermath ofthe 1976 AGM, they no longer enjoyed full support from Viewpoint. As oneinformant explained, “When we got so strong that we began to question more ofwhat theywere proposing, a whole different level of operation began.” The long-term consequencesbecame evident at the end of the next period.3. Structures:BCTF - In response to the provincial government’s adoption of the federal anti-inflationprogram, two new committees were established within the BCTF which had some impacton the SWP. The Political Action Committee was formed to make recommendations onpolitical action initiatives to be undertaken to fight the program, and the Labour LiaisonPeriod 2 91Committee encouraged the development of linkages between the BCTF and organizedlabour. The establishment of these committees foreshadowed the increasingly politicalagenda the BCTF was to pursue in the future, and the eventual transformationofthe BCTFinto a more militant federation ofunions.SWP - Many of the structural changes that occurred over this period have already beenmentioned. The task force was transformed into a standing conunittee, and its terms ofreference (See Appendix B) gave some guarantee ofcontinuity to the thrust to eliminate sexdiscrimination in education. This was reinforced by the executive committee’s expansion ofthe committee in 1979 to a nine-person from a seven-person committee. Committeemembers played an active role in determining appointments to the committee. Thecommittee began to operate with co-chairs, partly to give more members the experience ofholding the chair but also to lighten the chair’s workload which was getting onerous. Theonly other change that occurred during the period is that a resolution was passed at theAGM that recommended that locals establish status of women standing committees withappropriate funding. By the end of the period, 57 of the 75 locals had established thesecommittees.Throughout this period six meetings were held per year. The status of womennewsletter continued to be published five or six times a year, but upon request it wasdistributed to groups outside the BCTF. The program budget more than doubled duringperiod two to approximately $168,000.4. SWC Activities and Characteristics:The types ofactivities the committee engaged in over the secondperiod were similarPeriod 2 92to those of the earlier period.Networking with other women’s groups, including theVancouver Status ofWomen, had been emphasized right from the task force’s beginnings.The network was expanded in period two, in that the committee started to forge ties withthe National Action Committee on the Status of Women. The committee gained ahigherprofile inthe BCTF by setting up displays and presenting to various BCTF conferences andmeetings. It also organized a student conference on sexism in schools and began to makepresentations to school boards to convince them to discontinue discriminatory policies andpractices. In addition, it began to attend RA meetings to influence decisions made in thatvenue, and to train workshop facilitators.Itmade additionalefforts to mobilizethe contacts, encouragingthem to write articlesforthe newsletter, to get involvedoncurriculum advisory committees and to attend regionalpolitical action meetings. Meeting minutes indicated that it also made additional efforts toremind contacts of the feminist philosophy underlying the program, and of the history ofthe committee to that point.Through the contact network and its workshops, the SWC tried to identify areas ofconcern to the membership, which determined what resolutions it brought forward at theAGM. “We listenedto whatpeople inthe field said concerned them, worked onresolutions,did our research, and did our homework, and then put those resolutions forward.” Thecommittee also usedthe contact network to workthe AGM’s in order to influence who waselected to the executive, and to get SWP resolutions passed. “Since they originally camefrom the grassroots, [the contacts] would speak in favour of them.”Period 2 93The pre-AGM meetings were an importantmeans ofaccomplishing their objectives:We always had pre-AGM meetings to talk about the issues, and suggest delegatesto be supported. We usually had a keynote speaker, discussed what the SWC hadaccomplished and wanted to accomplish, and round table discussions on issuesaffecting women that were coming up at the AGM. We would encourage women tobecome more active in the federation.Outside the contact network, the committee also maintained contact with local women’sgroups, organized labour, and various government bodies, and delivered between 70 and100 workshops each year across the province.Similar to period one (See Table 1.2), 75% of the SWC‘s tactics were geared topolitical or educational ends this period, and the proportion of their political strategiesdirected to either the executive committee or the RA stayed approximately the same at 17%(See Table 1.1). The proportion of their political and educational tactics that were gearedto groups or individuals outside the BCTF fell from 20% to 16% (See Table 1.3).In terms of the 13 resolutions proposed to the AGM’s (See Table 2), all sought toexert pressure on some person or group, with the pressure directed atthe BCTF authoritiesin 5 of the cases. Eleven of them qualified as social change oriented.To summarize the changes in SWC activities between the first and second periods,the SWC remained extremely active and became evenmore oriented toward pressuring theauthorities during the latter period, although fewer ofits activities were directed externally.The social change orientation ofthe resolutions proposed to the AGM remained apparent.5. Potential For Gains:At the end ofthe period, the committee feltpowerful. One member who hadjoinedin 1980 recalled, “When I joined the committee, part ofthe discussion always was how toPeriod 2 94keep power. We felt powerful..“.The committee was aware that to stay powerful,itneeded more workers. All the work of the committee from 1977-1981 was done by 16people, some ofwhomhad been serving prior to thatperiod. The SWC’s report to the 1978AGM stated:The BCTF Status of Women Program has shown remarkable growth since itsintroduction in 1973. At present, demands on staff and committee members areexcessive. In order to meet increasing demands for services from the membership,additional support for the program will be required in the near future.The leadership’s willingness to increase committee size created structural conditionsconducive to gains for women, and demonstrated leadership support for the program.Available indicators of membership support suggested that the grassroots-based strategyemployed helped to keep the committee in touch with the membership’s needs. Based onthese indicators, potential for gains for women during this period should have been high.The one counter-indicator was the decline in the proportion of committee effortsdirected externally, which became the future trend (See Table 1.3). This might havesignalled a change inthe committee’sphilosophicalorientationaway fromachieving society-wide change and a narrowing ofits focus to educational issues only. Because all but one ofthe early task force members were offthe task force by 1977, it is feasible that the radicalstructural feminist philosophy that had characterized the earlier task force members hadsoftened somewhat. If that was the case, potential for gains of a social movement naturemight have been lower than expected for this period, although the effect might not bediscernible until period three.Another possible explanation for the reduced external focus is that the committeemight have decided that given the time pressures it was under, internally-directed effortsPeriod 2 95such as negotiating model contract clauses pertaining to parenthood or educational leaves,and having the BCTF model affirmative action hiring, might have the greatest pay-off. Bythe end of period two it may have become apparent that many of the issues needing to beaddressed to eliminate sex discrimination in schools were curricular issues over which thegovernment, not the BCTF, had jurisdiction. This could have caused the committee torefocus its attentioninareas where it was most likely to succeed - those with an educationalfocus that the BCTF could influence.Examination of Gains Achieved Over the Period:Gains in three areas were considered. The statistics indicate that the second perioddid bring some gains for women (See Table 3.1). The proportion of females in themembership declined slightly over the period from 54% to 52%, but female involvementin the governance of the BCTF still improved in all areas except administration. Theproportion of females on the executive committee rose to 36% from 27% over the period.The proportion of females on the RA increased from 25% to 30%. While local presidentswere still overwhelmingly male, the proportion of presidents who were female rose from17% to 30% in period two. The proportion of females on the administrative staff stayedconstant at approximately 18%.Substantial structural changes were achieved during this period through the SWC’sefforts, althoughunlike in period one, not all ofthem appeared withinthe Status ofWomensection of the Members’ Guide. The statistics indicate that 10 policies and 2 procedureswere instituted over the period (See Table 3.2). Nine of the former and one of the latterPeriod 2 96were oriented to social change. Indicative of the committee’s continued radical feministphilosophy at this point, three of the policies as well as the procedure extended beyondeducational concerns.Among the policies introduced were those recommending that school boards, thegovernment, and teachers shoulddevelop Practical Life Skills and women’s studies courses,and family life and sex education programs to educate students about rape and sexualassault. Government-funded daycare centres should be provided, and the BCTF should takesteps to protect members from sexual harassment in schools.The new procedures committed the BCTF to affirmative action hiring foradministrative positions, to reimbursing members for child care expenses incurred while onBCTF business, and to negotiating various clauses of interest to the membership. Theseincluded 36 month paid parenthood leaves, continuation of pension fund contributions forteachers on maternity or parenthood leave, and educational leaves to obtain first degrees.Some of the procedures put in place were retained under the Status of Womensection. In this area, the BCTF committed itself to equalizing working and learningopportunities for students and staff by encouraging locals to develop affirmative actionprograms and establish status of women standing committees. It also committed itself todefending women’s right to non-discriminatory hiring. There were no additional policystatements added to this section. As mentioned earlier, 57 locals elected to establish localstatus of women committees, largely through the efforts ofthe local contacts.Regarding bargaining gains (See Table 3.3), despite the 1975 recommendation thatlocals should negotiate paid parenthood leave, only three more contracts included thatPeriod 2 97provision at the end of the second period, bringing the total contracts with that provisionto six out of a possible 75 contracts. The number of contracts with paid paternity leaveincreased from two to eight. Unpaid paternity benefits were negotiated in three morecontracts, bringing the total to six contracts with that provision by the end of the period.The number ofcontracts with extended maternity leave increased from 15 to 21. But therewere still no provisions fornon-sexistenvironments orsexualharassmentprotectionclauses,or for no discrimination clauses. So bargaining gains continued to materialize slowly.Discussion:Overall, the SWC’s excitement and enthusiasm produced steady but not outstandinggains for women over this period. The committee succeeded in increasing femaleinvolvement in governance in all areas but administration, and in initiating a number ofstructural changes through the resolutions proposed to the AGM’s. Regarding the latter,implementationwas an issue. Getting policies into the Members’ Guide did not necessarilytranslate into gains because ofthe BCTF‘s inability to implement these policies withoutthecooperation of other external groups. There was a similar problem with respect to theimplementation of procedures. The BCTF had the authority to change its hiring practicesand to pay for child care expenses, but the implementation of the other procedures was inthe hands ofthe locals, many ofwhich chose not to comply. In any event, the rate ofgainin the areas ofgovernance and structural change slowed considerably in period two relativeto period one. In the bargaining area, gains were even scarcer, again because the localscould not legally negotiate non-monetary issues.Period 2 98A possible explanation may be that the early gains came more easily because therewere a number of women waiting in the wings, eager to get involved in BCTF affairs andto fight for women’s rights, and it became more difficult to mobilize the rest as time wenton. It is also possiblethatsome members were frightened and eventurned offby the SWC’sincreasingly political approach. In addition, by this time some overt resistance to theinitiatives being presented by the SWC withinthe locals had appeared. That 18 locals choseto establish standing status of women committees despite the urgings of the federationleadership was one indication. Complaints periodically appeared in BCTF publicationsstating that what went on at AGM’s did not reflect the will ofthe locals. Ultimately it wasthe locals that had to negotiate bargaining clauses and implement the structural changesrecommended by the executive or the AGM. It was also the local membership thatdetermined whether or not the president ofthe executive would be male or female. A finalexplanation offered by the social movement literature is that the federation and thecommittee were unable to sustain the momentum for change because insufficient numberswithin the locals supported change.However, lack oflocal support is not the only possible explanationfor the relativelyfew gains achieved over the period. The outcome may have beenthe result ofthe diversionof attention to fighting wage controls, which were possibly ofmore concern to the generalmembership than were status of women issues.Another explanation might be that the external environment had become lesssupportive ofthe women’s movement, and that therefore supportwithinthe BCTF was alsoweaker. The women’smovementand the aimofrestructuring society may havebecome lessPeriod 2 99compellinginthe late 1970’s and early 1980’s as economicconditions worsened. One ofmyinformants believed that by then the tide had turned and “there was less desire to equalizeopportunities for everyone”. Instead the focus turned to “getting women into positions ofpower intheexisting hierarchies”, which was something to whichthe earlier SWC membershad beentotally opposed, and whichcontinues to be anunresolved issue for feminists in theBCTF. There is some support for her analysis in that the SWC developed a workshop onWomen In Leadership during this period. Also, her analysis could explain why outreachactivities fell offsomewhat during this period. However, future developments clarify whichof these explanations should be supported, so the theoretical model will now be examinedfor period three.Examination ofthe Status of Women Program, 1981-1988Discussion of the Theoretical Model:1. Environment:Over theperiodpressure was increasingly exerted by the BCTF onlocal associationsand school boards, to expand the scope of bargaining to include learning and workingconditions in additionto economic benefits. The 1981 AGM had approved a motionmakingthe acquisition of full bargaining rights a priority, and bargaining matters dominated theBCTF scene for much of the period. Efforts were made to persuade the government tochange the legislation regarding negotiationjurisdiction. These culminated in 1984 in thelaunching of a challenge against the School Act under the Charter of Rights, proclaimingthat one fundamental right was the right to collective bargaining.Period 3 100The membership was not 100% supportive ofthisbargainingthrust, particularlywithrespect to securing the right to strike. A letter appearing in the BCTF Newsletter chargedthat the motion passed authorizing the BCTF to seek the right to strike did not reflect thewill of the majority of BCTF members. A referendum held in February, 1982 confirmedthatthis was the case, when 58% ofthe voting membership voted “no” to gaining this right.They wanted binding arbitration to continue to be their contract dispute mechanism.On the economic front, matters continued to deteriorate throughout the period. InFebruary, 1982, the provincial government announced a public sector restraint scheme thatrestricted school board budgets and wage increases, resulting in teacher layoffs and anincrease in the pupil-teacher ratio. The BCTF undertook initiatives jointly with organizedlabour to fight the restraint program by lobbying the government, appealing to the publicand seeking to influence the upcoming provincial elections. Further school board fundingcutbacks materialized in September of that year followed by the introduction of a numberof government bills attacking the public sector.Teachers and other organized public sector groups responded through job action,whichescalated throughoutthe ensuing yearand resulted in athree day province-wide strikein October, 1983. It was “an exhausting and emotionally and psychologically bruisingcampaign for all members, particularly activists.” The strike created schisms between theBCTF and organized labour, and within the BCTF which at that time included schooladministrators as well as teachers.Through much of the period, school boards were announcing plans for teacherlayoffs, increased class sizes, andeliminationofprograms. According to an auditconductedPeriod 3 101by the BCTF executive, between 1981 and 1986 approximately 3200teachingjobs were lostand teachers’ real incomes fellby 10.5%. The executive committeereportto the 1987 AGMnoted that by 1987 B.C. had the largest class sizes and the lowest funding in Canada. TheBCTF committed itself to ousting the Social Credit government at the next election, butonce again was unsuccessful. The relatively unceasing government attacks on education,accompanied by the BCTF’s efforts to show the public the damage being done to studentsfinally made an impression on the public, and led to demands for higher educationfundingby the end of the period.The government attacks renewedthe BCTF’scommitmentto winning fullbargainingrights. This was finally achieved in 1987, but was accompanied by a number of otherundesirable changes. The Compensation StabilizationProgram was extended to July, 1988.A College of Teachers was established to govern certifications, discipline and professionaldevelopment. As ofJanuary, 1988 the administrators could no longer belong to the BCTF,resulting in a revenue loss to the BCTF of $120,000 per month. Compulsory membershipto the BCTFwas eliminated, whichnecessitated the launching ofacertificationdrive to signup members. It also raised the threat of a permanent membership loss should memberschoose not to sign up, or reduced bargaining effectiveness should they choose noncertification. According to documentary sources, the cost of the certification drive and ofthe efforts to fight the legislative change was over three million dollars.A more permanent result of the certification campaign was that the split that hadbeen brewing in Viewpoint for years finally coalesced over whether or not the BCTF’smembership should includebothcertified and non-certifiedlocals. Viewpoint’spositionwasPeriod 3 102that if locals chose not to sign up they should be excluded, and it wasable to muster upenough support to prevent the proposed constitutional amendmentfrom going through.Viewpoint’s popularity suffered because of its stance.The majority of the members hadbeen willing to have both groups under the BCTF umbrella, andthey felt that Viewpointshould have allowed the will of the majority to prevail.According to estimates provided by Viewpoint informants,approximately 15-20%of the incumbent members of Viewpoint were unable to supportthe position Viewpointadopted regarding non-certified locals. The disenchanted leaders leftViewpoint to form anew group called Teachers For A United Federation (TUF), a coalitionwith the moreconservative elements in the BCTF whichgained control ofthe BCTFexecutive at the 1988AGM. The newly-elected president was the same woman who hadbeen fielded as aViewpoint candidate in 1986 and her executive committee includedonly two Viewpointmembers. The new executive committed itself to eradicating thebudget deficit the BCTFhad run up over the past three to four years in its struggle with thegovernment, and todeveloping a leadership style more responsive to the will of the people. This signalledthestart of tough times for all BCTF programs and advisory committees, particularlythoseinvolved in social responsibility initiatives such as the SWP.2. Levels of Support For the SWP:Membership - Membership support for the SWP eroded somewhatafter the 1981 AGM atleast partly because of the number of members opposed to the SWC’s stance on abortion.The immediateresponse was described previously, butthe followingyear, a resolutioncameforward from one of the locals recommending that funding tothe SWP should bePeriod 3 103discontinued. That same year, and every year thereafter, resolutions came forward andletters were written to BCTF publications to get the abortion policies eliminated becausethey were outside the mandate ofthe BCTF. Objections were directed not only to the SWPbut also to the Program Against Racism, which was labelled “superfluous”. The move toreplace their local status of women committees with human rights committees continued,generally unsuccessfully. There were never more than 6 such committees established.The theme that the SWC was political and controlling was a recurring one over theperiod. Said one committee member, “We were accused of being a big red machine bysome people who didn’t like us”. One informantwho hadjoined the committee in the early1980’s stated that, “The perception of the committee being too powerful and political wasalways there”. Another recalled that in the early 1980’s. “There was certainly a perceptionthat the women were running things and they were very much too powerful and too muchon the left, and bringing forward their own issues at the expense of everyone else.” Oneinformant was more specific:They were a formidable group politically. The status ofwomennetworkhadbecomequite powerful and quite scary too. You never criticized it. I remember being toldas a new delegate to the AGM that ifthe contacts inthe networkdidn’tlike you, youwere dead. They could getpeople elected, and they could get them un-elected too.Despite the conflict that the committee’s “overly-political” approach seemed togenerate in certain areas, some of the attacks originated in a position held by some of themembers, that the BCTF had no business getting involved in social responsibility matterswhich were held to be irrelevant to education. Since every year such resolutions wereoverturned, presumablythis view was held by a minority ofthe membershipjfthe delegateswere representative, which as mentioned was a contentious point. But itis possible that overPeriod 3 104the period the SWP’s opponents grew for this reason and also because ofthe committee’sdecision to get involved in bargaining.It was reported to me that many of the people attracted to the SWP were left coldat the idea of involving themselves in collective bargaining. “The women were terrified ofdoing it, and didn’t accept that women’s issues were all bargaining issues.” The decisionwas controversial even within the committee:We spent a lot of time talking about pushing [the contacts] out to the bargainingtable, knowing how tough that would be, what a male model that was, how viciousthat was, knowing you had to be pretty tough, pretty strong to negotiate, and howwe could support and help them.The question of support was a touchy one, because with the limited time available to carryout its mandate, the time the committee would normally have devoted to development andsupport activities for women would be largely diverted to women involved in bargaining.There were other factors aligned against the committee’s decision to get involved inbargaining. Given that some of the members were displeased with political behaviour, theSWC‘s decision to get heavily involved in bargaining, a political activity, may have causedfurther displeasure. There was also resistance within the locals to being pressured to bringwomen’s issues to the bargaining table, and to having women on the bargaining team.Also, despite the leadership’s interest inhaving the committeerefocus onbargaininggains, the provincial Bargaining Committee, which in the early years included only onewoman, did notreally welcome the representatives fromthe SWPwhenthey beganto attendbargaining committee meetings in 1982. “When we first started going to the bargainingcommittee, it was so horrible, so male-dominated, and they really didn’t want us there.” Acommittee member recalled:Period 3 105The provincialbargaining committeeseemedverymucha domainofmalepowerandprivilege and old boys’ network, and hierarchical in nature, and not welcoming towomen. I remember [the then current SWC rep. to the bargaining committee]coming back from those meetings in tears because they were so hard, and we weretrying to fight for things like sexual harassment clauses and paid maternity leave,and oftenjusttrying to convince our own members that those things were importantwas quite a struggle. I became the rep after her and I remember going to thosemeetings and trying to get them to discuss women’s issues or think about them andhaving some of the bargaining committee members refuse to do the things Isuggested, so I felt on occasion there was some hostility there. It seemed thatwomen’s issues were always the firstto be discarded fromthe bargaining objectives.Despite the resistance, the committee members felt that getting a foothold inbargaining, which was a political decision making forum in their view, was necessary tobring about meaningful change for women. The committee prepared and distributed apackage about bargaining that was presented in workshop form at the 1982 summerbargaining conference. Contacts were subsequently urged to get involved inbargaining andto attend bargaining conferences and bargaining meetings in their locals. Recommendedcontract clauses on topics such as seniority, sexual harassment, leaves of absence formaternity, paternity, parenthood and adoption, and benefits for part-time teachers weredisseminated. Facilitators from across the province were trained to deliver bargainingworkshops. Eventually the committee’s efforts were rewarded, because resistance tonegotiating status ofwomenconcerns gradually fell, and women’s issues beganto betreatedmore seriously at the bargaining table. The 1982 AGM endorsed the SWC recommendationthat locals should negotiate sexual harassment protectionclauses. The 1987 AGM endorsedthe establishment ofaffirmativeactionprograms for students and staffin all school districts.But one resolution came forward maintaining that, just as women should have theright to information regarding birth control, so too should men. Another in 1987 thatPeriod 3 106committed the BCTF to rectifying the male/female imbalance on the administrative staffpassed by a margin of only 5 votes. Hence it is possible that the membership was wishfulofan approach more cognizant ofthe rights ofboth males females, and that the SWC’sfocus on gains for women only became less popular this period.The latter possibility was voiced by some informants. One suggested that while theSWC was influential among activists, “it still hadn’t reached out to the members.” Thisview was endorsed by one of the early committee members who had kept track of thecommittee’s progress over time. Her view was that the peak time for the committee “interms ofthe membership and the strength ofthe network was 1975-1980.”There is little doubt that the SWC‘5 close ties with Viewpoint which was becomingincreasingly unpopular throughout this period was one factor in the decreasing support forthe committee. While Viewpointhad gone public in 1977, BCTF publications indicated thatits goals and methods became the focus ofa lotofcriticismbeginning in 1981. The BCTF’sdecision to make full collective bargaining rights a priority was seen as a Viewpointdecision, because that was part of its platform. The decision did not sit well with someportion of the membership, and letters complaining about efforts to turn the BCTF into aunion poured in. The BCTF’s involvement in social responsibility areas, another point ofcontroversy, was also attributed to Viewpoint’s social change orientation. Furthermore, themembership did not approve of BCTF business being discussed and strategies developed,in a forum that did not represent the entire membership. This was clearly stated in letterspublished in the BCTF news publications.Period 3 107One letter written in 1982 accused Viewpoint ofbeing a “divisive force within theBCTF”, and thatjudgementwas reinforced later in the period when it held its stand againstan inclusive BCTF despite a majority favouring that option during the certification drive.Since the SWP was accused of being merely “a vehicle to get Viewpoint candidateselected”, according to informants, it is easy to see that the negative attitude within themembership to the politicizationofthe BCTF that was ledby Viewpoint, mighthave spilledover onto the SWC. The political means the SWC employed, utilizing its contact networkand its connections with Viewpoint to get its resolutions passed at the AGM’s, would havefuelled the anger directed at both Viewpoint and the SWP by the more conservativeelements ofthe BCTF. Finally, since Viewpoint split over the issue ofan inclusive BCTF,support for the SWP was fundamentally affected into the future.Leadership Support - For most of the period, the SWC and the executive committee wereessentially on the same wavelength. According to SWC informants: “We could dovetail ourefforts with what they were doing and still keep our feminist focus...”; “. . .We managed toconvince them forthe mostpartthatwhat we were doing was crucial to the federation.” Butrelations betweenthe executive committee and the SWC were often quite stormy during thisperiod. Said a then-current member ofthe executive committee, “The committee was quitewilling at times to take on the executive, not attack them, but criticize them, if it was indisagreement with it.” Another committee member mentioned that, “One of the strengthsof the committee up to the mid-1980’s was that the SWC was willing to take on theexecutive, was prepared to go to the membership if they felt the executive was doingsomething that was antithetical to the program.” Such tactics were undoubtedlyPeriod 3 108uncomfortable to the executive. “I can remember being angry with the SWC...”, said aformer member ofthe executive committee. However, it did not cause them to abandon theprogram’s objectives until the certification drive in 1987.At that time, as reported in letters from members and by informants, the pro-choiceissue became one that was going to prevent the sign-up of some locals, which was notconsidered to be in the BCTF‘s best interests. The threat had been apparent for severalyears, expressed in the BCTF Newsletter. One example was the following comment,published in December, 1985.The BCTF has gone outside itsjurisdiction as our union in speaking on behalfofitsmembers’ moral values on a highly controversial issue. The inclusion of [two pro-abortion] policies makes it very difficult for many teachers to continue the supportof the BCTF we are required to give as a condition of our employment. Makingpolicy on moral issues will alienate much of the BCTF membership...Another published in 1986 stated:I had always felt that compulsory membership was desirable and essential becausethe whole membership benefitted. But now that the executive takes it upon itself toadvocate the right ofchoice to kill another human being before birth, I feel that theteachers in favor oflife should not be forced to pay fees to bring this about. . .Pleaseleave life and death issues out of the BCTF. Then compulsory membership wouldbe fine with me.Althoughothercorrespondence indicatedthatanindependentpoiiconducted inB.C. in 1986had shown that 80% of the population supported the pro-choice position, the threat wastaken seriously. Former Viewpoint members on the executive tried to downplay their pastsupport for that issue, for the SWC, and for social issues in general to build the TeachersFor A United Federation (TUF) coalition that took over the executive in 1988.3. Structures:BCTF - A cross-committee task force on sexual harassment was formed during this periodPeriod 3 109which included representatives from the Teacher Personnel advisory committee, the SWP,and Childrens’ Rights. In order to support the achievement of full bargaining rights,representatives from a numberofcommittees including the SWC established a new regionalorganization to facilitate the coordination ofbargaining activities throughout the province.In March, 1982 the SWP was placed under the auspices of the Professional Developmentdivision, and given voting status on a new joint bargaining committee, which includedrepresentatives from Working and Learning Conditions, the Professional Developmentadvisory committee, and the Teacher Personnel advisory committee. Its job was to advisethe executive committee on bargaining priorities.During this period, the local presidents’ manuals were updated to include a sectionon status of women issues. Also, the BCTF encouraged networking with external groups,particularly those who could influencepublic attitudestoward education. Beginning in 1984,the BCTF president began to meetwith the SWC to suggesthow the SWPcould supportthefederation’s general thrust. Also, for the third time in the BCTF’s history, a woman waselected to the presidency in 1986. She remained in power until 1989.SWP - Smallbudgetcuts whichaffected the lengthofzone meetings and publicationbudgetswere experienced during the period, but in general the SWC‘S budget increased steadily.The status ofwomennewsletterwas transformed into a newjournal format, butfewer issueswere published toward the end of the period. During the period, the distribution of thejournal achieved a peak circulation of 1000 copies to women’s groups across the countryand the U.S., and even overseas. The number of zone meetings increased to two in eachzone in 1983, and the SWC started to supplement its othercommunicationswiththe contactsPeriod 3 110by starting to distribute a contact memo at regularintervals. Links with externalgroupswere also maintained.As reported in the SWC reports to theAGM, the focus ofthe programfor 1982/83onward was political action and skill buildingto support the BCTF’s fight againstgovernment cutbacks and their effecton women, and increased femaleinvolvement inbargaining. In support of the bargaining initiative,the SWC reorganized its zone structureand began sending two representatives to the BargainingCommittee, one with voting rightsand one as an observer, to develop negotiationskills. The co-chair responsibilities weredivided so that one co-chair could concentrate solelyon bargaining issues.Time pressure once again became an issue forthe committee during this period. Toameliorate it and to provide maximum service to themembers, a sub-committee structurewas introduced in 1982/83 to address the three focioftheprogram: bargaining, curriculum,and skill development. In future, part of each meetingwas devoted to sub-committeemeeting time. This structure was maintained throughoutthe period. Also in 1983, as partofa continuingeffort to maintainmorale and freeup timeforother activities, the committeedelegated all future workshop delivery to facilitators,rather than committee members. In1984 the committee devoted part of its efforts toarticulating the role of the SWC, thecontacts, the SWC chair, and the program coordinator,for inclusion in the contacts’procedure manual. For the first time, that year thecommittee presented no resolutions tothe AGM. Other structural changes did not emergeuntil July, 1988.4. SWC Activities and Characteristics:Informants and reports to the AGM indicatedthat the SWC developed a number ofPeriod 3 111new workshops early in the period, including time and stress management,females andmicrotechnology, surviving the cutbacks, and sexual harassment. Subsequently,workshopson thinking globally about women’s issues, financial planning for women,violence againstwomen, and women and the law were developed. A workshop todemystify collectivebargaining was also developed, along with an “Equality=Freedom”workshop and one onnon-sexist child-rearing practices.In addition, as previously described, a number of new initiativeswere undertakento support the bargaining thrust. These included sending SWPrepresentatives to thebargaining planning sessions, encouraging the contacts to attend zonebargaining meetingsand get involved in bargaining, having the SWC attend bargainingtraining sessions,arranging meetings with local associations to develop strategies fornegotiating status ofwomen issues, and seeking an increased incidence of females on localnegotiating teams.The latter culminated in the establishment in 1986 of a WomenIn Bargaining subcommittee, consisting oftwo members from the Bargaining Committee,and two from theSWC. Its aim was to increase female participation in all areas of bargaining.The contactswere also encouraged to get involvedwithworkshopdelivery andthecertificationdrive, andto chair local status of women committees.Liaison was maintained with the BCTF administrative staff, othercommittees andtask forces. Instead ofmeeting with school board representatives this periodto try to raiseconsciousness about status of women concerns and to eliminatesexist policies andprocedures, the committeebeganto lobby the governmentto establish a full-time committeeto deal with these issues. It also lobbied the governmentto try to get women’s studies ontoPeriod 3 112the curriculum as an elective. External links with organized labourand women’s groupswere maintained as well.The status ofwomenjournal was circulatedmore widelyduring the period. Betweenfour and six issues were published annually, and thecommittee held six meetings annually.Itpresented up to 98 workshops in 36 locals duringthe period, and increased zone meetingsfrom one to two per zone. The committee continued its attempt toraise awareness ofstatusofwomen issues inside the BCTF by arranging displays at AGM’sand BCTF conferences.Itmounted a display as well in the education faculty at UniversityofBritish Columbia. Theeffort to keep the contacts aware ofthe committee’s feministrootsand in touch with earlierSWP participants was also maintained as was theeffort to influence appointments to thecommittee:We always influenced the appointments. It was all carefullyplanned in a way...Weweren’t trying to be exclusive, but we were really clearabout the kinds of peoplewho should be onthe committee. . .Weencouraged all contactsto apply for vacancies[on the SWCJ. We encouraged particularly people who we thoughtwould be strongand effective spokespersons on that committee. We also lobbiedexecutive membersand told them who we wanted on the committee.The committee continued to seek political means to its ends duringthis period, asinformants’ comments have already established. The analysis (SeeTable 1.2) shows that theaverage proportion of political or educational strategies employedduring this periodincreased from 75% to 81%, with political tactics accountingfor 47% of the total,compared with 40% in the previous period. Twenty percent ofthe political tactics weredirected toward the executive committee and the RA,up from 17% in the previous period(See Table 1.1). The proportion of political and educational tacticsdirected externally fellto 14% from 16% (See Table 1.3), despite the executive committee’sencouragement ofPeriod 3 113networking to fight the government restraint program.An examinationoftheresolutions (See Table 2) shows thatthe numberofresolutionsproposed to the AGM increased to 16 from 13 the previous period.Of these, 14 (88%)sought to exert pressure, compared to 92% the previous period, but5/16 rather than 5/13directed that pressure to the BCTF, down from the previous period.All but one of theresolutions qualified as social change oriented and compared with theprevious period, ahigher proportion were oriented to extra-educational issues (7/16 vs. 4/13).To summarize the changes in SWC activities between the second and third period,the SWC concentrated its efforts on collective bargaining, strengthening its networkanddeveloping workshops. Itreduced its external focus, and tried to raise its profilewithin theBCTF. The committee’s feminist roots and its social change orientationbecame moreapparent during theperiod. The differencewas thatadditionalBCTF structures had emergedthroughwhich it partially funnelled its efforts, and its major focus over the periodreflectedBCTF priorities, which were in line with some of their own. Consequently, it waslessnecessary for the committee to pressure the executive this period.5. Potential For Gains:In this period, it is difficult to assess the variables in the model as positive ornegative. Many of the informants’ comments suggested that the SWP networkwas verystrong during this period, but that strength made the committee a threat in some quarters.Therefore it is difficult to equate strong support from contacts with strong membershipsupport overall, and in general it is difficult to assess membership support.Certainly someofthe members felt that the committee was pursuing goals not properly within the BCTF’sPeriod 3 114mandate. Inaddition, leadership support was uncertain, forsome ofthe federation’s leadersfelt that the SWC was no longer controllable, although they did not withdraw their supportuntil the end of the period.The changes in the BCTF’s structures which affected the SWC, in particular theestablishment of a bargaining committee with one spot reserved for the SWC, should havebeenhelpful ingetting status ofwomenissues onto thebargaining agenda, despite the initialresistance encountered. But the changes in the committee’s internal structures, such as thedecision to no longer have SWC members involved in workshop delivery may have cut offcommunicationbetween the SWC and the greater membership, hurting its abilityto addressmembership concerns not found within the contact network.The other change in the committee’s internal structure, the establishment of subcommittees to deal with different aspects ofthe committee’s concerns, would have had thepositive aspect that it allowed the committee to pursue gains on various fronts, but also thepotential negative aspect that inevitably one ofthose fronts would become more importantthan the others. The outcome would be the creation ofthe hierarchy that the SWC had triedto avoid from the beginning, which would also have impaired communication, destroyingthe internal harmony of the committee, and hurting the committee’s ability to utilize itslimited time as effectively as it otherwise could have. The SWC minutes did reveal that thecommittee’s internal process was frequently under discussion during this period, and thatthe committee employed conflict resolution exercises periodically.The decision to become wholeheartedly involved in the bargaining was a divisiveone, whichmightalso havebeendetrimentalto the SWC’s ability to secure gains during thisPeriod 3 115period. “It setup two classes withinthe committee- those who could bargainandthose whocould not.” While the committee continuedto do much of its work together,and everyonewas keptinformed ofeveryone else’s activities,“...therewas more ofanownershipofthosethings rather than the whole collective group owningit all.” Also, the bargaining initiativetook up so much time that despite the SWC’s attemptto continue to address curriculumissues and personal development initiatives,of necessity they became secondaryconcerns.“There was more to it than bargaining,but with the limited amount ofstrength that youhave, something has to go.” One structuralchange that might have alleviatedsome of theproblem during the period was anotherincrease in committee size, butperhaps because ofthe government restraint program it was never requested.The situation is unclear as well with regard to whetherthe SWC‘s activities wouldhave stimulated positive or negativeresults. Their political expertise cannotbe denied, butgiven the negative reaction out in the membershipto political actions and the apparentresistance to BCTF involvement in “non-educationalissues”, a greater focus oneducationmay have been less threatening. It is also likelythat during this period the committeemembers were fatigued, not only because gainsfor women might have been moredifficultto achieve than they wished, but also dueto the attacks on public education that wereongoing during this period. This was confirmed bya long-time committee member. “Youcan’t [give up] but you do give up. Youdo get tired of it. Battle fatigueaffected ouranalysis of whether we could be better.” Certainlythe committee was very activein thisperiod, but the membership’s attention mayhave been diverted to the attackon education.Period 3 116Also, the committee may not have been alert enoughto identify changing trends affectingit that should have redirected its efforts.Finally, the external environment was lesssupportive ofpotential gains this period.A major part of the BCTF’s attention was directedtoward survival during this time, andwomen’s issues mighthave been seen as low priority.In addition, the waning popularityofthe women’s movement might have detractedfrom the BCTF’s commitmentto fight forwomen’s rights, particularly in the isolated localswhere the contacts depended oncommunity support to legitimize their actions.In conclusion, it is difficultto assess how muchpotentialfor gainmighthave existedduring this period. Despite the noise made bythe SWP’s opponents, the BCTF’smembership and leadership in general seemedsupportive of the SWP, and saw socialandeducational issues as linked. Given the effort theSWC directed into bargaining andtheBCTF’s acknowledgement of the need to get morefemales involved, it may be anticipatedthat this would be the major area ofgains. On the downside, externalenvironmental factorsmitigated against excessively positive gains.Examination of the Gains Achieved Over The Period:The statistics indicate that substantial gains forwomen did materialize during thisperiod (See Table 3.1). In terms ofBCTF governance,for the first time a female majorityprevailed on the executive committee, andthe average proportion female on the executivecommittee went from 29% to 45%. The average proportionoffemalerepresentatives on theRA remained constant at approximately26%. The proportionoflocal associationpresidentsPeriod 3117who were female varied widely overthe period. It fell from30% to 16% after the1981AGM, rose to 27% by 1985, and endedthe period at 16%.The proportion of femalesonthe administrative staff increased to32% from 18% at the startof the period.The structural gains achieved overthe period were substantial(See Table 3.2).Thirteen policies and three procedureswere instituted. Fifteenof them qualified as socialchange oriented, and just under halfwere oriented to extra-educationalchange. Policieswere instituted acknowledging women’sright to choose and to haveaccess to birth controland other information relating to theirhealth and well-being. A numberof policies wereintroduced defining sexual harassmentand declaring women’s rightto protection from it,and condemning the manufacture, distribution,sale, and public displayof pornographicmaterial. Inaddition, policy encouragingtheparticipationoffemalestudents intechnologicalareas was also instituted. Policieschastisingthe governmentforits eliminationofsomepost-secondary education programs and supportingguaranteed annual incomes,universal socialprograms, and academic freedom wereintroduced, along with others demandingfunding ofwomen’s studies, Native Studiesand university transfer programs.In terms of procedures, the BCTF committeditself to the negotiationof sexualharassment protection clauses,to giving priority to the hiringof women until arepresentative balance of males andfemales existed on theadministrative staff, and tohaving affinnative action programs forstudents and staff established inthe locals.Bargaining gains during thisperiod were also significant (See Table3.3). The localassociations’ insistence on expanded scopeof bargaining resulted in a doublingof thenumber of contracts with extendedmaternity leave clauses to 43 outof 75 from 21 at thePeriod 3118start of the period. Supplementaryunemployment benefitsfor maternity wereachieved insix contracts. The number ofparenthoodleave clauses increasedfrom 6 to 23. The numberof paid paternity leaves increasedfrom 8 to 38. For thefirst time, contract languagepertaining to non-sexistenvironmentsand protectionfromsexual harassmentwasnegotiatedin 26 contracts. No discrimination clauseswere negotiated in 15contracts. The SWC wasjubilant about the bargainingprogress achieved.Itwas amazing to see the short timeit took to get sexual harassmentclauses into thecontracts. . .That moved prettyfast, so that was a really goodfeeling. The same wastrue about. . .maternity clauses.We made inroads quicklyon topping up thesupplementary unemploymentbenefitsplan for the two weekwaiting period beforebenefits began.But as mentioned earlier, itwas achieved atthe expense ofthe other facets ofthe program.Discussion:Outcomes for the period indicatethat the negative externalenviromnent did notprevent gains for women from occurring.This suggests that, in termsof the internalenvironment, there was substantialsupport forthe SWC’s bargainingpriorities inthe locals,and overall supportforthe othersocial change oriented initiativespursued by the SWC overthe period. The fact that manyofthe committee’s resolutionscould not be implementedbythe BCTF does not detract from their intent,although it somewhat reducestheir practicalvalue.Results also suggestthatthe mixofpoliticaland educationaltactics employed by thecommittee was acceptableto the bulk of membershipas well as the leadership.Thealignment of the SWC’s and theleadership’s goals of gettingmore women involvedinPeriod 3 119bargaining, and of negotiating clauseswith particular relevancefor women, and theleadership’s willingness to establish formalstructures to support thosegoals, was importantto the progress made at the bargainingtable regarding statusof women priorities. Thechanges made to some ofthe SWC’s internalarrangements, such as delegatingbargainingissues to one of the SWC’s co-chairs,and using sub-committees to developexpertise incertain areas, contributed to the achievementofthe gains. In retrospect,it appears that thecommittee made good decisions over thisperiod, that the variablesin the theoretical modelwere favourable for this period,and that the variableof importance was actually theleadership’s support of the SWC’sgoals.The picture painted above does howeverprovide some evidence thatthe committeewas becoming institutionalized.Institutionalization is defined inthe social movementliterature as: “aprocess wherebythechange-orientedgoals ofsocialmovementorganizationsare transformed into goals oriented tosocietal accommodation and theirmajor activitiesbecomeorganizationalmaintenance andtheprovisionofroutine services tomembers.” Someindicators ofinstitutionalizationwere thatthe committee beganto adoptBCTFpriorities andto direct its network to work to achieve them.This was the casewith the bargaininginitiatives, but also with thecertification drive and the battleagainst government cutbacks.At the same time, its external focus lessened.It also altered its zonal structureto coincidewith that of other divisionsto facilitate bargaining. The feministprocesses describedpreviously, such as the commitmentto consensual decision making andlack of hierarchy,slowly ebbed away as the SWC directedits attention away from personaldevelopment andsupport initiatives directed towardwomen, and allowed a bargaining/non-bargainingPeriod 3 120hierarchy to develop. Its sub-committee structure promotedthe development of specializedknowledge and skills which was antithetical to feministegalitarian principles.The committee also displayed a great deal ofconcernwithorganizational issues overthe period. It developed procedures to be followedin setting co-chairs’ terms of office,electing the bargaining committee representative, handlingfunding and other requests fromexternal groups, determining how zone activities wereto be monitored, and outlining howlocals should request workshops, as well as manyothers. It even made a decision on howmany breaks there should be at their meetings. Thedevelopment ofsuch routines is one ofthe characteristics of institutionalization. The committee musthave appeared to be well-established, because a suggestion was made that a men’scommittee should be set up underthe SWC to join the fight against sexism and sex-role stereotyping.One of the chief means by which institutionalization typicallyoccurs is throughcooptation of the social movement group by the authorities. Theexecutive committeedemonstrated clearly this period that it wanted thecommittee to share its priorities, and thecommittee duly madeupholding federationpriorities its majorpriority.Thepay-offwas thatthe BCTF then made it easier for the committee toachieve some of its objectives,committing itselfto hiring female administrative staff, to legitimatingnegotiationofcontractclauses affecting the status of women concerns, and to establishingstructures to facilitatethe process. It also willingly complied with the SWC’s requestfor increased budget toexpand distribution of the status of women journal in orderto strengthen the SWP’snetwork.Period 3 121There was muchevidence this period thatthe executivecommittee saw the SWC andthe SWP network as its tools. The most obvious of these was the president’s visits to thecommittee, commencing in 1984, to discuss how the SWC could support federationobjectives, and to present the executive committee’s position on various issues in order tofoster the committee’s acceptance of these positions. Other indicators were that it was theexecutive committee’s decisionthatthere should be status ofwomenrepresentatives onboththe sexual harassment and bargaining committees, that the SWP should be housed withinthe Professional Development division rather than the Learning and Working Conditionsdivisionwhichthe committee preferred. Itwas also the executive thatdecided that the SWCshould liaise with representatives from the professional development division because theydid training out in the locals, and would then be able to present status of women positionsat the same time. A more subtle indicator was that between 1986 and 1988, the executivecommittee authorized the redeployment of many status of women policy and procedurestatements to other sections of the Members’ Guide.However, there was also evidence that institutionalization was not complete at theend ofthe period. Forexample, althoughfewer ofthe resolutionsproposed demanded actionby the executive, there was no reduction in the SWC’s proclivity to use pressure tactics onthe executive and the RA duringthe period. In fact, informants reported that fireworks oftenerupted because the SWC would not relax a position it held that differed from theirs. Twoexamples that arose during the period pertained to child care and to replacing discreteprograms to deal with racism, sexism, and children’s rights with an umbrella socialresponsibility program.Period 3 122In addition, there was an increase rather than a decrease in the number of socialchange orientedresolutionsproposedduringtheperiod comparedwiththeprevious one. Thecommittee was still coming up with a healthy number of new initiatives, and continued tohonour its feministroots, althoughthe links withthe program’s founders hadgrownweaker.All this changed dramatically in the next period. How it happened will now be described.Examination ofthe Theoretical Model, 1988 - PresentDiscussion of the Theoretical Model:1.Environment:As a result oflegislationpassed by the Social Credit government in 1987, the BCTFentered the periodwith a fully certifiedmembership, fullbargaining rights, andthecertaintythat things were never going to be the same. Disenchanted locals could at any time chooseto leave the BCTF, and the BCTF would in future have to work with the College ofTeachers onmatters governing certification, discipline, and professional development. Dueto a substantial loss of membership fees from school principals and vice-principals, it wasalso facing a financial crunch. Consequently, a great deal of attention was directed thisperiod to organizational restructuring, and the executive committee started visiting locals tohear their concerns and encourage them to support BCTF priorities.Relations with government, which had improved temporarily when it hadimplementededucationalpolicyreformsapprovedbytheBCTF, deteriorated again. In 1991,a fightwas launched againstthe Social Credit governmentwho wanted to introduce a furtherround ofpublic sector wage controls. In the ensuing election the New Democrats, believedPeriod 4 123to be education-friendly, were elected. Funding levels were nevertheless maintained belowa level the BCTF deemed appropriate. The BCTF also had to offset the pressure to replacelocal bargaining with provincial bargaining for teachers that had been generated by theKorbin Commission.The BCTF’s influence with the locals waned over the period, and a major bone ofcontention was union dues. A question being repeatedly asked in the locals was what werethe locals getting for their fees. One of my informants told me,Now, since 1989, the local bargains for everything. Now...the people don’t give ashit what’s happening inthe BCTF. It is ofno concern to themexceptthatthey haveto pay too many dues...The classroom teacher’s only connection is with their local.They don’t know anything about the BCTF. It is increasingly insignificant to them.Inaddition, the membership’s willingness to support various BCTFpriorities waned, inpartbecause of the executive’s continued support of social responsibility issues many membersbelieved were outside the federation’s jurisdiction. A Task Force on Social Responsibilitywas established in 1990 to hear members’ concerns on this issue. Findings as reported inthe BCTF news publication were that “virtually all members supported some degree ofBCTF involvement in social responsibility areas” although there was disagreement on“which aspects ofparticular social programs should be supported”. Also, members wouldaccept BCTF decisions onthese matters “ifthose decisions are democratically made and if,as individual citizens, they are not forced to agree.”Nevertheless, an article in a 1992 edition ofthe BCTF news publication maintainedthat funding for the SWP as well as several other social responsibility programs should bechanged so that “the individuals who choose to support the program pay for them.” In thearticle, members were urged “to make it clear that we do not want the BCTF to take anyPeriod 4 124public positions on issues unless the issues relate directly to education.”Other objections raised over the period were that the BCTF was not doing enoughto protect teachers from “teacher bashing” in the media, and that the AGM needed to berestructured so that major federation decisions could be decided by a vote ofjjthemembers rather than by delegates who were not representative of the membership as awhole. The two-party system also came under fire in a 1993 article because candidates forelection did not identify their party affiliations, preventing inexperienced AGM delegatesfrom understanding the party platforms they endorsed when they cast their ballots.Informants reported that an additional bone of contention was that locals wanted to retaina higher proportion of their dues in order to undertake initiatives particularly relevant totheir own interests. Thus it appears that there was a great deal of restiveness within themembership in the latter part ofthe period.2. Level of Support For the SWP:Membership - As mentionedearlier, by the end ofperiod three the SWP was out offavourwith some portion of the membership partly as a result of its pro-choice stance and partlyout of a general disenchantment with Viewpoint which to some extent was seen as itssponsor. Along-timesupporter ofViewpointreported thatby Viewpoint’sowncalculations,at the time ofthe 1988 AGM it had the support ofonly one-third ofthe membership. Therehad also been an indication that the pursuit of gains for women had generated concerns insome quarters about whether this was fair to men, and several ofthe local status ofwomencommittees had been converted into human rights committees or were inactive. The antisocial responsibility feeling within the BCTF and in particular the two pro-choice policiesPeriod 4 125continued to generate anger, as recorded in the BCTF newsletter.Probably the most significantindicationthatthe SWC had lostmuch ofits followingwithinthe membership by the end ofthe third period was that the only group that protestedthe SWP program cuts introduced in 1988 were past and present members of the contactnetwork and the SWC. The women who had been involved in the committee in the earlyyears wereprominentduringthe fight. Theprotesters sent letters to the executivecommitteeand held meetings to discuss what could be done. They attended meetings of the RA until1992, to try to have the SWP’s budget and the full-time coordinator for the programrestored. Despite the RA’s unanimous affirmation of its commitment to the SWP at itsSeptember, 1988 meeting, the resolution introduced, “that the SWP budget be amended tothe level approved by the spring RA” was defeated by a vote of 308:190. The only budgetincreases thatwere forthcoming over theperiod were earmarked forbargaining training andfor contact training on topics approved by the executive. The coordinator position wasfurther cut later in the period, rather than restored to a full-time position.After the initial protesting, things quieted down. Once the journal was no longerbeing published, and once links with strong contacts had been broken, which also cut offlinks with the classroom teacher, the committee’s ability to stimulate membership supportfell. Even had the network existed, there is still the possibility that the membership wouldnot have supported the SWP. The membership’s silence when the program cuts wereoccurring points either to lack of information or lack of support, lending credence to thecharge made against the committee at the time that outside the network, there was littlemembership support for the program.Period 4 126However, there are indicators thatmembership support recovered during the period.While the pro-choice clauses continued to generate controversy, women’s right to choosewas upheld at the 1989 AGM by a vote of 371:258. The thirteen resolutions that wereforwarded to the AGM‘s over the period were either passed or referred back to committeesfor additional work. There was no acrimonious debate over any ofthem, and a delegate’scomment on the most controversial of them was merely why had the committee not donemore. One other indication of membership support was that workshop demand remainedhigh throughout the period, and between 60 and 91 workshops were delivered in up to 38locals each year over the period.My informants believe that support for the SWC increased during the period. Onestated:there are perhaps more people who would support the program who wouldn’thave before, because it’s not seen as too powerful. It’s not a threat any more. Whenit was controversial and abortioncameup almostevery year, itwas more difficult...Another informant expressed the view that the laid-back tactics presently employed by theSWC are appropriate fortoday and therefore enhance support forthe committee, for “...noteverybody responds to being lectured to, to being coerced by words.”Leadership - Overall, the executive committee’s support of the SWP fell over the period.Based on budget information supplied by the BCTF, the SWC’s budget was reduced by$5000 between 1987/88 and 1988/89 while budgets for the RA, the executive committee,the bargaining committee, and the Program Against Racism (PAR) were increased. Thelatter program’s budget was increased by $37,000 and the executive committee’s by$29,000. Between 1987/88 and 1992/93, the SWC’s budget increased $16,000, PAR’sPeriod 4 127increased $56,000, the executive committee’s increased $214,000, and the RA’s increased$64,000.In non-financial areas, at the 1991 AGM the executive committee introduced aresolution that was passed that revoked the pro-choice policy introduced by the SWC thatencouraged the CanadianTeachers’ Federationto have abortionremoved from the CriminalCode. Federal legislation to that end had been enacted earlier, but the SWC was notconsulted or informed. Former SWC members that I spoke to were uniformly upset aboutit, because they said they had fought hard for that policy, and there was no guarantee thatthe federal legislation would not be changed in the future.The revocationofthis policy withoutconsultationwas one indicationthat the SWC‘swishes were not a major concern to the new leadership. Others included the executive’sunwillingness to discuss the proposed changes to the SWP until after they had been passedand its continued refusal to make other than minor changes despite the efforts ofthe SWCand its supporters on the executive committee.One ofmy informants indicated that she had argued vehemently against the changesintroduced in 1988, which she was informed had been intended to “shore up shaky statusofwomenprograms in the locals.” She pointed out to the executive that rather than making“a top-down decision [to invite] local association presidents to status of women zonemeetings in order to improve local programs”, which the committee strongly opposed, themore appropriate course ofaction would have been “not to remove financial and structuralsupport. . . [but to] shore up areas requiring support. . . [and] to request input from theprovincial status of women committee.” Nevertheless, her arguments had no effect.Period 4 128Another informantwho had beenonthe executive committeewhentheprogram cutswere made assured me thatthe executive’s decisionto rationalize all the committees did notindicate the beliefthat the SWC or any other committee was unimportant. Itwas merely theexecutive’s viewthatthese committees couldand should operate differently inthe future andthat the changes were necessary in order to reach the classroom teachers and to bolstermembership support. While the executive was willing to support the SWC’s bargaininginitiative for this reason, it was unwilling to consider reinstating its budget, its full-timecoordinator, or its autonomy, despite repeated requests from the committee.The executive committee also demonstrated its determination to control the SWC‘sactions this period. Apart from insisting that the committee’s training objectives, goals andpriorities had to be approved, it also maintainedtightercontrol over resolutions to the AGMproposed over the period. In 1989, it forwarded none of the 7 resolutions proposed. In1991, of the six resolutions proposed by the SWC only two went forward. The followingyear, only three of the six resolutions proposed went forward. On one resolution dealingwith child care, the executive forwarded its own wording, not the wording recommendedby the SWC. It did the same thing with the SWP’s budget, rejecting the one proposed bythe committee for 1991/1992 and substituting its own.There is some indicationthatthe executive is somewhatdisappointedthatthe currentSWC has not displayed more focus and greater leadership with respect to status ofwomenissues.“What the executive was hoping they would do was to supply more materials thatcould be used by classroom teachers.” One TUF informant, upon being asked why thecommittee today does not seem to be as strong as it used to be, commented:Period 4 129There has been a change in the flavour of the SWC. But going to things likenumbers of meetings and so forth is going back to looking back at what hadtranspired before, rather than looking at what kinds of initiatives did they come upwith, what kind ofsuggestions and programs did they comeup with, whathave theybrought to the executive. Now maybe the committee hasn’t been effective in termsof leadership in respect to doing that. That could be a fair criticism.Another executive member said that what was wrong with the committee today was that itwas not making people “uncomfortable” any more.The informants I interviewed from the present committee indicated that they thinkcurrent support fromthe leadership is “pretty good”. “Ifthey haven’t always givenus moremoney, neither have they singled us out. . .they’ve always supported over-expending ourbudget forworkshops.” So there are some factors restraining the eliminationofthe programat the present time, the main one being thatthe executive believes the SWP is valuable. Butsupport from the leadership seems somewhat conditional on whether the committeecontinues to pursue initiatives that support BCTF priorities.In contrast, Viewpoint’s support for the provincial committeehas never been lower.Previously, Viewpoint always brought the SWP budget up for debate on the floor of theRA, and encouraged its members to apply to the SWC. Last year, for the first time, it didnot do so. “We gave up pushing actually, we just couldn’t continue, we weren’t gettinganywhere. . .there were so few people [on the committee] and they didn’thave the time.” Amore elaborate rationale was:[Viewpoint] decided they didn’thave confidence in the coordinator, the committee,and until that changed they were not going to make any further efforts. We lackedconfidence because they weren’tdealing withthe issues they should be dealing with,they weren’t showing up to fight for things they wanted, they weren’t participatingin the political process. They weren’t showing up at the executive committee to tellus how bad we were, they weren’t willing to fight for themselves, so we weren’twilling to fight for them.Period 4 130Since only twenty votes kept Viewpoint from controlling the executive at the 1993 AGM,Viewpoint’s feelings about the SWC could have important consequences in the future.3. Structures:BCTF - As a result of the loss of statutory membership, the unrest in the locals, and theinstability of the newly-formed TUF coalition, which one informant reported had littleholding it together except its opposition to Viewpoint, a proliferation of task forces and aLocal Presidents Advisory Committee came into existence during thisperiod. As mentionedpreviously, one of these was the Task Force on Social Responsibility. This reflected theexecutive’s concerns about membership support. The BC Newsmagazine became the onlyofficial publicationofthe BCTF and publicationbudgets in all other areas were eliminated.Over the period, the administrative structure ofthe BCTF was changed as well. Theincumbent executive director retired, to be replaced by the former president in 1989, andan assistant executive director position was created. The Bargaining Committee became theBargaining Advisory Committee and the number of members was reduced to 14 from 19,eliminating all but zonal representatives on the committee. An Expanded BargainingAdvisory Committee was created that met once or twice a year, which includedrepresentation from a number ofcommittees, including the SWC, to formulate strategy forbargaining and bargaining training, and training in contract administration.All BCTF committees were examined over the period to ensure they supported thefederation’s goals and to ensure consistency of operation in terms of meeting time. Termsof reference and appointmentprocedures were examined as well and changed as required.The rationale was:Period 4 131The organization was overdue for looking at itself and how it operated. It hadbecome quite complacent because of this statutory membership and the fact that itdidn’t need to be responsive. That complacency was beginning to hurt us in termsofmembership support, and we needed to shake ourselves outofthat. The legislativechange of 1987 was a wonderful opportunity to do that. . .and we also neededto showsome financial accountability.SWP - The structural changes invoked over the period resulted in fundamental changes tothe way the SWP was delivered. The staff coordinator’s position was cut to 85% in 1988with the other 15% allocated to the professional development division. Part of her jobbecame training the representatives within that division to take status ofwomen issues outto the locals when they did their training. The SWC attempted to point out the superiorityof the contacts’ over the professional development representatives’ ability to disseminatestatus ofwomeninformation with any degree ofconviction, stating, “They have neither thepersonal feminist commitment nor the expertise necessary to affect significant changes orto effectively raise awareness aboutthe equality offemale students or female teachers.” Buttheir objections were ignored.The committee’s terms ofreference were changed and the revised terms stressed theadvisory rather than the action-oriented responsibilities ofthe SWC (See Appendices B andC for both original and revised terms ofreference). The SWC had strong objections to therevised terms because they deleted the “specifics of our former terms of reference” andthere was no longer any mention of “curriculum development, awareness of sexdiscrimination, local program support, female participation in the federation and educationsystem, and equitable distribution of male/female teachers in education.”The executive overruled these objections, and insisted that in future the objectivesofthe contacts’ fall training conference and the pre-AGM contacts’ meeting, as well as thePeriod 4 132SWC‘s priorities and program objectives and itsactivities, would have to beapproved. Inaddition the number of committee meetings was reducedfrom six to three and conferencecalls were initiatedbetweenmeetings to deal withstatus ofwomen matters. The numberofzone meeting days was halved to two, the publicationof the status of womenjournal wassuspended, except for an annual International Women’sDay issue, and funds available fortraining workshop facilitators were reduced.The committee also lost its ability to influenceappointments to the coordinatorposition and to the committee. For the first time, appointeescame to the committee fromoutside the contact network. The executive rationalizedthis as part of its effort to increasethe representativeness ofthe membership, and flatlydenied thatit hadappointedpeople whowould be liabilities to the program.Nevertheless, there was a general belief amongmy Viewpoint informants that theappointments both to the committee and to thecoordinator’s position were made onapoliticalbasis. Anumber ofrepresentative commentswere: “Only those who wouldkowtowto the executive were appointed...”; “. . .They appointedpeople who weren’t necessarily thebest qualified and who the committee chairs hadn’t recommended,and in some casesappointed people who hadn’t served as local contacts whichwas completely unheard ofbefore.”Not only were they inexperienced, they were also politicallynaive, and unwillingtorock the boat. Representative comments on this issue included:“They were really not veryexperienced politically and many were new and didn’thave the history to know where wehad come from.”; “They weren’t people who wouldhave spoken out like we would have.”Period 4 133One of the newly-appointed coordinators confirmed that she had to contend with agreat deal of negative sentiment when she first joined the committee. She said, “ I wasviewed as somebody’s appointee and therefore I had to be the enemy and therefore I hadto be a traitor to feminism and a traitorto the movement in the federation, and I was treatedas such.” Nevertheless, when the announcement was made in 1991 that the coordinator’sposition was to be cut from 85% to 67%, she protested strongly to the executive: “I can’tsee how this can be other than disastrous for the SWP” which in her opinion was stillreeling from the earlier change. She maintained that under the current arrangement therewas already “a reduced level ofservice to contacts” and more workforcommitteemembers,particularly the co-chairs. She mentioned specifically that:maintenance tasks [had] taken precedence over the developmental, professionaloutreach of the program and inhibited the committee from giving advice to theexecutive committee that [was] based on a level of debate and considerationsatisfactory to the members.The change went through regardless.A positive structural change occurred in only one area. In 1987, the executivecommittee approved a recommendation made by the Women in Bargaining sub-committeeto reserve ten spots at the 1988 bargaining training for women interested in but not yetinvolved in bargaining. This initiative was a continuing one, and in 1990 and 1992 thenumber of women sent to this training increased to 30.4. SWC Activities and Characteristics:There has been a major change in how the committee conducts itself since thestructural changes were invoked, primarily interms of level ofactivity. Informantstold methatthe overall numberofinitiativesundertakenby the committeehas declined, initially duePeriod 4 134to the committee’s shock level, “...the core ofthe committee and the active contacts.. .weredumbstruck...”, and then inevitably because ofthe reduced number ofmeetings. Table 1.1confinns this, showing that in the fourth period, the number oftactics employed fell to 285from 439 in period three.There has been a change in the kind of initiatives undertaken as well: “Instead ofpushing at the limits and coming up with strong policies...they say, ‘Oh God, we have aconference to plan!“ The number ofnew initiatives undertaken by the committee has alsofallen dramatically. The three committee meetings are dominated by routine tasks.At least one of those meetings is devoted to planning the fall [contacts’] trainingconference. That might take up 1 1/2 days of a two-day meeting. . .Another meetingis devoted to coming up with recommendations for the AGM. Then there is a wholelot of responsive stuff, documents coming in about status of women that must beresponded to, or there will be some questions raised about some issue that he SWCdeals with, so there will be some key documents or key questions to respond to, orinitiatives to comment on. Usually, they have sub-committees looking at things likethejournal or the workshops, or something like that, so they try to have part of themeeting to work on sub-committee stuff.My informants agree that the current committee bears little resemblance to the oldcommittee. It is still seen as powerful, but as less focused, and while itcontinues to operate“primarily in the political realm”, the level ofpolitical expertise on the committee is quitelow. A TUF informant reported, “They’re definitely not as dynamic as they used to be, interms ofclear direction and how to get there, how to organize to get to a certain place.” Aformercommitteemembercommentedthatthey do notunderstand “howyou couldinfluenceothers, or network, or the key kinds of groups you’d have to have involved to get supportfor the things you wanted to support.”Period 4 135The committee no longer appears at meetings of the RA and the executive. Evenwhen the SWC’s budget is being presented, only the coordinator attends. It takes itsadvisory role quite seriously, whereas previously, “we’d always initiated projects anddetermined the specifics ofhow ourbudget would be spent, we had a lotmore leeway priorto the change.”Itdoes not bring forward controversial issues to the AGM. As one informantput it,“Everything that comes out of the SWP now is pablum. It’s already been approved beforeit even hits the floor.” It no longer has the energy or the will to pursue reinstatement ofthecoordinator’s position and it operates much more through existing BCTF structures toachieve its objectives.Apart from the changes in the way the SWC exercises power, it has also changedits networking focus. It no longer has time or the inclination to network with externalgroups or students, unless they are immediately relevant to an initiative being pursued. Iwas told this was because “we feel our money and our priorities should be directed atteachers.” Since the cutting of the journal, maintaining contact with the network and eventhe committee members has also become a problem. “It takes four calls to get them, thenyou get their machine.” “[Conference calls] are all right if there is only one item on theagenda, but not ifyou’re trying to do something significant.. .you don’t get any ofthe bodylanguage...”The contacts’ training reflects a less radical philosophy thanpreviously, and also therecognition that they are generally quite inexperienced. There is high turnover among thecontacts, and “they are all in different places” in terms of their understanding of BCTFPeriod 4 137So to summarize the changes in the kinds ofactivities the SWC engaged in over theperiod, the committee’s initiatives were less radical and less externally-oriented, and its newinitiatives were less numerous in period four compared with period three. Its use ofpolitical strategies continued, but less pressure was exerted, because the SWC increasinglyworked through legitimate BCTF structures and pursued initiatives supported by theexecutive committee that were directed toward pacifying the membership.Nevertheless, the committeedid continueto develop andupdate workshops thatweredelivered 60 to 91 times in up to 37 locals annually. It also proposed 13 resolutions to theAGM (See Table2), 10 ofwhichexerted somepressure ona group or individual, somewhatfewer than previous periods. In five ofthe cases (38%), the target ofthe pressure was theBCTF, an increase from 31 % in the previous period. While all of the resolutions wereoriented to social change, only 2/13 were oriented to social change outside education.5. Potential For Gains:Potential for gains of a circumscribed nature existed over the period because oncethe SWC adjusted to the new regime, it worked through BCTF structures to achieve goalsthat were aligned with those ofthe leadership and acceptable to the membership. This madethe loss ofthe network less ofa problem than it would have been ifmore radical goals hadbeenpursued. For example, the professional developmentrepresentatives were made awareofstatus ofwomenissues, and since their network extended into all the locals instead ofthemore limited number of locals accessed by the SWP, increased potential for raisingmembership support existed. The SWC retained a seat on the Expanded BargainingAdvisory Committee, and an additional number of women received bargaining trainingPeriod 4 138through the joint efforts of the SWC and the Bargaining Committee, which ensured thatwomen’s concerns would not be ignored at the bargaining table. In addition, the use of lessforceful tactics in combination with less radical goals lowered resistance in some locals tostatus of women issues over the period.The biggest problem over the period was an inability to foster strong local status ofwomen programs because of the dearth of training and support available to contacts fromthe SWC and the staff coordinator. Also, the potential to achieve social change orientedgoals was almost eliminated, unless they related to educational concerns. However, giventhe executive committee’s immediate fiscal concerns and the lack of support among themembership for social responsibility initiatives, these were not recognized as problems.Since executive priorities guided the SWC over the period and the executive had the willto enforce its priorities, gains in areas that did not meet with the executive’s approval wereunlikely to emerge this period. Actual gains achieved overtheperiodwill now be examined.Examination of Gains Achieved Over the Period:The statistics show that substantial gains for women did materialize during thisperiod (See Table 3.1). Interms ofBCTF governance, the proportion offemales onthe RAincreased from 30% in period three to 45%. The proportion oflocal association presidentswho were female increased from 16% at the end of the period to 43% currently. Theproportionoffemales onthe administrative staffis up to 49% currently compared with 32%at the end of the previous period. However, there was no recurrence of a female majorityon the executive committee over the period, and female representation on the executivePeriod 4 139committee stayed constant at 45% for most of the period.In terms of changes in policies and procedures beneficial to women achieved overthe period, some progress was made (See Table 3.2). Eight policies and three procedureswere implemented, all oriented to social change, but only 2/11 compared with 7/15 wereoriented to extra-educational social change. However, policies were drawnup to strengthenthe affirmativeactionpolicies already onthe books and to promote gender equity withinthegovernmentandpost-secondary institutions, inrecognitionthat attitudes and stereotypes hadto be changed to ensure equality betweenmales and females. Additional policies supportiveof teen-agers’ access to birth control in the schools and teen parents’ ability to completetheir schooling by providing appropriate programs and child-care facilities were approved,as werepolicies opposinghomophobia, and sexualharassmentofstudents. Onthedownside,through an executive committee motion, the policy endorsing the Canadian TeachersFederation to seek to have abortion removed from the Criminal Code, which had beenfought over since the 1981 AGM, was finally deleted from the Members’ Guide in 1991.In terms of resolutions, the BCTF committed itself to negotiating genderequity/affirmativeactionprograms for students and staff, opposingviolence againstwomen,and strengthening existingprocedures promotingnon-sexist environments and outlininghowincidents of sexual harassment were to be handled.Bargaining gains continued to materializethroughout the period (See Table 3.3). Bythe end of the period, the number of collective agreements with extended maternityprovisions had increased from 43 to 65. Supplementary unemployment insurance benefitplans to improve maternity benefits had been negotiated in an additional 54 collectivePeriod 4 140agreements, bringing the total to 60. Parenthood leave and sexual harassment or non-sexistenvironment clauses existed in virtually every collective agreement, where previously only23 and 26 such clauses had existed. Non-discrimination clauses also existed in virtually allcontracts, an increase from 15 previously.Overall, substantial improvementsfor womendid materializeduring the period. Theworkofthe SWC resulted inmodifiedpolicies and procedures in a limited numberofareas,which in some cases were achievedby influencingtheworkofother BCTF committees. Thecommittee’s inability to challenge the executive over the period, partly due to the loss ofa means to mobilize the membership to support actions against the executive, but also to adisinclinationto rockthe boat and insufficienttime to planstrategy, resulted inthe completerestriction of the SWC’s activities to those supporting BCTF goals. Consequently, theprimary areas of gain were in terms of female involvement in BCTF governance andcontract clauses.Discussion:The major change of note this period is that the SWC lost command of its agenda,and lost its missionary zeal as well, which was hardly surprising givenhow little autonomyit was permitted. What is significantfrom a social movement perspective is that conditionswere right at the end of period three for the authority to move against the challenginggroup. The executive committee wrought havoc on the SWC because it was not going in adirection the executive deemed would ensure its ability to retainpower. The SWC was toocontroversial, too divisive, and therefore too threatening to the fragile alliance that gave thePeriod 4 141Teachers For A United Federation control of the executive. The membership decision tooust Viewpoint from the leadership chair also gave the executive a mandate for change.In losing conunand of its agenda, the SWC also lost its independent base ofpower,which had arisen from the tight links the SWC had assiduously developed with grassrootsfeminists in many of the locals, and maintained through the journal and contacts’ memosand training. Inevitably, the committee was thenforced to rely onexisting BCTF structuresto achieve its objectives, and those structures were limited to those set up by the BCTF topromote general objectives, rather than those specific to the status of women. The futilityof fighting for things the BCTF did not want to give them became apparent as repeatedattempts to influence the executive committee’s decisions about program budgets, terms ofreference, SWP objectives and priorities, and the allocation of stafftime to the SWP wereignored.Since there was no indicationthat members were opposed to the executive’s agenda,the committee was unable to change the situation. TUF solidified its power base by gettingits supporters onto the SWC and into the coordinator position. This enabled the executiveto control the committeethroughcooptation. Eventuallythe transformationofthe committeefrom a social movement organization pursuing change oriented goals to a bureaucratizedcommittee pursuing the goals deemed appropriate by the governing body occurred. “Noneducational” goals were no longer on the agenda.There was no shortage of indicators of institutionalization during this period, manyofthempresent since the previous period. Ofparticular note were the executive’s increasedefforts to control the program through the approval of training objectives, goals, andPeriod 4 142priorities, its refusal to change its decisions despite vehement objections fromthe SWC andthe coordinators, its refusal to submit the SWC’s proposed budget, or to accept SWCgenerated wording over the wording it favoured on the child care resolution.The committee’s actions also bespoke institutionalization, with its major focus onroutine administrative tasks, its failure to generate many new initiatives, its failure to takeanything controversial to the AGM, its internalization ofthe executive’s edicts about whatissues could and could not be addressed, the lack of a radical feminist orientation, the caretaken not to offend the executive. A new indicator of institutionalization this period is thatthe SWC was given formal representation on a government advisory committee regardinggender equity. While sizeable gains were achieved, they were not radical gains. One oftheinformants who aspiredto transformational social change said she hadbeenheavily involvedin bargaining, but that the return was probably not worth the effort:You don’t just deal with your own women’s issues, but with a lot of other stuffthat’s not connected...that makes work lives a little easier for some women butdoesn’t alter in any iota the situation for the massive majority of women.Other indicators ofinstitutionalizationover the period were that bargaining gains continuedto materialize, as did increases in female participation in the governance of the BCTF,withoutmuch effort exerted by the committee. Inthe final section, the committee’s 20-yearhistory and its achievements will be reviewed and conclusions arising from it will bepresented.Period 4 143Summary and ConclusionsSummary:To determine what we learned about the theoreticalmodel from this case study, weneed to review the theoretical model in the contextofthe four periods and see to whatextent the model was upheld, what variables underwhat circumstances were particularlysignificant to committee power, and what accountedfor outcomes achieved.Periods one and two (1973 - 1981) were characterizedby high levels ofleadershipsupport and appropriate and effective committee effortdirected toward 1) increasing femaleparticipation in union governance and 2) inducingstructural changes intended to empowerwomen as a class. Other characteristics were increasinglevels of activist and membershipsupport for the committee, deteriorating relations withgovernment, and perceptions bycommittee members that the committee’s power was growing.Most of the committee’sefforts to exercise influence this period were directedat the leadership.At the end ofperiod two, the committee pulled offwhat it considereda major coupin successfully gettingpro-choice resolutions passed by activistsatthe 1981 conventionoverthe objections ofa minority. This supports the committee’sperceptionsthat it was powerfulat this time but perhaps as a result of leadership and activist ratherthan full membershipsupport.Since all the variables in the power model with theexception of the externalenvironment were increasingly positive during periodtwo, it is difficult to reach anyconclusions about which ones figured most prominentlyin committee power. However,since committeepower increased as conditions intheexternal environmentdeteriorated, thePeriod 4 144external environment appears oflittle significance to committee power, atleast when all theothervariables are positive. Also, since majorgains materialized in all areas butbargaining,committeepowerdoes appear to be associated withpositive outcomes inregard to increasedfemale participation in the union and securing structural changes that empower women.Inthe third period (1981 - 1988), the context changed. The committee’smajor focusthis period was supporting the leadership’s bargaining initiative rather than pursuingstructural changes advantageous to women. Disagreements over this focus and theintroductionofthe sub-committee structure whichcreated a hierarchy withinthe committeestrained internalcommitteerelations. Furthennore, membership supporthadbeennegativelyaffected by the abortion debate, and committee-sponsored resolutions this period retainedtheir social change orientation, which did little to winback this lost support. The result wasthat membership support slipped this period relative to the previous period.Leadership support however, remained high, and was reflected in increasinglyfavourable committee structures. It continued to be seemingly unaffected by the BCTF’sunsatisfactory relations with government this period. Activist support also remained highenough to allow the passage of many social change-oriented resolutions pertaining towomen’s issues, so outcomes achieved thisperiod supportedthe committee’sperceptionthatit was powerful. Further improvements in female participation in union governance and instructures supporting the committee’s goals materialized. These gains could be attributed tothe committee’s own efforts.The experiences of period three prior to the leadership change suggested thatleadership and activist support made membership support irrelevant to outcomes andPeriod 4 145committeepower. While the committeehad to compromise its goals to some extent inorderto retainleadership favour, results achieved suggestedthat the trade-offthe committeemadeyielded net positive benefits, supporting the notion that institutionalization can havebeneficial effects in terms of outcomes. So this period served to highlight the significanceto committeepower ofleadership support, the alignmentofleadership and committee goals,and committee goals, characteristics and effort, and downplayed the role played by themembership. However, events later in the period showed just how crucial membershipsupport could in fact be.Late inthe period, the membership expressed its disenchantment with the incumbentleadership’s social change agenda and its commitment to militant unionism by removing itfrom office. This greatly affected the context within which the committee functioned inperiod four (1988 to the present) for leadership goals came to be governed by themembership which was already out ofpatience with the committee.The facilitative structures that had existed prior to the leadership change and theleeway the committee had previously been given to pursue committee-defined goals wereeliminated. Leadership support became conditional on the committee’s pursuit ofinitiativesdirectly relevant to teachers. Also, the leadership’s willingness to be swayed by thecommittee disappeared. Committee operating funds and administrative support were cutback, and committee actions were severely constrained. The contact network was destroyedand the role of the contacts was taken over by the staff in the professional developmentdepartment. According to informants, member support recovered somewhat as thecommittee became less controversial and less exclusive. But committee cohesiveness,Period 4 146activity levels and apparent commitment to structural change fell as it became increasinglyinvolved inhandling administrative details. The committee is still seen as powerful, but lesspowerful than it was.Conclusions Regarding the Theoretical Model:A number of observations can be made about this case. Despite the committee’slimitedpower inperiodfour, substantial gains forwomenwere realized. This indicatestheremay be a lag effect that should be incorporated into the power model because committeeefforts this period cannot account for them. In addition or alternatively, it may be thatcommittee efforts are no longer relevant to outcomes once the leadership starts directingcommittee activities.There is substantiation for this possibility in that the sizeable increase in theproportionoffemale administrators overperiod four (see Table 3.1) arose from a leadershipdecision to make this a priority. Similarly, the sizeable increase in the proportion offemalelocal presidents (who are automatically local bargaining committee chairs) and thesubstantial improvements in contract clauses achieved in period four arose in part from theleadership’s decisionto make training available to women interested inbut not yet involvedinbargaining. While this was suggested by the committee, implementationwas at leadershiplevel, and it is reasonable to assume that had the leadership not supported this venture itwould not have materialized.It is significant that this was the first period where outcomes for women wereprimarily attributable to union structures rather than to committee efforts. It is notable asPeriod 4 147well that the structural changes introduced in period four were substantively different fromthose of previous periods in that only 18% of them, compared with 47% in the previousperiod (See Table 3.2), were oriented to extra-educational social change.The implications for the power model are that it is unwise for a committee to relyon leadership support for its strength, because ultimately the membership controls who sitsin the leadership chair. Also, although it did not become evident until the end of periodthree, much ofa committee’spower comes from facilitating structures which are largely anoutcome of leadership support. Leadership support in turn can be affected by theleadership’s sensitivity to perceived threats in the internal and external environment. Apotent threat is the membership’s ability to vote the leadership out of office.Ideological commitmentto structural change also appears to be a factor in leadershipsupport. The Viewpoint leadership was reported to have had thatcommitmentbutthe newlyinstalled leadership appears to have beendrivenby more practical considerations. Itneededto pacify the membership and strengthen the leadership’s control of the federation, socommittee goals were adjusted to reflect these concerns.Additional implications arise from this analysis. When a committee is weak,leadership goals will prevail because the only structures thatwillbe establishedwillbe thosethat support approved goals. If approved goals do not include those oriented to socialchange, such goals will only be achievable by a strong committee. By default, then, sucha committee would have to have the membership behind them.To summarize, this case provides evidence for the following tentative conclusions:1) The most important variable contributing to committee power is leadership supportPeriod 4 148which creates structures that help or hinderthe committee’s pursuit of its goals.2) Leadership support is affected by the alignmentofcommittee and leadership goals.3) Leadership goals are conditioned by perceptionsof threat in the environment,membership support for the committee, and ideologicalcommitment to socialchange.4) Membership support is affectedby the structures established to create linkagesbetween the membership and the committee,as well as by committee goals,actions,characteristics and power.5) Outcomes derive frommembershipand leadership support, andunionand committeestructures, as well as committee power.6) Committee power is not essential to the achievementofgains for women as long asunion structures exist that support achievinggains for women. However it doesappear to be essential for the achievement of goalsthat the leadership does notsupport.Hence there appears to be a need to correct theassumption impliedby the theoreticalmodel that all outcomes achieved for womenare linked to conmiittee power. Also, someof the variables should be accorded higher statusbecause they are more relevant tocommitteepower. These implications will berevisited once bothcases havebeenexamined.Other Conclusions:From a more general theoretical stance, thiscase supports the applicability ofboththe resource dependency and Foucauldian powermodels to social movement aswell asPeriod 4 149traditional organizations. In the latter case, the “spider web” ofpower relations existed inthe contacts network, and once the means ofmaintainingthe networkwere removed, a greatdeal ofpower was lost to the committee.In the former case, if it is true that structures determine outcomes in theinstitutionalizedphase ofa social movementorganization, then structures are amajor sourceof power. They do arise from a form of division of labour in that at different times,different union functions gain prominence in ensuring the union’s continued strength. Theprioritizing process allocates power. Therefore the ability to influence that process is asource of power. That is why the department that controls strategic uncertainties is thedepartment with power in a typical bureaucratic hierarchy. It can demonstrate why itsfunctions should be given high priority, thus influencing the process.In the BCTF committee’s case, in period three it could demonstrate that there wasdanger intampering withthe status ofwomenprogram because ofthe strength ofthe contactnetwork. Therefore it could influence the priority the executive gave to the program. Oncethe contacts were replaced by federation staff, the executive was able to lower the prioritygiven to the program. Changing the contact network eliminated the committee’s source ofpower, which arose from its ability to influence the executive’s priorities.If there is merit in the thinking outlined above, it represents an elaboration ofresource dependencytheory, and suggeststhatattentionshouldbepaidto whereFoucauldianpower originates. Ultimately, it may be traceable to its spider web structure, which wouldsuggest that while power resides in the web, it originates in the groups or individuals whoare able to influence where the nodes and inter-linkages between them are located.Period 4 150From a more practical stance, this case suggests the future ofthe BCTF’s committeeis in peril ifthe leadership’s attitude does not change. In creating a committee with such aheavy workload of routine tasks to accomplish, with so little time to meet, with so littlesupport from the coordinator or the BCTF, and so few successes that can be attributed toits own efforts, the executive has made it sufficiently unattractive that members are nolonger interested in serving on the committee. Without new blood, the provincial programwill die. Local programs that can survive without the support of the coordinator and thecommittee are likely to be those only in large locals with committed feminist members. Ifthe BCTF is sincerely interested in promoting the welfare of its membership, which at thispoint is 64% female, committee structures will have to be reexamined.151TABLE 1 ANALYSIS OF TACTICS1.1 Total Tactics Employed By PeriodPeriod 1 2 3 4# % % % # %Category*1 14 16 30 17 86 20 49 172 16 18 32 18 88 20 63 223 11 13 25 14 74 17 41 144 8 9 17 10 44 10 28 105 11 13 15 9 44 10 19 76 6 7 12 7 19 4 7 2Other 21 24 43 25 84 19 78 28TOTAL 87 100 174 100 439 100 285 100*Category 1: political pressure directed toward BCTF provincial authorities.2: educational tactics directed toward BCTF membership.3: political pressure directed toward non-provincial authorities in BCTF.4: educational tactics directed toward SWC allies only.5: political pressure directed outside the BCTF, i.e. to government.6: educational tactics directed externallyOther: consisted of all tactics not included in categories 1-6.1521.2 Total Political and Educational Tactics EmployedBy PeriodPeriod 1]2 3 4# % # % #% %Category*Political 36 41 70 40 204 47109 38Education 30 35 6135 151 34 98 35Other 21 24 43 25 8419 78 27TOTAL 87 100 174 100 439100 285 100*Category: Political tactics include categories1, 3, and 5 from Table 1.1.Educational tactics include categories 2, 4 and 6 fromTable 1.1.Note: Any discrepancies with Table 1.1 are attributableto rounding error.1.3 Total Externally- and Internally-Directed TacticsPeriod 1 23Category*% # % %%External 17 20 27 16 63 14 269Internal 49 56 104 60 29267 181 64Other 21 24 43 24 84 19 7827TOTAL 87 100 174 100 439 100 285100*Category: External consists of categories 5 and 6 fromTable 1.1.Internal consists of categories 1, 2, 3 and 4from Table 1.1.Note: Any discrepancies with Table 1.1 are attributable to roundingerror.153TABLE 2 ANALYSISOF RESOLUTIONSTO AGMPeriod1 23 4# Resolutions Proposed16 1316 13# Resolutions Passed16 1216 11# Resolutions Exerting15 1214 10Pressure# Pressuring BCTF9 55 5# Education Only15 99 11Resolutions# Oriented to Social Change13 1115 13# Oriented to Extra-1 47 2Educational SocialChangeTABLE3GAINSREALIZEDBYCATEGORYBYPERIOD3.1GovernanceImprovementsLPeriod1234StartAverageStartAverageStartAverageStartEndAverage%FonExec.92527293645454543%FonRA141825263027304537%FLocalPres.111917223020164333%FAdmin.1820191818243249413.2StructuralChangePeriod123j4#PoliciesInstituted1010138#ProceduresInstituted6233Total16121611#OrientedtoSocialChange13101511#OrientedtoChangeWithin12689Education#OrientedtoExtra-Educa-1472tionalChange3.3BargainingGainsPeriod[1234StartChangeStartChangeStart%ChangeStartEndChange#Ext.1141562122436522Maternity#Maternity00000666054SUB#Parenthood0333617237451#Sexual0000026267347Harassment#No0000015157459Discrim.#Paid0226830383270ParenthoodU’ U’156Chapter 5. Case Study ofthe B.C. Govermnent and Service Employees’ UnionIntroductionI commenced my study of the BCGEU’s women’s committee with some tentativeinsights based on my previous study and an expectation that my approach would be similarto thatused in examiningthe BCTF’s Status ofWomenCommittee. As before, I beganwitharchival research. This was eventually supplemented by interviews with male and femalestaff people, female activists who had either been on the provincial executive or involvedwiththe women’s committee, most ofthe chairs ofthe women’s committee, and the formergeneral secretary of the union. I never did interview the president of the BCGEU due toscheduling problems. Instead I spoke to the Secretary-Treasurer of the union, a long-timechairofthe women’scommittee and the BCGEU‘s liaisonwiththe nationaland internationallabour bodies’ women’s committees.I soon discovered that the plan of attack that had worked at the BCTF was notappropriate for the BCGEU. A majorproblem was that the women’s committee acted as anarm of the leadership and was primarily administrative rather than entrepreneurial andaction-oriented, and isolated fromthe membership. Itmade little effortuntil the mid-1980’sto influence leadership actions with respect to women’s issues or to stimulate support forthem within the union.Itwas clear fromdocumentary evidence and from discussions withmembers thatthewomen’s committee and all other leadership advisory committees worked collaborativelytowardleadership-defined goals. Forexample, educationlinkedto women’s issues was done157primarily through staffand was instigated by the women’s committee in collaboration withthe education committee. Bargaining for the public sector units, which this study isrestricted to, was the responsibility of the master bargaining team, which consistedexclusively of elected component chairs, table officers and staff. In general, women’scommitteemembers were notinvolvedinbargaining, althoughthey didoccasionally developbargaining resolutions. When the union was involved in political battles with thegovernment, which occurred through much of the 1980’s, all non-bargaining committeesbasically ceased to meet as attention was diverted to the then current crisis.Consequently, for much of the 1980’s the BCGEU’s women’s committee did notmeet. Attendants at committee meetings were predominantly female staff representatives.The women’s committee’s meeting minutes were not very descriptive, thus providing littleinformation about the committee’s strategies. Partitioning the 20-year history of thewomen’s committee on the basis of structural change was infeasible since these structureswere so slow to change.However, all the previously enumerated obstacles to utilizing the same analyticapproach to study the BCGEU as was used with the BCTF paled to insignificance when Inoted the surprise, confusion or concern generated by my inquiries into changes in thecommittee’s power over time that might be traceable to variables in the theoretical model.My informants were willing to say that potentially the committee was powerful because ofthe size of the female contingent within the union, and that it had recently become morepowerful, butthey essentially felt it was not very powerful atall, and never had been. Also,the majority seemed relatively accepting of this state of affairs, based on the BCGEU’s158overall record with respect to women’s issues, especially since the female-dominatedcomponents could organize at component level to seek gains for women and so were notcompelled to go through the women’s committee.As a result of this combination of factors, I broadened the research problem toencompass the efforts ofllfeminist activists within the union to achieve gains for womenrather than restricting inquiry to the women’s committee itself. I also introduced newmeasures to handle the interpretation problems in this study. In the next section, I willoutline my analytical structure.Analytical Framework Employed:Given the complexity of this study, I will begin with a general discussion of theBCGEU’s structures including the component structure, which centralized power in thehands of the president and his top advisors, and the role that devolved to activists andmembers as a result. The origins of these structures in the traditions of organized labourwill be elaborated. Next, the women’s committee’s structures will be shown to havereflected this tradition, and to have caused problems with committee effectiveness and forfemale activism in general.Female activism in the union from the time the women’s committee was firstestablished in 1975 will thenbe considered. Since this activism seems to have gone throughtwo major cycles, with a substantial increase in its level from about 1987 on, the periodsover which the theoretical model will be studied will be 1975-1987, and 1987 on. Gapsbetween potential for gains and gains achieved will be noted for both periods.159I will supply as muchobjective evidence in support ofmy claims as possible, but myprimary evidence will come from former and current activists. The latter were willing tobe interviewed only on the condition that their identities would be protected while theformer were willing to “tell it to me straight” because their disclosures could no longeraffect them. Unfortunately, since accounts often disagree even within these two categories,I will attempt to show the range and frequency of opinion encountered so that this studyreflects their reality rather than my own.Union StructuresGovernance Structures:The BCGEU membership in 1975 was distributed by occupation among 14components, 13 of which were in the public sector. The public service components were:corrections; hospital and allied services; marine services; retail stores and warehouse; socialand health; education and scientific; environment, resources and conservation; trades andcrafts; operational services; engineering, technical and inspectional; administrative support;and administrative, fiscal and regulatory services. Component size varied from 700 to 6600members.Each component was made up oflocals which were run by elected local executives.The chairs ofthe locals sat on the component executive and ran component business. Dueswere collected by headquarters and allocated to cover component operating costs, based oncomponent size. The components were responsible for negotiating component agreements,but components were also governed by the master agreement. Component chairs sat on the160master bargaining committee, on the provincial executive, on certain local committeesaccording to their bylaws, and on provincial executive committees as assigned by theunionpresident.In addition to component chairs, the provincial executive included the table officerswhich in 1975 consisted of a part-time president, two vice-presidents and a treasurer, aswell as five regional vice-presidents. Between biennial conventions, held in odd-numberedyears, the executive authority ofthe union resided in the provincial executive. All of thesewere elected positions, and at that time, only one of the table officers and one of theregional vice presidents were female.Administrative functions were the responsibility ofthe general secretary oftheunionwho was a full-time staff person. He reported to the provincial executive and sat on theprovincialexecutive withoutvoting status. The 26-member staffreported to him. The staff’sjob was to service the components, act as secretaries of provincial executive committees,support the elected officers on the provincial executive, and run the union’s internaldepartments. The general secretary and all but five of the staff in 1975 were male.The administrative set-up changed slightly in 1976, when the staff were organizedintothreedepartments: membership services, administrative services, andtechnicalservices.Each ofthese was overseen by an assistant general secretary. In 1979 the assistant generalsecretaries became directors, and the department names changed somewhat, but essentiallytheadministrative structure remainedunchangeduntil 1985 whena departmentoforganizingand planning was added to the previous three. This changed again in period two, when thefourdepartments were reorganized into three in 1989, reverted to two in 1991, contractand161resource services and organizationand field services, and expanded into three again in 1993when a special projects department was added.In 1983 the positionofgeneral secretary was eliminated, and for the firsttime therewas a full-time president who chaired the executive and administrative committees andreported to the provincial executive. The executive committee members were the tableofficers, and the administrative committee members the departmental directors. Regularlyscheduledjointmeetings ofthe executive and administrative committees were heldto ensurecoordinationoftheir actions. The entire provincial executive metapproximately 8 times peryear, and in between times, the executive committee ran the union. In 1985, one of thefour members of the executive committee was a woman, and two ofthe three members ofthe administrative committee were women.Centralization of Union Structures:As the previous section indicated, governance structures centralized a great deal ofpower in the general secretary’s hands prior to 1983 and in thepresident’s hands thereafter,since he was incharge ofexecutive and administrative functions. Apart from the president,the most powerful influencers over union operations were the departmental directors,because they along with the president were the only people in authority whose full-timeresponsibilities were to the union. In 1987, when the secretary-treasurer position wascreated, thatpositionalso became one ofgreat influence withintheunion. Inaddition, whilelong service was more the norm on the executive and administrative committees, turnoverwas frequentamong the componentchairs and regional vice presidents whichpromoted the162centralization of power within the union.This centralized control was well-documented in the union constitution and bylaws,and confirmed by informants. The president was empowered to appoint all committeemembers and interpret the constitution, which he did with input from top staff and tableofficers. He also chaired the various structural review committees established by successiveconventions in period two. Structures that reinforced centralized power were evident in allphases of union operations and at all levels of the union. For example, the componentexecutives could refuse to forward resolutions to convention that were approved by thelocals, and could amend them as well. The resolutions committee which collected theseresolutions and organized them for presentation to convention could similarly turn backresolutions approved by the components, as well as determine which ones got to the floor,in what form, and in what order. All resolutions not voted on at conventions were referredto the provincial executive for disposition after convention.The same sort of procedure was used to determine bargaining priorities. Localssubmitted proposals approved by their components to the collective bargaining departmentat headquarters, which organized and “packaged” them for presentation to the bargainingconferences. Occasionally local resolutions became part of a composite or a substituteproposal based on resolutions received from a number ofdifferent locals. Once consensuson bargaining priorities emerged from the conferences, the staff refined them, cost them,etc. prior to commencement of bargaining. The president controlled all staff.Negotiations too were centralized for the president was the chief negotiator of themaster agreement after 1983. The component chairs along with the assigned staffmade up163the master bargaining committee. The president as chair of the Collective AgreementReview Committee also approved all component agreements.Conversely, forces thatwould have decentralizedpowerwere strictly controlled. Forexample, it was alleged by several respondents that headquarters staff would be deployedto neutralize any threats to the president’spoweror to control activists who mightbe gettingout ofhand. “I do hear rumours about certain staffgetting assignedjust to get to one personor another. . .ifthere is a rumour that someone is going to run against the president, there’ssome pressure placed on the staff to settle that or dilute it, or whatever...”. The assertionwas made by several others that staff could have some impact on who got elected to thevice-president positions, and that the staffdefinitely played a major role in identifying andgrooming future activists. Since the staffreported to the general secretary or the president,they could be disciplined ifthey could not control the components they were assigned to ordid not display sufficient loyalty to the leadership. They could also be kept in line bysanctions that included “barrelling” which involved social ostracism for wrongdoing, andperks such as being delegated to various conventions, conferences, etc. or not, dependingon their demonstrated allegiance to the “team”.Other ploys were allegedly used to control existing and would-be activists. Theseincluded biased communications, leadership conferences used to alignthem withleadershippositions on issues, marginalization of positions when the incumbents were seen as threatsto the president, controlling committee appointments and assigned duties, and hiring ontostaff “loose cannons” who would otherwise have won component elections and wouldtherefore have ended up on the provincial executive. Finally, activists’ ability to move into164“cushy” union staffjobs, progress upward in the unionhierarchy, or to maintaina presenceonimportantprovincial executive committees, was governed by theirwillingness to be teamplayers.The rationale given for the highly centralized structures was that there was alwaysa concern within the BCGEU about the potential divisiveness that could occur within itsoccupationally differentiatedandgeographicallydispersedmembership. Unitywas importantforunionstrength indealing withtheprovincial government, so fragmentationwas abhorredby leadership and membership alike. Policies were put in place to control it, not the leastofwhich was an oath ofoffice that had to be takenby all elected representatives. That oathbound them to commit no actions that would adversely affect other members or the unionitself, and to uphold the principles and policies of the union at all times. An attempt wasmade at the 1979 convention to extend this pledge to the whole membership, but theresolution was voted down. However, at the previous convention a resolution was passedthat bound all BCGEU delegates to conventions ofother labour bodies to caucus solidarity.They were to “supportand maintainat all timesthe policies, practices oftheBCGEU and/orany other body to which we are affiliated.” Caucus decisions were binding, and caucusdiscipline was to be maintained on threat of disciplinary action. The president determinedwho represented the union at these conventions.Disciplinaryconsiderations aside, manyofmyrespondentsmentionedthatthe returnsto activism were great, particularly for those in low-paying, low-skilledjobs who otherwisereceived no recognition and few, if any, perks. One commented that “. . .there were hooksthat lured people. . .into the fold. . .Once you reach the point ofbeing an activist at a certain165level within an organization. . .you have a lot more power than you would have otherwisein your life and certainly in your workplace. As a union activist, people listen to you a lotmore than to a clerk-typist. So it feels pretty good.. .to have people actually listen to whatyou’re saying, particularly your employer...”Thus, the team-playing requirement did not seem of much concern to the activiststo whom I spoke. In fact, one of them emphatically stated that neither the oath nor caucussolidarity were a problem. Another mentioned that authorized interferences in “so-calledfree elections” was not that much of a concern either. “There was probably interference [inelections]. I was never involved in it myself from staff, but in that way it was controlledas best as possible. I didn’t feel totally at odds with it. I didn’t disagree with the kinds ofstands the union was taking”. So in general, none of my informants seemed particularlydistressed by the centralization ofpower withinthe union, and the general membership, byits silence, also facilitated the maintenance of strong centralized control.Finally, the one-component, one-vote rule on the provincial executive resulted ineach of the components acting as checks on the others, and prevented any one componentfrom having a dominant voice on the provincial executive. The commitment to act in thebest interests ofthe union at all times, under the Oath ofAllegiance, also warded offintercomponent power struggles. Hence there was no incentive for any component to try todominate the union agenda, which again facilitated centralized control ofthe union agenda.Furthermore, the provincial executive members were so over-extended in trying to handletheir component and provincial executive responsibilities in additionto their responsibilitiesto their homes and families that there was a great deal of incentive to follow the path of166least resistance, which was that set by the executive committee. This also contributed to thecentralization of power in the hands of the leadership. When the women’s committee wasestablished in 1975, its structures reflected the union’s commitment to centralized power.These will now be discussed.Women’s Committee Structures:When the women’s committee was established its self-defined mandate was “thedevelopment of leadership and awareness in our female members, the removal of theinequalities that exist within the BCGEU and the development of policy...” All femaleprovincial executive members, all female staff representatives, and one representative percomponent, at the component’s volition, were to sit on the committee. The costs associatedwith having provincial executive members attend the meetings were to be borne byheadquarters, while the components were to bear the costs of their own componentrepresentative’s attendance. The representatives were to report back to the componentexecutives after each meeting.The women’scommittee’sstructuresreflectedthecentralizedpowerstructureswithinthe union. The women’s committee was a policy recommending body that reported to theprovincial executive. The provincial executive could veto all committee recommendationsregarding changes to policy and administrative practises, any of its program activities, andany resolutions to be forwarded to conventions of the BCGEU or its affiliates. Allcommittee expenditures had to be authorized. Committee meetings were held at the call ofthe chair, who was appointed by the president. Until 1988 the chair was a female table167officer. One ofthe staffrepresentatives, the recording secretary, took minutes and kept thegeneral secretary of the union and the provincial executive informed about what went onat each meeting.The committee was expected to work through other provincial executive standingcommittees, such as the education and communications committees and the masterbargaining committee. Committee members were to act as liaisons with women’scommittees in other labour organizations, acting as delegates, guest speakers, workshopleaders, etc. at BCGEU conventions as well as those ofthe CanadianLabour Congress, theNational Union of Public and General Employees and the B.C. Federation of Labour.However, no provision was made for the committee to establish a presence provincially.Nor was there any attempt in period one to ensure component representatives’ attendanceat the women’s committee’s meetings.Over the years, these structures changed very little. Eventually thepresident insistedthateachcomponent name two possible representatives to the committee, one ofwhom wasthen appointed to the committee by the president, and headquarters shouldered the costs ofthe component representatives’ attendance at the meetings, but that did not happen untilperiod two. Female staffrepresentatives were forbiddento attend committeemeetings from1984-1989, with the exception of the recording secretary. A former table officer admittedthat the leadership came to realize it had been wrong, but the staff women were removedfrom the committee “because they’d just get together and rehash it, and there’d bedisagreements...” Furthermore, in 1985 itwas madeoptionalforfemaleprovincialexecutivemembers to attend women’s committee meetings.168In 1987, the women’s committee was allocated a budget to cover the costs of fourmeetings per year, the regional conferences, and commemorative ribbons for InternationalWomen’s Day. In 1991, one of the two vice-president positions was designated for awoman. In 1993, a number of structural changes were achieved, which will be discussedlater. But efforts to eliminate the process whereby the president appointed committeerepresentatives and the committee chair were unsuccessful.With this discussion of BCGEU structures serving as background, we turn now toan examination of feminist activism in the union for period one, and assess the women’scommittee’s power based on the theoretical model.Examination ofFeminist Activism, 1975-1987Discussion of the Theoretical Model for Period One:1. Environment:Following the passage of the Public Service Labour Relations Act by an NDPgovernment in the fall of 1973, the Public Service Commission was designated bargainingagent of the government. When the BCGEU demonstrated convincingly that it representedthe majority of government employees, it was designated their bargaining agent in March,1974. The BCGEU thenproceeded to negotiate its fistmaster agreement and 14 componentagreements, all ofwhich were ratified by April, 1975 and resulted in substantial gains forthe membership.One ofmy interviewees who had worked for the government since 1952 thought thefirstmaster agreementwas “fabulous”. Withcordialrelations existingbetweentheunionand168In 1987, the women’s committee was allocated a budget to cover the costs of fourmeetings per year, the regional conferences, and commemorative ribbons for InternationalWomen’s Day. In 1991, one of the two vice-president positions was designated for awoman. In 1993, a number of structural changes were achieved, which will be discussedlater. But efforts to eliminate the process whereby the president appointed committeerepresentatives and the committee chair were unsuccessful.With this discussion of BCGEU structures serving as background, we turn now toan examination of feminist activism in the union for period one, and assess the women’scommittee’s power based on the theoretical model.Examination of Feminist Activism, 1975-1987Discussion of the Theoretical Model for Period One:1. Environment:Following the passage of the Public Service Labour Relations Act by an NDPgovernment in the fall of 1973, the Public Service Commission was designated bargainingagent ofthe government. When the BCGEU demonstrated convincingly that it representedthe majority of government employees, it was designated their bargaining agent in March,1974. The BCGEU thenproceeded to negotiate its fistmaster agreement and 14 componentagreements, all of which were ratified by April, 1975 and resulted in substantial gains forthe membership.One ofmy interviewees who had worked for the government since 1952 thoughtthefirstmaster agreementwas “fabulous”. Withcordialrelations existingbetweentheunionandPeriod 1 169the government, and the membership and the union, the union’s attention turned to itsinternal affairs. The former general secretary reported that he looked around, noted that theBCGEU’s membership base was “a mixture ofblue and white collar, and roughly 50/50 interms ofmembershipdistribution”, anddecidedthat “leadership structures shouldbebroadlyreflective of that”, which at the time they were not.According to published statistics (McLean, 1979), in 1976, females made up 36%ofthe public service bargaining unit, but only 17% ofthe provincial executive was female.At the component level, including the private sector bargaining unit, 11.5% of electedofficers were female. At the local level, this percentage increased only to 21%. Additionalsources indicated that most ofthese women were recording secretaries. Only 21 of the 137local chairpersons were female. One of the table officers described how women’s issuesbecame part of the union’s main agenda: “... we had an informed understanding [ofwomen’s issues], and a pretty politically smart general secretary who looked at the figuresand said, ‘Hmmmm, over 50% ofthe members here are women, we’ve got to pay attentionto this stuff’, and who also wanted to see a union that was leading and was sociallyresponsible. . .and you couldn’t be socially responsible unless you dealt up front with theissues that women were facing”. So it was considered necessary, out of a mixture ofconcerns for public image, for proper member representation, and acting sociallyresponsible, that something be done for women.Asaconsequence, theBCGEU celebratedInternationalWomen’s Yearby sponsoringa province-wide women’s conference in conjunctionwith its regular biennial convention todiscuss two questions: 1) Was the BCGEU responding to the needs and bargaining goals ofPeriod 1 170its women members? 2) How could the union encourage women to play more active rolesin the union?The delegates to the women’s leadership conference consisted of52 female memberswho were either on their local or component executives, or were delegates to the 1975convention. The sole male in attendance was the then part-time president of the union,Norm Richards. The conference arranger was Nancy Hamilton, the union treasurer and theonly female table officer of the union. The conference was a great success in her mind,based on the number of women brave enough to come to the microphones and speak. “Ididn’t care what they said, I just wanted them to say it. They were hesitant...”A number of recommendations were made that addressed issues of concern towomen, including discriminatory government hiring and promotion policies, lack ofjobsharing opportunities, no paid leave for maternity, inadequate 24-hour child care facilities,no child care at union meetings, lack of knowledge about union structures, parliamentaryprocedure etc. that inhibited female participation at union meetings, and the dearth offemales on staff. The conference recommended “that the union establish women’scommittees throughthe provincial executive and area councils to study policies onwomen’sissues.” This was approved at the 1975 convention, where “[t]he tone of the conventionmade it clear that the feminist movement had established a beachhead in the B.C.Government Employees’ Union” (McLean, 1979, p.135). The women’s committee wasformally established in November, 1975.Two years later, a second women’s conference with 81 delegates was held to reviewthe policies adopted at the previous convention and address current concerns ofthe femalePeriod 1 171membership. The conference reaffirmed bargaining goals in the areas offamily leave, paidmaternity benefits, extended maternity benefits, and paternity leave.The keynote address at this conference, given by a female staff member on thewomen’s committee, proved quite informative about the atmosphere surrounding thewomen’s committee in its early years. There was a high level ofcontroversy over the needfor a women’s committee, even among the female membership, and having a women’scommittee was seen as “segregating ourselves off into a closed, exclusive circle.” Thespeaker’s response to this sentiment was emphatic.It’s true that there are two women on the executive. Two women out of hundredsof talented and contributing members. . .Women are full participants in thedecision making and executive function of the BCGEU. Legitimate women’sconcerns and issues are adequately served by the simple presence ofwomen onthe executive. . .Only concern converted to active policies has any effect on the day-to-day problems of working women...There is açifor a women’s committeebecause there are women’s needs.She added that many men had a problem understanding this, and that there was a tendency“for women’s concerns to be tacked on to a list of proposals [at the bargaining table], notincluded as essential points within the package.”While there seemed to be a feminist fervour behind her comments, the women’scommittee’s goals and the methods that were to be used to achieve them, were not radical.The desire for a permanent power position for the committee was never articulated, and infact the committee was not expected to be permanent. As part of the same address, thewoman opined that once “women were working effectively in all locals and half of theprovincial executive members were female” the committee could be disbanded.Period 1 172The committee wanted the concerns of women in the government service to benoticed, understood and corrected, and to increase female involvement in the union and thetrade union movement at all levels in order to acquire for women “the power to act, to beeffective, to get things done.” Another extract from the 1977 keynote address indicated thatthese goals were to be accomplished by establishing a “permanent, separate, feministfront within the BCGEU” but rather by operating through existing structures and utilizingthe BCGEU’s power and resources. The optimal role of the committee was seen “not. . .asa separate political lobby group within the union, but. . . [as] a vehicle to encourage the fullinvolvement of women within the structure.”The feeling was that acting as an independent policy-making body would be “verydestructive”, and acting in isolation of the union’s existing structures out of the question.“We would be both foolish and finally irresponsible to ignore or repudiate this availablesource ofpower.” The preferred strategy was to have women take their rightful place in theexisting power structure of the union.So despite the fact that less than 20% ofthe delegates at the 1975 convention werefemale, and despite the already documented low levels of female participation in uniongovernance at the start ofperiod one, environmental conditions were initially conducive tothe achievement of strong gains for women. However, this was short-lived. A federal antiinflation program was imposed in 1976 for three years, and the NDP government wasdefeated in 1975.The incoming Social Credit government took a tougher stance against the BCGEUwhich led to modest skirmishing through the latter 1970’s and stronger confrontationPeriod 1 173beginning in 1979. At issue were the definition ofessential services, pension indexing, thetwo-tierbargaining structure, and regulationofpublic sector wages. Inthe early 1980’s, theprovincialgovernmentcommitteditselfto downsizingthepublic sector, and in 1983, 10,000public sector employees were fired. The BCGEU then reorganized them as private sectorbargaining units, and directed much of its resources to fighting the government. One oftheexecutive committee officers reported:inthe 1980’s duringrestraint andrestructuring andprivatization, all oftheunion’sresources focused on fighting back. All of the committees were pretty muchsuspended at the decision of the provincial executive, we just had to dedicate thetotal resources ofthe union to the fightback. . .1 would say that the early 1980’s, foralmost all of the decade, we had a hard time.As a consequence, the officer continued, “We really didn’t do a lot of things on women’sissues because we were just fighting to survive, to continue to represent our members.”Hence, the early momentumenjoyed by the feministlobby slowed substantially overthe remainder of period one, although progress on women’s issues continued to be made.Gains achieved will be discussed in a later section. For now, we will continue to examinethe variables in the theoretical model by examining levels of leadership and membershipsupport.2. Levels of Support for the Women’s Committee:Leadership Support: As the foregoing sectionmade plain, the general secretary ofthe unionwas fully supportive ofwomen’s issues, and he made it abundantlyplainto themembership.In an article in The Provincial in January, 1975, he expressed his hope that InternationalWomen’s Year would lead to genuine advances toward equality for women in the BCGEU.He said in order for them to materialize there would have to be “changes in discriminatoryPeriod 1 174attitudes, heldby bothmenand women”, and he exhorted “youjokers inthebackrow, keepthose sexist wisecracks to yourself.” He continued, “If you have nothing constructive tooffer, listen awhile. You might learn something and help the BCGEU to become the unionthat it should be, a union offering equality to all of its members.” He also stated in hisinterview that “he spoke privately at interminable length, and publicly at some length, aboutthe fact that the union must give more recognition and credibility to clerical workers as thecore membership of the future. And sometimes articulating, sometimes expecting theaudience to figure out, thatthatmeant womenbecause 90% ofthat membership is female.”The leadership set up internal structures to promote the hiring of female staff, andbrought women along deliberately. Again, the fonner general secretary noted:we groomed them, we gave them mentors, we moved them ahead in thestructure. . .We solicited applications from people, female applications got morecarefully looked at than male applications, we made absolutely sure that weinterviewed some of these women so that we got some kinds of idea what sort ofpeople this produces. It meant that we made sure that when staff reps went to localmeetings they kept an eye out for female possibilities and they talked to them andgot to know them, and got a read on them, and then when the elections came theywent to those people and asked them if they’d like to run for office.However, the general secretary became the president of the National Union of ProvincialGovernmentEmployees (NUPGE) inDecember, 1980 whilecontinuing as general secretaryof the BCGEU. In 1983, he took a leave of absence from the BCGEU. The president thentook over the duties of general secretary. In 1985, when he retired, JoIm Shields becamepresident and he has held that position ever since. He too appeared to be fully supportiveof women’s issues, but this issue will be discussed more fully in a later section of thispaper.Several of the activists I spoke to questioned the leadership’s true commitment toPeriod 1 175women’s issues. One member of the women’s committee during period one said:The fact that the committee never had a budget is a very good indication to me thatthe senior leadership of the union didn’t have - well the kindest way of describingit is that they didn’t have a vision of that group doing anything in particular tochange the status of women, or the ability to formally participate in the union...The prevailing view however was that it was exceedingly difficultto draw the line between“talking the talk and walking the walk” as one of my informants put it. However, as amatter ofpracticality, the elected leadershipj2to be seen as supportive ofwomen’s issuesifthey wanted to be re-elected, particularly as womenbecamemore predominant withinthemembership. More ardent leadership supporters pointed to things like establishing thecommittee, sponsoring two leadership conferences, and negotiatingwomen’s issues as proofof leadership support. Also, the provincial executive was a major source of resolutions toconvention dealing with women’s issues, which suggests some degree of support.However, ifthe question was posed, “Was there any effort made to adapt a systemthat by its “male”, “adversarial” nature was uncomfortable for women, or to realisticallytake into account female activists’ domestic responsibilities”, the answer would have to beno. Again, this was well articulated by the former general secretary who stated:my view was that women had to be completely assimilated into the structures ofthe union. Andthey would make it theirunion, and in time would impact the systemitself. But you weren’t going to change the system, wave the magic wand and getthe ... system changed...Later he stated, “All I knew was that if our women were going to play a key role in theunion they had to come up through the normal channels.” He added:.we were real abusers ofpeople’s personal lives, but part of the demonstration ofyour loyalty was that you put your commitment to the cause ahead ofyour personallife. . .I’m just trying to think if there were any marriages that I know of thatsurvived. They don’t come to mind.Period 1 176The level ofsupport at other thanthe top leadership levels was evenless discernible.At the provincial executive level the general secretary noted that “in the 70’s and 80’s, tobe on the leadership teamyou did have to take an implicit, ifnotexplicit, loyalty oath”, andas the previous discussion of structures indicated, infractions were punished. Thus theleadership team would have to have supportedwomen’s issues, as that was theunion stance.But the same concern about appearance versus reality with respect to support at theprovincial executive level was expressed by the people I interviewed. Half of the peopleinterviewed who commented onthis issue felt the majority ofthe provincial executive weresupportive ofwomen’s issues, and by definitionofthe committee. Representative commentswere, “. . .we’ve come a long way, and we’ve had marvellous support from the majority ofthe men”. “The majority of [the provincial executive members] were very progressive,intelligent people”. “My recollection is that. . .certainly amongst the executive ofthe union,with maybe a couple of exceptions of people who were in totally male-occupiedcomponents, supportexisted”. Onepointed outthattheprovincial executive members reallyhad very little choice, “The provincial executive was behind the women’s committee. Theydidn’t dare not to be. Some didn’t like it, but if they wanted to stay on the provincialexecutive, they had to”.At the other extreme, a typical commentwas, “The committee was not very popularamong the male components. The male-dominated components - the trades, forestry,corrections - they had to pay to have a rep attend the women’s committee and that reallygot to them because it was a waste oftime, they didn’t believe in [women’s issues]. . . [onecomponent] tore a strip off [their rep]” when she reported back. They thought women’sPeriod 1 177issues were ‘stupid’, and sending a rep to the committee was ‘a waste of money’...”Another comment was that the chair ofthe committee needed to be powerful because, “youwould have to go to the provincial executive and explainwhatthe committee wanted. Well,you gotjumped on.. .everything you got you had to fight for.” The regional vice-presidentswere generally seen as non-supportive. The commentmade was, “when itcame to women’sissues, they just banded together as men andjust made it very difficult to get anything”.Conclusive evidence on this issue was also difficultto obtain from archival sources.There is evidence that many ofthe initiatives the women’s committee contemplated duringperiod one never materialized, althoughthe reasons involved inadequate allocations oftimeand money to the committee, and lack of meetings. However, these may not have beenattributable to lack of support, particularly since the environment confronting the union formuch of the period was hostile. The female staff who were the mainstay of the committeegiven that the components refused to send representatives, were particularly hard-pressedbecause oftheirregularduties, especiallyduringthe fight-backcampaignthroughthe 1980’sand while master agreement or component bargaining was in process.Efforts could have been made to alleviate these problems, for example if theprovincial executive had beenmore willing to grant committeemembers paid leave to workon committee business, to absorb the costs ofcomponent representation on the committee,and to launch local and regional women’s committees. Unwillingness to fund the few localand component women’s committees that were operating was also a problem. The dilemmafacing these committees was well-expressed by one woman who had chaired hercomponent’s women’s committee for a year. Explaining that it met only once, she said,Period 1 178“What canthey do? We met a couple oftimes thenwe asked ourselves what are we meetingfor? We have no budget, how are we actually going to do anything?”One ofthe rationalizations that my informants came up with to explainthis situationwas that by no means would the executive have been fully supportive of a grassrootsmobilization in the locals and components around women’s issues, but they would not haveopposed itoutright ifit did not cost them anything. Anotherdisagreed, stating, “I would saythe majority of [the provincial executive] are not the least bit interested in [having womengrassroots members organized and actively supporting issues ofimportance to women]”. Onthe contrary, “there’s an interest. . .in the status quo. . .I’m an elected component executiveofficial and I have some power and I like it that way so I’ll tell them what I thinkthey needto know”. In support of this position, another informant said that except for “a couple ofthem” empowering women sat low on their priority list. The situation appears not to haveimproved substantially over the period, for at the end of the first period, the committeeidentifiedinadequate levels ofconsciousness regarding women’s issues withintheprovincialexecutive as an obstacle to goal attainment.Membership Support - Ifthe component executives were representative of the groups thatelected them, it follows that member support for women’s issues, at least among the maledominated components, was lacking. Since at no time during period one were more thanone-third of the public service components female-dominated, there may have been asubstantial lackofmembership support forthe women’s committee and forwomen’s issues.Certainly this was the opinion ofthe majority ofmy informants. One reported, “. . .it seemssilly now but in those days you went through why are there no men on the women’sPeriod 1 179committee, why isn’t this a human rights committee..“Sexual harassment within themembership was reported to be pervasive. The comment made was, “Regarding themembers, all you had to do was attend one convention and try to wend your way across theroom, or the restaurant. Oh my God, the harassment! and the shenanigans!” Anotherinformant commented, “The women’s committee was always fighting the commongardenvariety prejudices of the average person against women’s issues”.One extremeexpressionofthatprejudiceequatedthe women’s committee’smemberswith “men-hating lesbians that were going to trash men”. With regard to this comment, myinformants did not recall how they had become aware of this label. One said she did notactually recall hearing this comment, but she was pretty suspicious when she was firstappointed to the committee. Pay equity was not on the bargaining table in period one, butas another indicationof lack of membership support, there was the sense that it would nothave been countenanced. “[The men] could not see their pay cheques diminishing in orderto help a woman’s pay cheque increase”.The situation was not that much more positive among the female membership, forsolidarity seemed to be lacking. A former chair of the female-dominated AdministrativeServices component reported that women in her component voted down a maternitysupplementary insurance benefitplan because “theyjust weren’t ready. You know, I didn’thave child care when I had my kids, why should you have it now?”A couple of informants attributed low levels of membership support to inadequateeducation by the union, others to the committee’s low profile. “There certainly was nogeneral awareness among the members that the women’s committee existed”, said one.Period 1 180Another said that once she leftthe committee, sheheard nothing aboutwomen’s committee-sponsored events other than the area conferences. Thus it seems that informants feltmembership support was generally quite low, but this could have been a reflection of themembership’s general apathy to union affairs.It is difficult to gain evidence from the archives about levels ofmembership supportin period one. Convention minutes indicate that prior to the 1989 convention, only 36resolutions dealing with women’s issues were put forward (See Table 4.1), 14 ofthem in1987, and 11 ofthose 14 were put forward by Administrative Services. Through the periodresolutions were introduced by five components in total. Component 6, the Social,Education and Health component, introduced four resolutions, while Component 12introduced twelve resolutions. The remainder were introduced by male-dominatedcomponents. The resolutions introduced pertained to the need for the union to help womenmove into non-traditional jobs, promoting the hiring of the disabled, and providing childcare at conventions and educational seminars, providing sexual harassment protection andimproving daycare for members.The feedbackfromthe earliest regional women’s conferences, whichbegan in 1976,confirmed that solidarity within the female membership regarding women’s issues waslacking. The women’s committee minutes noted that some of the older women at thoseconferences evinced small interest intalking about familyrights. Turnouts among the femalemembership forwomen’s committee-sponsoredevents seemed quite low. For example, areaconferences were cancelled in 1980 and 1981 forpoor attendance. A conference in Victoriain 1981 brought out only 35 members. The 1985 conference in the same area was attendedPeriod 1 181by 30 members. Yetthese turnouts were considered “excellent” despite the factthatthis wasone of the areas where an area women’s committee was set up in 1985, and a regionalcommittee had operated previously.Someofthecomponentsconsistently refusedto sendrepresentatives to the committeedespite the pressure brought to bear by the provincial executive. It was not until 1984 thatthe women’s committee’s minutes noted that all component representatives were inattendance. Also, the allegation that sexual harassment was a continuing problem atorganized labour-sponsored events including conventions of the BCGEU was supported inthe documentation, because in period two action was taken to contain it.The committee’s consciousness-raising and educational efforts did create somesupporters, and serving on the committee seemed to encourage future activism whichultimately created a pool ofsupporters, but the numbers were small. However, whetherdueto the influence of the external labour movement’s priorities which included advances forwomen, or because of genuine levels of support among the membership, over the firstperiod, of the 36 resolutions introduced at BCGEU conventions pertaining to women’sissues, only two were turned down (See Table 5). However 10 of them were referred toanother committee or to the provincial executive for further discussion.3. Structures:Since structures have already been discussed, in this section I will merely touch onthose directly linked to the power of the committee and the effectiveness of the femalelobby. The main indicators ofstructural deficiencies came from activists’ comments, whichidentifiedBCGEU structures as themajordeterrentto successful female lobbying ingeneral,Period 1 182and to the success ofthe women’s committee in particular. The major problem, the femaleactivists agreed, was that the time commitmentthe union demanded left little energy to dealwith domestic affairs, which made activism virtually impossible for married women withchildren, and for most other ordinary mortals. A childless woman said:At one point I was on something like 13 different committees. Those hours wouldbe put in on evenings and weekends, there were frequent times when I went two orthree weeks without a break. I didn’t have children, so it was a lot easier for me.Other informants stated: “I was very tired when I left [union activism]. It took me a goodyear and a half to get over being exhausted - I was burned out.”; “I was so wasted by thetime I got out of there that I couldn’t even face the place again.”; “I figured I was holdingdown four full-timejobs”.Union meetings were held after work or in the evenings, and union business,educational programs and conferences occurred in the evenings or on week-ends, often invenues where women felt uncomfortable. There was a sense that efforts to accommodatewomenvia daycare arrangements did notgo far enough, and no effort was made to integratefamilies into union activities. The essence ofthese activists’ comments was captured in thefollowing passage.My whole involvement with the union was pre-children. Up until I had my firstchild, I had been working 6 or 7 days a week and 12 or 14 hours a day, some days,and that was just part of the culture, the expectation, that’s what people did, bothstaff and elected people. Elected people would work at theirjobs all day and thenthey would be at the union in the evenings.This woman thought that providing daycare to attend week-end conventions was an emptygesture because, she said, “I’m not going to abandon my kid for a whole week-end. I’m aPeriod 1 183mother. Youjust can’t do it. And you don’t leave them every evening so you can go offtomeetings”.While this womanmaintained she always found theunion “a very warm, welcomingplace to be”, others felt the opposite. One woman who had coordinated a Women’s Centrefor 8 years said, “... for many women, belonging in an organization is a problem in thatit rarely happens that women really feel they belong because the systems and the structuresare not really friendly. They don’t feel as comfortable to us as they do perhaps for men.”She also felt public speaking was more of a problem for women particularly those in low-status positions, and prevented women from speaking out at conventions. “To tell a clerk-typist who has spent the greatestportion ofher life with little ifany power that the way forher to communicate withinher union is to stand up in front ofa microphone infront of500people is, at best, unrealistic”.A couple of activists indicated that women were not naturally inclined to workthrough structures and hierarchies. They tended to be more inclined to collaboration, “tosharing informationand putting certain things aside to get something done...” Nevertheless,to have credibility with the membership, male and female, it was incumbent upon femaleactivists to earn the respect of their fellow activists by being able “to give as good as theygot, hold their own” and to adapt to situations they were “absolutely terrified of” because“they had to learn how to handle them” in order to survive in an essentially adversarialsystem.Since an additional assignmentfor these female activists was sitting on the women’scommittee, the structural problems identified to this point affected how energetically thePeriod 1 184women’s committee pursued its objectives. Centralized structures were a problem for thecommittee in a number of areas. First, since the sole female table officer chaired thewomen’s committee for all of period one, and until 1984 the staff represented the bulk ofthecommitteemembers inattendance atmeetings, whentheunioncommandeeredtheirtimeto fight the government, the committee came to a standstill.Even when the committee was meeting, some of my informants felt that the tableofficer and the staff controlled the initiatives the women’s committee pursued. Speakingabout the chair and the staffperson assigned to the committee, one mentioned, “We didn’tmeet without one or both ofthem. They were a control, clearly..,it was fairly obvious thathere were certain things that just wouldn’t fly.,..with certain members of the provincialexecutive”. Consequently, because the provincial executive controlled thepurse-strings thecommittee was unable to do some of the things it wanted to do. The infrequency ofcommittee meetings, the spottiness ofcomponent attendance atthose meetings, the frequentturnover on the committee because appointments were only for a two-year period, and thefailure to initiate committee activity in the locals and regions in between meetings, wereadditionalstructuralproblems thatinterferedwithcommittee effectiveness inperiodone. Anexamination of the committee’s activity levels will reveal the impact of these structuraldeficiencies.4. Women’s Committee’s Activities and Characteristics:The firstmeeting ofthe women’s committeetookplace January 29, 1976, witheightmembers in attendance, three of them staff. While 9 of the 14 components had namedrepresentatives to the women’s committee, only fourwere inattendance atthe meeting. ThePeriod 1 185provincial executive at its January 29 meeting approved the following initiatives to bepursued by the committee: 1) research activities to support negotiations on women’s issues;2) developing education courses beneficial to women; and 3) providing resource people todiscuss women’s issues at local meetings. These kinds ofinitiatives were much in evidenceduring period one.The committeesoondeveloped a routine attheirmeetings which involved 1) keepingabreast of organized labour’s position on women’s issues by reporting on conferencesattended by committee members, 2) dealing with correspondence, 3) discussing issuespertaining to women that were raised in the components, 4) addressing issues referred tothe committee by the provincial executive and writing position papers on them, 5)developing resolutions for forwarding to their own conference or those of the CLC,NUPGE, or the BCFL, 6) preparing bargaining recommendations, 7) celebratingInternational Women’s Day, 8) honouring the historyofwomen’s involvementinthe labourmovement, 9) writing occasional articles to The Provincial or to Sisterhood, the BCFL’sregular publication.Much ofits time inthe earliest years were devoted to establishing a library ofaudiovisual resources dealing with women’s issues that could be shown in local meetings orelsewhere, and developing pamphlets for distribution to the membership on topics like“Women in the BCGEU”, “The BCGEU’s Women’s Committee”, or sexual harassment.Preparing women’s calendars and posters, or holding photo contests to celebrate women’shistory or to encourage women to go into non-traditional occupations were also popularactivities, as was producing buttons to remind women that “A woman’s place is in herPeriod 1 186union”. A major initiative undertaken by the committee was planning and facilitatingregional conferences to be held throughout the province. The conferences were intended toencourage women to get more informed about the union, develop public speaking skills,become more assertive, learn Robert’s Rules of Order, etc. to encourage them to becomemore actively involved in the BCGEU. Attempts to get local and regional women’scommittees established were ongoing.Political action was externally rather than internally directed. For example, in 1983the committee resolved to make contact with the Ministry of Labour’s women’s programsdepartment, and a letter writing campaign to persuade the federal government not to fundthe women’s group known as Realistic Equal and Active for Life (REAL) Women waslaunched in 1985. Committee meetings were irregular. They were suspended in 1982 for6 months due to pending strike action, and in 1983 the committee met only once. FromSeptember, 1985 to November, 1986 the committee did notmeet due to master bargaining.Then it met in November and in March, 1987, but not again until April, 1988. The topicof the last meeting held in period one involved the committee’s goals for 1987/88.The feministactivists I interviewed felt these initiatives were inadequate. One ofthemoreoutspokensaidthere were lots ofimportant issues the women’s committeeshould havebeen addressing, such as tackling the structural deficiencies already noted. An internaldocument identified establishing a grassroots presence for the women’s committee“essential” to carrying out its mandate. But, “rather than deal with important issues, thewomen’s committee did other things. . .notthat the things they were doing were wrong, butthat they really didn’t go far enough and they were sort of token”.Period 1 187By 1987, “there were a lot offeminists worried about the women’s committee” andabout the lack of progress made with respect to equalizing women’s participation in theunion. A number ofthem showed up at a women’s caucus atthe 1987 conventionto expresstheir concerns. This unleashed a series ofevents that will be discussed in a later section ofthis paper, that ultimately resulted in some structural reforms. But at this point, we will goon to a discussion of the potential for gains during period one.5. Potential For Gains During Period One:How the committee operated and what it did during period one can be summarizedas follows: 1) it focused primarily on educating female members to facilitate theirinvolvement in the union; 2) it met only when other union priorities were not takingprecedence; 3) it operated strictly through existing union structures rather than seeking toestablish its own power base; 4) it was chaired by a table officer who intentionally or notcontrolled committee proceedings; 5) it made no real attempt to combat the resistance towomen’s issues that it was aware existed even on the provincial executive.There was a lack of money to do many of the things the committee wanted to do.“Before 1987 wewere told repeatedly that. . .thewomen’s committeecouldn’thave any moremoney.” In some informants’ views, it was not dealing with the “important issues”. Thecommittee did not take a critical stance toward the union’s way of operating. “There wasoften an absence of any analysis that took the information, reflected on what the union did,and reflected on what the union could be, and then start to develop a vision of what thatwould be and how to get there...“ Anyone who attempted to criticize what was happeningmerely got into trouble for “shitting on the union”. In short, the committee’s activitiesPeriod 1 188would generally not have been predicted to enhance its ability to achieve gains for womenother than those mandated by the union leadership, which focused on bargaining gains.Nor were committee structures particularly conducive to committee effectiveness.Committeemembers hadno assignedresponsibilitiesotherthanattendingthemeetings. “Theextent of their duties was pretty much just to attend meetings. They weren’t expectedparticularly to get anything going in their components.” Appointment procedures andenforcement ofcomponent attendance were majorproblems that made it impossible for thecommittee to meet regularly, develop a sense ofbelonging to a group with a mission, andthereby develop some momentum. The heavy staffinfluencewithinthe committeeovermostof the first period probably reinforced the committee’s proclivity to trust in existing unionstructures and to not challenge the true level of support on the provincial executive. Thelack of a budget which the committee could expend as it deemed desirable increased thelevel of control the provincial executive exercised over the committee.The committee was also quite fragmented, without a uniform goal. “You couldn’teverjust walk into the women’s committee and say I think we should do this or this, andmy bargaining unit and my local thinks so too. . .You would have to have gone behind thescenes and lobbied key people on the committee long before that.” An additional problemwas that some of the committee members had little “gut level commitment to women’sissues”, and some “had no idea about what women’s issues were.” They were activists, notnecessarily feminist activists. “A lot of the women were there because they were activistsgenerally, not necessarily interested in women, not feminist. . .Many of them werelearning. . .To them often [women’s issues] were the periphery...”Period 1 189There were obvious problems associated with the need for provincial executiveapproval of all committee actions, but as with the BCTF‘s status of women committee inperiod four, it made few recommendations that were not virtually assured of beingsupported. The funding formula which made components bear the cost of sending theirrepresentatives to the committee and contributedto the low componentrepresentation onthecommittee, emphasized the factthat it was a provincial executive rather than a membershipcommittee, and possibly reduced levels of support for the committee.The degree of centralization characteristic of overall union structures ensured thatif the provincial executive wanted to constrain the committee’s effectiveness for fear ofupsetting the status quo, it could do so. Therefore levels of leadership and membershipsupport were very important, and leadership support might have been illusory. There weredefinitely problems with the level of membership support, but unfortunately, it is difficultto determine how big the problems were. Since membership apathy and a propensity tofollow the provincial executive’s dictates were prevalent, presumably deficits in leadershipsupport were more serious. However, giventhe hostile environmentthatfaced theunion formuch ofthe firstperiod, it is difficult to assert that women’s issues should have beengivena higher profile during the period.Under the circumstances, it is not surprising that my respondents foundmy inquiriesabout the committee’s power inane. A typical response was:I certainly didn’tnotice anybody taking tremendous note ofus. .there always seemedto be a wincing and a reluctance on the committee to offendthe men.. .there was theconcern that if the committee did too much and had too much of a profile that itwould make the men uncomfortable.They were unable to attribute any advances achieved for women to the committee itself.Period 1 190“Gains can only occur at the bargaining table” was one of the comments made. “I don’tknow that the committee itself has effected any structural change, or any real change innegotiationstrategies.” But the former general secretary ofthe union suggested that lookingfor power within the committee itself might be misleading.I wouldn’t have seen the world through committees myself. Did the women havepower in the union? The answer is yes. Were women’s issues front and centre onthe union’sbroader agenda? The answer is yes. Was I negotiating sexual harassmentclauses when I could have beennegotiating long-term disability clauses? The answeris yes...Power is not wielded through committee structures per se in the union.We will now examine actual gains achieved in period one.Actual Gains Achieved in Period One:In terms of statistics, at conventions occurring between 1975 and 1987 inclusive, atotal of 36 resolutions pertaining to issues of concern to the women’s committee wereintroduced, 24 of which were passed, two turned down, and 10 referred to variouscommittees (See Table 5). Nine of the referrals occurred in 1987, all to the provincialexecutive. But one substitute for 10 other resolutions concerned with structural reforms wasintroduced, which resulted in the establishment of the Structural Review Committee.The resolutions passed in period one that were geared to the women’s committee’sfirst objective, which was to secure structural changes that would promote female equalitywithin the union, ensured there would be no further references in the constitution andbylaws to “chairman” - the referral would be to “chairperson” instead. BCGEU policy wasamended to provide child care atunion conventions and education sessions. Discriminationin pension plans was to be addressed. Improved working conditions for auxiliary workers,Period 1 191protection from technological change, and additional government-funded daycare were tobe sought at the bargaining table, sexual harassment protection was to be negotiated,additional efforts were to be made to move females into non-traditionaljobs via educationalinitiatives and affirmative action programs, and to increase access tojobs for the disabled,and pay equity was to be investigated.Many of the 1987 resolutions geared to structural reform were referred to theprovincial executive and subsequently passed. Some ofthese were: 1) more comprehensivepostings ofBCGEU openings; 2) enactmentoflegislationto achievepay equity; 3) BCGEUendorsement of a pro-choice position on abortion; 4) the establishment of Women’sReproductive Health Clinics; and 5) stated opposition to federal funding of “anti-women,anti-feminist, and anti-union” women’s groups like Realistic, Equal and Active for Life(REAL) Women of Canada; and 6) sex education program in schools.While these were changes that were advantageous to women it should be noted thatonly one ofthem involved formal structural change in terms ofa constitutional amendment,and that was the 1977 resolution calling for the substitution of “chairperson” for allreferences to “chairman” in the constitution and bylaws. Many ofthe policies on the booksrequired the collaboration of the government or organized labour for implementation tooccur. The policies that the BCGEU could enact unilaterally, such as establishing aprovincial women’s committee, holding women’s conferences, publishing information ofconcern to women and paying child care costs, could not have been construed as threats tothe rest of the membership or to the union’s welfare.Period 1 192The secondcategory ofgainofconcernto womenwas level ofparticipationinuniongovernance (See Table 6.1). The average proportion offemales on staffwas 34% in periodone, and it ranged from 19% in 1975 to 38% in 1987. The average proportion of femalesontheprovincial executive was 17% inperiod one andthe range was from 9% to 26%. Theaverage proportion of female delegates at the convention prior to 1989 was 32%, and therange was from 18% to 41%. Finally, the female presence on the master bargainingcommittee increased fromtwo to three members. The average proportionoffemales onthemaster bargaining committee was 15% in period one (including the first master agreementin 1973) and the range was from 7% for the firstmaster agreement to 23% forthe sixth andseventh master agreements. In contrast, the proportion of the membership that was femaleincreased from 35% in 1975 to 52% in 1987.The thirdcategory ofgainofconcernto womenwas gains achievedatthe bargainingtable. Since only the master agreement is considered in this case study, changes in localagreements were not tracked. For purposes of this section, I limited my attention to themaster agreement, andconsidered 15 issues the women’scommitteewas fightingto achieve.These included: protection from sexual and other forms ofharassment, seniority protectionwhen leaves such as maternity leave were taken, availability ofleaves for special occasionsor forfamily illness, maternity orpaternity and adoption, level ofcompensationduring suchleaves and their length, protection fromjob loss due to technological change, existence ofemployee assistance programs, equal pay provisions, telephone allowances for employeeson travel status, employer-paid child care, employer-funded child care facilities, andprovisions for auxiliary workers.Period 1 193When this category of gain for women is considered, the results are positive. Thefirst collective agreement, which was negotiated before the women’s committee came intobeing, made provision for bereavement leave, paid 1/2 to 3-day leaves for marriage,funerals, domestic emergency and birth or adoption of a child, 6-month maternity leavewithout pay which could be extended 6 months for medical reasons, 6-month unpaidadoption leave, equal pay for workers doing substantially the samejob, regardless oftheirsex, establishment of a joint committee to investigate the establishment of child carefacilities and maintenance ofa senioritylist for auxiliary employees. The second agreement,effective in 1975, clarified the special leave provision, entitled employees to 2-day paidleaves to look after sick childrento a maximumof 10 days per year, improved and clarifiedseniority and loss ofseniority provisions forauxiliary workers. Thematernity provisionwasweakened however, for no longer was the employee guaranteed return to her originalposition or one ofequal rank and salary atthe end ofher maternity leave, and no longer didthe employer have to pay the employer’s share of medical, extended health, dental andgroup life insurance premiums while the employee was on such leave.The third agreement, effective 1977, added to the special leave provisions, restoredthe maternity benefits lost in 1975, entitled employees on travel status to claim for a 3-minute telephone call home for every three night away from home, and further clarifiedseniority provisions for auxiliary workers. The fourth agreement, effective 1979, madeprovision for retention of seniority for employees terminating service for no more than 6months to raise children, lifting of the 10 day maximum on use ofpaid leave to look aftersick children, and formation ofajoint committeeto explore establishing ajointalcohol andPeriod 1 194drug abuse program. Seniority provisions for auxiliary employees were extended to includeperiods during which workers compensation benefits were being collected.In the fifth agreement, effective 1982, a sexual harassment protection clause wasnegotiated which included actions to be taken when sexual harassment was alleged. Theprovisions regarding commencement ofmaternity leave were improved and ifan employeeprior to commencement of leave for maternity became eligible for short-term illness orinjury benefits, she could not be forced to start maternity leave. Also, her vacation creditswould continue to accrue. A guarantee of return to a former position or one of equal rankand pay was extended to employees taking 6-month adoption leave. A joint employeeassistance program was established, and an arrangement was made for a child care facilityto be established in Vancouver, which was duly opened in June, 1983.In the sixth agreement, effective 1984, there were no changes to the clauses beingexamined in this section. In the seventh, effective 1986, a technological change clause wasintroduced which called for 60-day notice and provided for ajoint committee to determineits impact. Training to work with the new technology was arranged and the agreementreached that displaced employees were to be absorbed somewhere within the ministry, oroffered severance pay or early retirement.Looking at these results incontrastto the resolutions broughtforwardto conventionsover the years, a slightly different picture emerges. Without detracting from the progressmade, it shouldbe notedthatresolutions pertaining to government-provided or governmentfunded daycare were initially brought forward in 1981, and then again in 1983, 1985, and1987. Similarly, pay equity issues were firstbroached as possible negotiationitems in 1981Period 1 195and again in 1983 and 1987 without much progress made. Proposals discouragingdiscriminatory hiring ofwomen and the disabled were initiated in 1981 and 1983. Pensionsthat discriminated against women were a source of concern in 1985 and 1987.Affirmative action in the union was recommended in 1987 and again in 1989,suggesting that discrimination against women was an internal problem as well. An internalunion document revealed that in the public sector as ofNovember, 1984 the average malesalary was $1837 monthly while the average monthly female salary was $1452. There weremore female than male auxiliary workers, and they too had a lower average wage than didthe male workers ($1066 versus $1220 respectively.) The male/female wage differentialexisted in each of the components, with males in Social, Education and Health Servicesearningthe most, and womenin Operational Services earningthe least ($2279 versus $905).The conclusion to be drawn from this is that bargaining gainsjj4materialize, buthow aggressively women’s issues were pursued is unclear, although several of myrespondents stated that women’s issues were the first issues off the table. Also unclear isthe level of government resistance to the negotiation of women’s issues. It is true thatBCGEU had to strike to achieve settlements in 1982, 1983, and 1986, but it is safe toassume that women’s issues were not the major items in dispute.In retrospect, significant bargaining gains for women were achieved in period one,despite the tough opposition from the government throughout the 1980’s. The gains didreflect the bargaining goals of the women’s committee, but it is difficult to say that thesegains were a direct result of the women’s committee’s efforts due to the centralized waybargaining was handled at the BCGEU. It seems more accurate to say that the bargainingPeriod 1 196gains reflected the union’s priorities and the government’s resistance to negotiating gainsfor women. There was also some improvement in union structures affecting the femalemembership and in the level of female involvement in union governance. Presumably thiswas at least in part attributable to committee efforts.Discussion:The comment referred to earlier, that “power is not wielded through committeestructures per se in the union”, pointed out the folly of concentrating on the women’scommittee in trying to ascertainunder what conditions feministactivists could achieve gainsfor women in the BCGEU. The committee’s activities were not so important because ofwhat they did but rather because so much ofwhat had to be done was leftup to others whomay have been much less committed to women’s issues than were at least some of themembers of the women’s committee. The committee nevertheless demonstrated its faiththroughout period one that success would eventually be achieved.This faith seems to have been somewhat unfounded. The advances made at thebargaining table cannot be overlooked, but improvements in female participation in uniongovernance were modest, and at the end of period one, despite the fact that females werea majority in the union, they held one-quarter of the table officer and provincial executivepositions, and the same proportion of the master bargaining committee positions. Nor is iteasy to overlook the fact that the majorstructural changes achieved were in terms ofpolicyrather thanconstitutionalchange. This was the case eventhoughthere was discussionwithinthe committee ofthe need for constitutionalchanges to deal with problems arising from thePeriod 1 197centralized structures such as the difficulties of reconciling activist and domesticresponsibilities, and the urgent need to reach out to the grassroots. Recalling from theliterature that fear, duty to the leadership, loyalty, habit, propaganda, and cooptation mustall be overcome before oppositional activity can even be contemplated (Weinstein, 1979),it was clear that the women’s committee members were not yet at this point.Nevertheless it was predictable that rhetoric might outweigh performance as far asovercoming women’s inequality in the union was concerned. Given the disjuncture in theexternalenvironmentbetweenprogressive interests wantingtopromotefemale advancementand conservative interests wanting to maintain the status quo, which would have beenreflected inside the union, the forces for change were not particularly strong. Since theBCGEU was a large union with a diverse membership inclined toward fragmentation, thestage was set for a situation where public relations considerations necessitated establishinga women’s committee, but pragmatics dictated that it could not be allowed to be overlysuccessful because that would upset the male membership.Thus the committee was duly established, but there may still have been only aminimal commitment to increasing women’s equality in the union. Leadership andmembership support for the committee’s performance of anything other than routine,administrative activities may have been quite low and may therefore have been subtlydiscouraged by the leadership. This would explain: 1) why the primary gains in period onewere achieved inbargaining, whichwas considered a routineunionfunction, 2) why internalstaffing did not better reflect the make-up ofthe membership, 3) why the type of structuralreforms the women’s committee deemed necessary, although fairly obvious, were notPeriod 1 198articulated until late in the period, and 4) why the structural deficiencies that impededfemale participation in union affairs were not rectified.It is debatable whether the union was unaware of the problem structures posed forfemale union activism, since there was an articulated rationale provided for them by theformer general secretary of the union. The rationale was based on the membership’sscepticism about giving women “the ultimate authority over their livelihoods,” and its lackofconvictionregarding women’s ability to “face all the relatively tough decisions whenyouget to the pointofdetermining whether or not [to] strike”. Similarly, there must have beensome level ofawareness that requiring womento place their union responsibilities ahead oftheir domestic responsibilities was unrealistic for many women and that the union was notvery supportive of aspiring or existing female activists.One respondent reported:WhenI used to go to union meetings, the men always felt they couldn’tget anythingdone ifthere were too many women [at the meetings] because women wouldn’t goon strike, they wouldn’t attend meetings.Another said:I used to sit inmeetings where smart cracks and cheap shots were made, particularlyby men, that the women who miss meeting after meeting are really not toocommitted to the union. Excuse me, they have three children at home, and oftenhusbands are involved in the union too.So it seems that a deep-seated suspicion of women’s ability to make positivecontributions to the union were pervasive, which perhaps led some of the male leaders toprivately discount both the desirability of increasing female involvement in the union andfemales’ potential contributionto the governance oftheunion, and the workofthe women’scommittee. The need for political correctness ensured this was not voiced publicly, but toPeriod 1 199the extent this attitude existed, it provided justification for maintaining existing structureson the grounds ofunion survival. Therefore, it is hardly surprising that female involvementin the union in the mid-70’s to mid-80’s was quite low, despite the union’s apparentcommitment to women’s issues and to women’s advancement in the union.Feminist activists did continue to recommend union policy changes, and in 1987,more policy recommendations came forward than at any previous convention. They werenotthatshocking, forone related to membershipeducationaboutthe impactoftechnologicalchange, another to considering establishment ofan additional union-run child care facility,and one referred to a new distribution system for the ribbons distributed each year forInternational Women’s Day. However, two referred to changing how wage levels shouldbe determined for workers seconded temporarily to area offices, or booked offto canvas,train, etc. for the union, and a third to practising positive affirmative action in the union.Nevertheless, when itbecame apparent in 1987 that any ofthe recommendationsthatcould result in structural reforms were going to be delegated to a structural reviewcommittee chaired by the president, where initially only two of the seven members werewomen, the feminist activists became convinced that they must take matters into their ownhands. The mobilizationofthe Administrative Services component was a majorfactorintherise ofmilitancy because it was the largest component in the BCGEU, with a membershipin 1987 thatwas 83% female, most ofwhom were inlow-paid, low-status clerical positions.Feminist activism in period two will now be examined.Period 2 200Examination of Feminist Activism After 1987The Rise of Militancy in Component 12:Component 12, the Administrative Services component, currently has in excess of13000 members, 85% ofwhom are female, withthe majority employed in low-paid clericalpositions. It characterizes itself as “a bunch of people who have suffered for quite a longtime with low pay and no respect...”, although major advances have beenmade toward payequity in recent years. In the mid-1980’s when the militancy started to percolate, thecomponent executive decided to overthrow its “good girl” image, develop a componentidentity, and acquire somepower. The executive members decided “they were going to takethe power, they were not going to wait for someone to give it to them.” They wanted therest of the membership to realize that their component “had the bulk of the members andpaid the bulk ofthe dues, even though they made relatively low wages”, and that their lowwages contributed to their inability to participate equally in the union.We were going to be brats if that’s what it took to get ourselves on the map.Because we knew after all these years ofsitting back and being the good childrenwejust weren’t getting anywhere as far as getting our component some sort ofpriority. . .we brought in the bulk of the money and we got the least amount ofreturn. . .we wanted some power.Specifically, they wanted structural reforms that would empower women.The 1987 convention authorized the establishment of a structural review committeeto collect recommendations on enhancing membership involvement and servicing.Component 12 locals made a number of submissions. These included recommendations forchanges to the women’s committee’s structures as well as recommendations more specificto its own interests. The latter included representation by population on the provincialPeriod 2 201executive, reserving one of the two vice-president positions for a female, having thewomen’s committee representatives elected by the components rather than appointed by thepresident, having the women’s committee elect the chair of the women’s committee, andallowing the women’s committeechair a vote on the provincial executive. According to oneofmy infonnants, these recommendations were “not exactly welcomed” and were nottakenseriously at first, even by the women’s committee.However, the 1989 conventiondirected the provincial executive to bring to the 1991convention a proposal to achieve gender equity through affirmative action within the unionstructure. The executive committee asked the women’s committee to recommend a plan ofaction to achieve this end, so submissions were again solicited from the components.Component 12 advanced the recommendations it had advanced previously since only oneof them had been achieved, and some of them were dealt with at the 1991 convention,although not nearly to the extent desired by the component.As aresult ofitsbattle over structural reform, Component 12 whichhadbeenjudged“not sophisticated enough to know how to act in their own best interests, and not willingto challenge the leadership of the union” by several former members of the componentexecutive, started to become political. Eventually the component came to a consensus thatfair representation on the provincial executive was its first priority and that having vicepresident positions designated for women was a step in the right direction. They weredecided they were going to fight for what they wanted.Period 2 202Structures Affecting Militancy Early In Period Two:As mentioned, a number offeminist activists articulated concerns about the lack ofprogress made with respect to equalizing women’s participation in the union at a women’scaucus at the 1987 convention. This came to the provincial executive’s attention, whichcharged the committee with making reconunendations to deal with the problemAtthe sametime, a more general concern withunion structures was expressed by conventiondelegates,and 10 resolutions recommending structural revisions were brought forward.The 1987 conventionmandated the establishment ofa Structural Review Committeeto examine the union’s component and local structure, its constitution, and anyrecommendations on structural changes that would improve membership involvement orservice levels, seeking out as much input as possible. The committee was chaired by thepresident and consisted of 7 members appointed by the president. As a result, over the nexttwo years, the issue of structural reform was at the forefront ofthe union’s consciousness,and since many of the issues the feminist activists were concerned about were also withinthe purview of the Structural Review Committee, in many cases dual submissions weremade to the women’s committee and to the Structural Review Committee. Feministactivistsfelt there was a need for structural reform both with respect to women’s committeestructures and overallunion structures because they prevented the women’s committee frombeing 100% effective in promoting female involvement in the union itself, and restricted itsability to support efforts to promote female participation in the union arising elsewhere inthe membership.In terms of the women’s committee’s structures, the activists felt that the existingPeriod 2 203restrictions on the committee’s ability to put forward its own resolutions to conventionneeded to be lifted so that the delegates rather than the provincial executive would decidewhether or not they had merit. They believed the committee chair should be elected by themembers ofthe committee, who in turn should be elected by their components rather thanappointed. Also, an effective means of getting active regional women’s committees set upwas needed, which meant the provincial executive had to allocate a larger budget to thewomen’s committeeandgive it autonomyto determinehow itwas spent. Furthennore, therewas consensus that committee members needed to be liaisons to these regional women’scommittees in a true sense and to be given work-leave to carry out their regionalresponsibilities. Finally, it was considered essential that a full-timecoordinator forwomen’sissues be designated to support the committee’s efforts.Changes in the larger union’s structures were also needed, for many of themsuppressed female activism. As was mentioned, a particularly large problem was the gridof interlocking responsibilities taken on by a component chairperson. Not only didcomponent chairpersons sit on the provincial executive and on provincial executivecommittees to which they were assigned, they also chaired their own component orbargaining unit bargaining teams. Those in the public sector sat on the master bargainingcommittee as well. Bargaining at either level could go on formany months. They were alsoresponsible for the operation of their components including chairing meetings, handlinggrievances, looking after component finances, handling occupational safety and healthissues, and for vetting resolutions from the locals intended for presentationto a BCGEU oraffiliated labour body convention.Period 2 204Since the leadership believed that there should be a female presence on allcommittees, the relatively few female provincial executive members were overloaded withmultiple committee appointments. In addition, component chairs did not automatically gettime off work to handle union business, which therefore had to be done outside regularworking hours and was particularly burdensome for the female provincial executivemembers who had family responsibilities. The major problem to rectify, however, was thedisenfranchisement of the female membership which arose from two major structuralfeatures: 1) the fact that each component, regardless ofsize, had equal say onthe provincialexecutive and 2) the component structure itself, which ensured that large numbers offemalemembers were found in a minority of the components and dominated only a few of them.As was alluded to previously, the rationale for the “one component, one vote” rulewas first that it protected the interests ofthe smaller components. Under this arrangement,their concerns could not be subsumed by those of the larger components, nor coulddisagreements among representatives from the same component occur. This rule was alsointended to encourage each component to place the interests ofthe union ahead of its own,so that overall a balance could be achieved between size and voting power on the one handandprotectionofminorityinterests onthe other. The factthatdue to occupational groupingsthenumberofmale-dominatedcomponents outnumberedthe female-dominatedcomponents,which made it possible for the former to block initiatives introduced by the latter, wasseemingly overlooked or not considered important.Another subtle factor that disenfranchised women was that the status and benefitsassociated with belonging to the provincial executive necessitated being a team player, andPeriod 2 205since the team was largely male, there was no assurance that female issues would beconsidered important. The key problem with being a team player however was that specialinterests, such as the interests of women, could not be pursued to any great extent unlessthe men could be persuaded to support them. Evidence of lack of team playing resulted insanctions, whereas team playing was rewarded. The sanctioning, positive or negative, tookmany forms as described by informants. But for example being appointed to certaincommittees or being chosen as a delegate to a CLC, NUPGE or BCFL convention, wereseen as rewards for team playing, whereas the sanctions included ostracism, subjection tosnide comments, and exclusionfromdesired committee appointments. These were the issuesthat figured prominently in the submissions made to the women’s committee and to theStructural Review Committeebetween the 1987 and the 1989 conventions. They also werethe substance ofthe 1991 discussion paper on female participation in the union thatbecameknown as the “White Paper”.Discussion of the Theoretical Model For Period Two:1. Environment:The general rise in female militancy was a significant environmental factor facingthe union in period two. That so much attentionwas diverted to structural issues during thisperiod was attributable to the fact that after 1988 the Social Credit government moderatedits stance toward government employees and even initiated pay equity discussions. Theconcern generated by the impositionofanother set ofwage controls in 1991 was short-livedbecause the NDP, re-elected later that year, made haste to introduce fairer labourPeriod 2 206legislation, with substantial input from the BCGEU. Organized labour had also made payequity a priority, and this raised the profile ofwomen’s issues as well. Hence, without anymajor, enduringnegativeforces confrontingtheunioninperiodtwo, theunionwas preparedto devote more time to its internal affairs.Highon its list ofconcerns was the level offemale participationintheunionbecausesubmissions to the Structural Review Committee had indicated that there was a problem.The decision ofthe 1989 conventionto charge the executive with making recommendationsto the 1991 conventionon achieving gender equity withinthe unionhad indicated thattokensolutions such as designating one vice-president position for a female would no longersatisfy some members. This was most particularly the case with Component 12 which, asmentioned, produced a high proportion ofthe union’s revenues.The increased militancy of the female membership created awareness of the issuesComponent 12 was fighting for. This was especially true once consensus developed withinthe component on what its priorities were during period two and the members of thecomponent started to demonstrate political sophistication, a shared vision, and commitmentto its goals. The women’s committee’s subsequent adoption of these goals boded well forthe likelihood of achieving them in period two. In terms of the theoretical model, then,environmental factors were favourable forachieving greater gains forwomenand increasingthe committee’s power in period two.2. Support for Feminist Activism:Leadership Support - The leadership gave every indicationthis period that they were tryingto deal responsibly with women’s issues. The leadership’s goals in 1987 had includedPeriod 2 207greater rank and file ownership and direction ofthe union, and one ofits priorities for 1989was achieving pay equity at the bargaining table. Gender equity and creating greateropportunities for female participation in the union were on its priority list from 1990 on.The archives indicated that the provincial executive did allocate additional resources to thecommittee and to supporting women’s issues this period. For example, it did authorize abudget to allow the committee to hold four meetings each year in 1987, and late in theperiod it began to fund component representatives’ attendance at women’s committeemeetings. In 1993 it assumed responsibility for the costs of sending women to the areaconferences to equalize access to these conferences for members from smaller or poorercomponents.Theprovincialexecutive as awhole seemedwhole-heartedly behind theWhitePaper.The entire provincial executive and the women’s committee stood at the pro-speakermicrophones when the White Paper was being debated, and when it did not go through theprovincial executive authorized the education program involving follow-up discussions inthe components as well as a publicity campaign, partly stage-managed by the women’scommittee, to promote gender equity within the union. According to one ofmy informantsthe president expressed his conviction that the White Paper recommendations had to bepassed at the 1993 conventionor theunion would be setbackdecades interms ofpromotingfemale involvement in the union.Some ofthe male provincial executive members were pro-actively supportive oftheWhite Paper’s aims. One of the male-dominated components started bringing women intocomponent meetings which would otherwise have had no female presence, to try toPeriod 2 208encourage them to run for local and component leadership positions. This initiative wassuccessful. The higher overall proportion of females on the executive in period twocompared with period one may also have increased the level of support for the women’scommittee itself and for the recommendations in the White Paper.However, it is safe to say that not all members of the provincial executive trulysupported the White Paper or women’s issues in general. I received a range of commentsonthat issue. Several ofmy respondents said they had the sense that the leadership was lessthan fully supportive of women’s issues. A representative comment was, “The leadershipis willing to be progressive, but only as long as they’re in control of how things go”.Additional respondents felt that leadership support was an illusion. One said, “The men onthe provincial executive are not interested. . .in actually supporting issues of importance towomen”. Another opined, “Their activity is externally driven. There continues to be a biggap between what they say they believe in and what they are willing to model”. A formerregionalvice-presidentadmittedshewas “ambivalent” abouttheunion’sconcernforwomen.There were complaints from some of my informants that the provincial executivestonewalled the committee during this period, and then blamed committee members for notdoing anything. The regional vice-presidents were also seen as a major obstaclebefore thesepositions were eliminatedbecause as previously noted, “...when it came to women’s issues,they just banded together as men and just made it very difficult to get anything. . .they hada vote on the provincialexecutive and they were opposed to anythingthat womenever did.”The elimination of these positions was a joint endeavour of the women’s committee andComponent 12, so there was some agreementthatthey were aproblem. Itwas also reportedPeriod 2 209that a certain amount of pressure was exerted on the provincial executive members mostsupportive ofwomen’s issues to be less so. “. . .wehave a manin one ofthe male-dominatedcomponents who is a very strong supporter, and he suffers. . .he does not get the kind ofsupport that others do at the top level..[he] will stand up. . .and rock the status quo, and heisn’t favoured...”Even some of the female provincial executive members appeared not to be fullysupportive of women’s issues. Comments made about some of them by other feministactivists were, “...sheusedto thinkwomenwhimpered too much, womenshouldjust go outthere and get things done, and ifothers get in your way, step on their faces.” “She wasn’ta feminist. She didn’t believe in that, she would hardly even come to the women’scommittee. She was a union activist, a mover and shaker, but women’s issues and equalitythings weren’t a concern.” There was a general awareness of the distinction betweenfeminist activists and other female activists among those I interviewed.But on the other end of the scale, many respondents were convinced that theleadership’s commitment to women’s issues was genuine. Representative comments to thisend were, “I think the leadership thought the women’s committee and women’s issues wereimportant”. “The leadership supports most things [that go forward from the women’scommittee]. Theycertainly don’tlaugh. They mayreword someresolution, providing a verycompleteexplanationofwhy, butthatwas never aproblem. I can’trememberany resolutionthat the women’s committee was committed to that was turned down by the executive”except, she noted, some of the recommendations in the White Paper.V Period 2 210Finally, there were problems with staff support for women’s issues in period two,because some ofthe male staff were opposed to affirmative action in regard to filling staffpositions. The female staff who were promoting it were “always having to fight” the malestaffwho “didn’twant womenhired”, and in fact werejeopardizing theirjobs by being toooutspoken about women’s issues.The only conclusion that can be reached here is that the level of true leadershipsupport was indeterminable in period two, but was probably better at the end ofthe periodthan at the beginning. This conclusion is based on the fact that the number of femalemembers on the provincial executive increased from 5 in 1987 to 9 in 1994, so femaleswere holding 50% ofthe provincial executive positions by the end of the period. Some ofthemwere knownto be feministactivists, and two ofthemwere from Component 12, wheremilitancy was strong.Membership Support - Few objective measures of membership support for the committeeor of support for the White Paper or women’s issues are available for period two.Attendance at the area conferences was generally the same in both periods, except it wasnoted in the committee minutes that the 1992 conferences arranged around the theme “AWoman’s Place Is In Her Union” were noticeably more poorly attended than those inprevious years, possibly indicative of the high levels of rancour this issue generated.Component representation at committee meetings remained spotty throughout the period,although it was better overall than it had been in the previous period. It is evident from theStructural ReformCommittee’sdecisionnottopursue representationbypopulationandfromthe forced tabling ofthe White Paper in 1991 that there was a high degree ofresistance toPeriod 2 211the proposed changes. Also, both women and men spoke out against affirmative action atthe vice-presidential level.There was disagreement among my informants about whether or not membershipsupport was a problem in period two. At one extreme, in answer to a query about whetherthe union’s overall attitude towards women’s issues had improved since period one, theemphatic response was, “No, I think we pretend there’s a different attitude. There may bea little less resistance, a little more tolerance, but it’s really just tolerance, it’s not aninterest or support of women’s issues”. A further comment was, “I think to a large extentthe elected women still largely feel they are being thrown to the wolves and don’t have asupport base”. At the other extreme, the progressiveness of the membership was stressed.“They are much more progressive as a group than is the norm in other unions because oftheir social, educational and cultural backgrounds. . .Because ofmembership support withinthe BCGEU, the women’s committee is much stronger - it doesn’t have to do everythingitself.”Unfortunately, the latter comment provides no objective evidence for the level ofsupport, and the general consensus was thatmembership support a problem. There wasdefinitely a perception that election outcomes could be affected by whether or not yourplatform focused too much on women’s issues. Said one woman who had run for a tableofficer position, “when I was writing up the campaign literature. . .1 got guys to help mewrite my speech, and they were saying, ‘No,no it sounds like you’re too much on women’sissues, you know that will turn men off’...”Regarding the failure of the White Paper, one respondent said she was not at allPeriod 2 212surprised it did not go through. Another explained that it was left to the local leadership inevery componentand area oftheprovince to communicate the rationale behindthe positionspresented, but “it just didn’t happen. It was mostly men in those positions, they felt verythreatened and upset about the paper because one ofthe resolutions was that one ofthe twoexisting vice-presidentpositions shouldbe heldby a woman. This would have displaced oneof the two male incumbents, so that was a problem...” The attitude of the men towardfemale contenders for vice president positions was, “We’ll vote for you if you’re goodenough, butuntilthatpoint, forget it”. They were deafto theproblemthe womenexpressedwhich was ifthey did not get elected they would never get the necessary experience to dothe job well.Nevertheless, resolutionspertainingto women’s issues were forwarded by 7 differentcomponents duringperiodtwo (SeeTable4.2), one ofthemmale-dominated, which suggeststhat pockets of support were widespread within the union. Now we will examine women’scommittee structures and how the committee’s alliance with Component 12 facilitatedfeminist activism in period two.3. Structures:While there was a great deal of activity directed toward structural reform in periodtwo, little was actually accomplished prior to the 1993 convention. The 1987 StructuralReview Committee ended up recommending no changes to the local/component make-up,and that the “one component-one person-one vote remain as a key element in the structureofthe provincial executive” for the sake of “the union’s strength and purpose” and to “notrisk having the union divided along individual occupational lines.”Period 2 213The extensive recommendations put forward to the executive committee by thewomen’s committee, designed to achieve affinnative action in union structures, had littleimpact. The executive committee recommended, and the provincial executive approved, adecision to refer the women’s committee’s recommendations to the finance, education,constitution and structure, communication, and child care committees, and to appropriatebargaining committees, and also to the president to address affirmative action on staff. Thecommittees were given total autonomy to “revise, combine or otherwise amend [thewomen’s committees recommendations] in developing policy recommendations for theprovincial executive. . . [and] not to approve specific recommendations” ifthey wished. Theywere to report back to the provincial executive at its April meeting. The executivecommittee approved only one ofthe recommendations in the women’s committee’s report,that a constitutional amendment that “at least one Provincial Vice-President shall be awoman” should be introduced.The outcomeofthereferral process was adiscussionpaperproducedbythe women’scommittee, the executive committee, and staff entitled “Women in the BCGEU”, knowninformally as the White Paper. It was to be presented to the 1991 convention and a SpecialConvention was planned for 1992 to follow up on progress made and consider additionalinitiatives. But the 1991 convention was not supportive of the ideas contained in thediscussionpaper, eventhoughwhat was proposed was “a watered downversion ofthe workthat the women’s committee and the locals had put forward”, according to a few of myinformants.Ultimately the report was tabled but the convention nevertheless handled a numberPeriod 2 214ofresolutions addressing women’s issues. These included the elimination ofregional vice-presidents, the election rather than the appointment ofcommittee members, locals’ right tointroduce resolutions to convention without having them approved by their components,increasing representation ontheprovincialexecutive forlargercomponents, and the creationof a full-time women’s advocate position to coordinate activities pertaining to women. Thefirst was passed, the second and third turned down, and the others were referred to theprovincial executive. However, inimplementingthe resolutionaboutthe women’s advocate,the provincial executive merely added those responsibilities to those already borne by thesecretary of the women’s committee who also had a department to supervise and so couldnot give 100% of her time to the designated task.Few structural changes occurred within the women’s committee itselfduring periodtwo. A budget was allocated but the committee still had to have the executive approve howit was spent. It permitted four meetings per year but not all ofthem materialized becauseother union priorities like elections took precedence. The area women’s conferences wereheld each year, but “they were always pulled together at the last minute because youcouldn’t. . .bookmembers offto do itbecause there was no money inourbudget... with eachof the components having to pay to have their members come down, the thing was just setup to fail” although they generally did turn out quite well. There was no organization,support or resources to get the regional or area women’s committees off the ground, andtherefore no way to really determine what the grassroots membership wanted from thewomen’s committee “. . .the idea oftrying to get something up at the cross-component levelneeded someone. . .going into that area and getting people enthused, getting them involvedPeriod 2 215in some issues, and guiding them through...”The committee’s resolutions and bargaining proposals still had to be approved, andresolutions regarding women’s issuesthatwere introducedatlocalmeetingswhichcontinuedto draw a largely male crowd were often voted down ifthey were even “lucky” enough tobe discussed. The committee’s terms ofreference were changed in 1991 atthe committee’sinstigation, butoverall structural improvementswhichwouldhave increased the committee’spotential to secure gains for women were absent.There were a few exceptions. According to my informants, one was that thecommittee for most of period two was not chaired by a table officer, which may haveliberated discussion within the committee and allowed unsanctioned strategies to beemployed. Instead, for most of the period women from Component 12 were in the chair.Anotherwas that once again, female staffwere allowed to attendcommitteemeetings. Sinceone of the BCGEU’s internal issues was affirmative action with respect to filling staffpositions, the staff’s input may have given the committee additional momentum to pursuethe White Paper recommendations.However, there is little doubt that the major structural advantage gained in periodtwo arose fromthe alliance thatdeveloped betweenthe women’s committeeand Component12. The componentstructure hadcertainadvantages overwomen’scommittee structuresthatenhanced the likelihood that gains for women could be attained. A major one was that,unlike the committee, components were entitled to submit resolutions to conventionwithouthaving them approved firstby the provincial executive. Also, since the women’s committeewas not even mentioned in the constitutionuntil the 1993 convention, the committee had aPeriod 2 216very low profile within the membership and was “seen as a side bar committee [without]thestrengthand recognitionitdeserves”. Incontrast, theAdministrativeServices componenthad a high profile by virtue of its size, and also because of the pay equity initiativesintroduced by the government in the early 1990’s. The fact that some of the members feltthreatened by Component 12’s aspirations regarding representation on the provincialexecutive gave them additionalnotoriety. “. . .ourcomponent is seen as having all the powerand people are afraid that we’re going to take over”. Also, unlike the provincial executivewomen’s committee, the component had a lot ofmoney to allocate to the promotion of itsinterests due to the size of the component’s budget.Another important advantage for the component was that it had a vote on theprovincial executive where, as a representative ofa large component, it couldplead its owncase with conviction. In contrast with many of the other components, in speaking up forwomen Component 12 was not treading on the rights of the majority of its members.Similarly, the exhortationto upholdunion solidarity was less compelling to Component 12,given its sense that it had received less than its due up to that point. Consequently it gainedsupport from other components, including some ofthe male-dominated ones, in its bid forrepresentation by population on the provincial executive. The women’s committee, incontrast, did not have a comparable direct, partisan voice on the provincial executive,although effort was directed to changing that situation.A further advantage Component 12 had compared with the women’s committee wasthat ifthe component chair was not seen to be fairly representing the component’s interests,the chair could be replaced via election. In contrast, while the members of the women’sPeriod 2 217committee that I spoke with felt the appointment ofthe Secretary-Treasurer to the chair ofthe committee was not ideal, their efforts to have the chair elected by the committeemembers rather than appointed by the president were unsuccessful.Similarly, the appointmentrather thanelectionofthe representatives to the women’scommittee was felt to be problematic because it reduced their sense of accountability andresponsibility for strongly representing their components’ female members, which was nota problem for Component 12. So in that sense, Component 12 executives elected on aplatformcalling forincreasedcomponentpowerwerebetter-positionedto achievetheirgoalsthan was the women’s committee.The final advantage that will be mentioned here is that components service locals,so the executive of Component 12 had already-established communication networks andformal structures in place to give them ready access to the membership and to grassrootsconcerns, which was lacking in the women’s committee. The women’s committee had torely on committee representatives to keep up-to-date on what were current membershipconcerns, but sincethey were notnecessarily committedto identifyingthese issues and therewas no structure in place to automatically create an interface between them and thegrassroots, they may have had little abilityto representthese to the committee, which wouldhave made the committee somewhat irrelevant to the membership.Hence, withComponent 12 mobilized, opportunities to secure gains forwomenweremultiplied. Inaddition, the changes to the union’s internal policies thathad occurred duringperiod one, for example, providing child care for convention and educational seminars, hadsomewhat eased female activism in period two. Further progress was made during thePeriod 2 218period which will be discussed after the activities ofthe women’s committee are described.But to conclude this section, the structural advantages arising from the component structurewhich supplemented women’s committee structures boded well for gains this period. Wewill now turn to an examination of the women’s committee’s activities in period two.4. Women’s Committee’s Activities and Characteristics:The committee’s report to the 1987 convention indicated that its major goal for theupcomingyear was increasing femaleparticipationintheunion. However, only one meetingwas held each year in 1987 and 1988, both goal-setting meetings for the upcoming year.The committee’s increasing frustration was evident in its goals, which for the first timeincluded political action. The committee also affirmed previously-stated goals of fourmeetings per year, having its own budget, establishing component and local women’scommittees, and educating the female membership on how to lobby. Similar to the firstperiod, attendance at the April, 1988 meeting was poorwith only 5 components representedat the meeting. In contrast to the first period, a female regional vice-president rather thana table officer was in the chair. The committee passed a motion at that meeting to have theprovincial executive approve an annual budget that was to be administered by the chair andsecretary of the committee.This was approved by the executive and at the next meeting in March, 1989, 10component representatives were in attendance. Four meetings were held in 1989, for thefirst time since 1985. Also for the first time, the committee developed an action plan toachieve its goals for the upcoming year. The committee secured additional space in unionpublications devoted to women’s presence in the union, developed an education programPeriod 2 219supporting pay equity, requested that the components establish an agenda item at theirmeeting forthe reportfromthe women’s committeerepresentativeandalso establishinternalwomen’s committees, developed a lengthy internal sexual harassment policy for inclusionin the policy manual which made violators subject to disciplinary action by the union, andalso developed strategies to support upcoming convention resolutions on issues of concernto women which included holding a women’s caucus during the 1989 convention.Nevertheless, the committee’s report to the 1989 convention acknowledged thecommittee’s lack of success in increasing female participation in the union since the lastconvention. It announced its priorities remained increasing women’s participation in theunion, achieving pay equity and other bargaining gains for women, and seeking out womenwilling to serve in leadership positions.Afterthe election, the new female vice-presidentfromComponent 12 was appointedchair of the women’s committee. During the remainder of 1989, the committee voted toinvite female staff to future meetings and to start sending out information bulletins to themembership on women’s concerns and the need for women to run for leadership positions.A questionnaire to seek out membership views on the committee’s purpose and usefulnesswas discussed, and the committee decided to establish a mentorship program for activistsand would-be activists. Component representation fell again, with only 7 or 8representatives in attendance.The committee continued its regular activities in 1990, planning area conferences,celebratingInternationalWomen’sDay, developingresolutionsand 38bargainingproposals.In addition, the committee was heavily involved in soliciting input from componentsPeriod 2 220regarding how to increase female participation in the union and preparing a report for theexecutive committee. New initiatives included planning a newsletter for distribution to themembers that would include articles on political action and getting women elected. Itproposed new terms ofreference, which were approved, which included the eliminationofsystemic barriers to participation and promoting gender equity in the union. It decided tokeep in touch with women who attended the area conference to keep them active andinterested in the union. At the September and October meetings, representatives from 10components, two or three staff representatives and the committee secretary were inattendance. ThechairofComponent 12 was appointedchair ofthe women’s committeeafterJuly, 1990 because the former chair found she had too many obligations to fulfil. The fourcommittee meetings that year were supplemented by two conference calls.In 1991, the committee continued to attend to routine business. Componentrepresentation at committee meetings was higher overall than it had ever been. Thecommittee’s 1991 goals included assisting the union to establish working relationships withgovernment women’s programs and ministry women’s committees and developing aprovincial electionpamphlet supporting the NDP. Some ofthe area conferences were held,with the rest postponed until the following spring due to a number of conflicting eventssponsored by the BCGEU’s affiliates and also the provincial election. For the balance of1991, the committee developed training modules from the area conference for delivery bycross-component committees and trained facilitators to deliver the workshops. A women’sforum, open to men, was held instead ofa women’ caucus, because ofthe negative reactionto the caucus held at the previous convention.Period 2 221At the committeemeeting following the convention, the committee decidedthat “theconvention’s disposition of the white paper and designating one vice-president position fora female doesn’t go far enough. . .further action is necessary”. Necessary action wasidentified as education, publicity, lobbying, women’s conferences, running femalecandidates at local elections, and establishing a support network for female activists andpotentialactivists. The committeedecided to embarkonaneducational program ondiversityto “prepare our members to understand and address current equality issues: a) positiveactionwithinthe union; b) employmentequity at the workplace; c) barriers to equality suchas sexual harassment, racial harassment, and homophobia.”At the December, 1991 meeting, the committee established its 1992 action planwhich included area conferences, diversity training, training on “balancing it all” to beoffered through the cross-component committees, and commemorative projects forInternational Women’s Day and December 6, the anniversary ofthe massacre ofthe femaleengineering students in Montreal. The committee members began making regular reportsonfollow-up action on the White Paper that was occurring in their components. The themeof the 1992 area women’s conference was “The Participation ofWomen in the BCGEU”.The Component 12 chair was replaced in 1992 by an appointee from Component4,the second largest female-dominated component, representing the private sector. The firsttwo-day committee meeting was held in October, but only three meetings occurred in 1992.The committee invited a representative from the Ministry of Women’s Equality to theirmeeting to emphasize the need for the ministries to send a clear message to managers andstaff that no harassment would be tolerated. It also decided to invite male provincialPeriod 2222executive membersto attend the women’s conferencesas a consciousness-raisingeffort. Awomen’s caucus was held at thefall leadership conference.For 1992/93, in addition to itsregular duties the committeeworked on a neweducational initiative tocombat violence againstwomen and children, prepareda pamphleton sexual harassment, recommendedthat additional trainedstaff be availableto handlesexual harassmentcomplaints,and planned a 1994women’s calendar and a women’shistoryproject.In 1993, the Secretary-Treasurerof the union resumedthe chair of the women’scommittee. The committeeprepared a workshop onhandlingsexual harassment complaints,forwarded three convention resolutionsto the provincial executive,held a women’s caucusat the convention, and reportedto the convention that “toachieve gender equityrequires afundamental change inthe structure and culture ofour union.” Committee activitiesweretemporarily suspendedin the fall due to the upcomingfederal elections, andareaconferences for 1994 werepostponed from the springto the fall because the conferenceplans could not be approvedin the absence of the committeechair.Comparing the women’s committee’sactivities inperiods oneand two it is clear thatmeetings were held on a moreregular basis in the secondperiod, althoughthere wereexceptions. In both periods, thecommittee’s emphasiswas largely educationalrather thanpolitical, but in the second periodit started to use creativestrategies to achieveits goals.For example, believing it wasnecessary for the femalemembership to becomemoreexposed to women’s issues, thecommittee members started topass offtheir credentialstoattendvarious conventionsandconferences to otherwomenintheircomponents, to facilitatePeriod 2 223their education. A chair ofthe committee sought a vice-presidential positionin 1989 so thatshe could devote her efforts full-time to the women’s committee, andshe had men help herwrite up her campaign literature to ensure she appealed to the broadest membershipbasepossible, and not solely to those members interested in women’s issues.The committeechairs also becamemore strategic whenthey had to asktheprovincialexecutive for anything. Since they were going to be “jumped on” by thesame componentchairs who were jumping on their committee representatives, they “always[had] to planvery carefully how we presented everything. You couldn’tjust go toa meeting and makea report. You would have to couch it so that it would get passed withoutstraining toomuch.”The committee directed some of its efforts to raising the consciousness of the maleprovincialexecutive members by inviting them to the women’s conferences. Thecommitteemade some effort to influence component executives directly byproposing the establishmentof internal committees and including women’s committee reports as an agendaitem atcomponent meetings. It also formed alliances with other committees to make a greaterimpression on the provincial executive, and got influential men to raise theirissues atconvention, to ensure they would be attended to.We’d have to get the likes of [Cliff Andstein] and John Shields to standup atconventionto speak onwomen’s issues. . .Someofthe womendidn’tlike to have menspeak for them. But those of us who didn’t give a shit how it got in front ofeveryone as long as it did, were happy. We would use any vehicle to get a hearing.Therefore, there was a strongerpolitical flavour to the committee’s activities inperiod two.The committee also made some additional efforts to reach the membership in periodtwo through union publications, maintaining contact with and lending support to activists,Period 2 224makingreports to convention, andholdingwomen’scaucuses and forums atconventions andleadership conferences. It also started to pursue some issues increasingly relevant to themembership, such as valuing diversity and combatting violence againstwomen and childrenwhich were seen by the male membership as not exclusively women’s issues, and thereforeenhanced receptivity to these issues within the membership.However, there were differences of opinion within the committee as to whether ornotmen shouldbe allowed to attend the area women’s conferences, and whether or notmenshould be allowed to sit on the committee. There were obvious differences among themembers regarding their feminist philosophies (or the lack thereof), because “a lot of thewomen around the table don’t believe in a lot ofthings that the women’s committee does,they’re not there as feminists for the mostpart. Some ofthem don’tbelieve in true equalityfor all women. . [andithey are afraid of challenging [the power hierarchy in the union]”.Also, the committee members, at least at the start ofthe period, had no sense ofbelongingto a group, “nobody had any sense ofbelonging to it, probably because they came from allover the province. There really wasn’tanything inbetweentheirmeetings to make them feelthere really was something.” That and the committee’s isolation from the membership werestrong deterrents to committee effectiveness.According to one of my informants, there was a genuine attempt within thewomen’s committee “to address issues, to be more progressive, to get to the provincialexecutive in a more assertive way” in period two. Therefore, potential for additional gainsfor women might have existed even without the mobilization of Component12 to fight forthe empowerment ofwomen in the union. Thejoint commitment ofthe committee and thePeriod 2 225component to do whatever was necessary to get the White Paper recommendationspassedmade the prognosis for success this period evenmore pronounced.We will now discuss thepotential for gains this period.5. Potential For Gains In Period Two:One of my informants, who had sat on the women’s committeein 1986 and thenagain from 1992 on, recalled how different the feeling onthe committee was in the laterperiod.The big change was that [the table officer who had chaired the committee since1977] wasn’t there. . .it had opened up some and it was possibleto have discussionand have other people pick up on the discussion. People were open to makingmotions and actually discussing motions, notjust following the dictatesofwhat wascoming from wherever on the [union] agenda... People...were there, who [were]apt to discuss issues and actually pass motions that meant that actual things hadtohappen. I was feeling quite positive about it.Her comment and the previous discussion of how the women’s committee acted inperiod two compared with period one indicates that the women’s committee actionsin thesecond period were conducive to achieving gains for women. While women’s committeestructures had changed little, there were improvements in the later period. The eliminationof the regional vice-presidents in 1991 was seen as a significant improvementin unionstructures as well. There were strong indications of leader support in period two, althoughthe membership continued to display ambivalence with respect to women’s issues.Overall,the acceptance ofthe legitimacy ofwomen’s issues appeared higher inperiodtwo. Finally,environmental factors internal and external to the union favoured progress for women.Inparticular, the mobilization of the Component 12 membership was very significant.Period 2 226To summarize, the combined efforts of Component 12 and the women’s committeeincreased the pressure exerted upon the membership and the leadership to get the structuralchange recommendations contained in the White Paper satisfactorily addressed. Theadditional resources allocated to educating the membership this period about women’sconcerns probably increased member support for the kinds of initiatives being pursued andindicated that leadership support existed for these recommendations.A major structural advantage materialized when Component 12 and the women’scommittee started working together to achieve theirjoint objectives. Component 12 had theautonomy, the influence, and the means the women’s committee lacked to enable itsuccessfully to present the case for the White Paper recommendations to the membershipat large as well as to its own members, and thereby reduce resistance to them. Therefore,the probability that structural improvements for women would materialize was high at theend of the second period.There was additional pressure on the union in period two to gender balance allcommittees, including theprovincial executive and the local and component executives, andto ensure womenwere fairly represented on staffas well. So again, by the end ofthe periodthe probability was high that improvements in female involvement in union governancewould occur.Finally, there was no reason to suppose that progress at the bargaining table wouldbe stonewalled. Achieving gains for its members at the bargaining table was integral to theunion’s goals, and for all of period two females were an increasing majority of themembership. So overall, the theoretical model predicted that gains for women would bePeriod 2 227higher in period two than in period one. Actual progress made in period two will now bedescribed. Resolutions to conventionpertaining to women’s issues will be considered first.Actual Gains Achieved in Period Two:The first category ofgain to be considered are gains regarding women’s committeeand union structures. In terms of statistics (See Table 5.2), in the second period 41resolutions pertaining to women’s issues were introduced, 23 of which were passed, 12referred, and 6 turned down. The proportion oftotal resolutions proposed that was passedwas 66% in period one and 56% in period two, while the proportion passed in periodtwo was almost three times what it had been in period one (15% instead of 5.5%). Thevolume ofresolutions handled increased substantially, for in none ofthe years prior to the1987 convention were more than 6 resolutions introduced while subsequently, 10-16resolutions were introduced at each convention. Also, the social change orientation of theresolutions dealing with women’s issues that were brought to convention inperiod two wasmuch more apparent (See Tables 7 and 8). Compared with period one when only 3/22 ofthese resolutions were categorized as social change oriented prior to 1987, subsequently16/55 could be so classified.In 1989 the resolutions committed the union to achieving pay equity, establishing atraining program for activists and making such training a priority, and orienting the newmembership to the BCGEU’s history. The provincial executive was charged with bringingrecommendations to the 1991 convention on how to achieve affirmative action within theunion structure, and how to encourage the involvement and participation of women in thePeriod 2 228union. Among the referrals to the provincial executive were recommendations calling forthe elimination of regional vice-president positions, replacement of regional councils withcross-component committees charged with coordinating community-based educational andsocial initiatives, the election of table officers byflthe membership rather than justdelegates to convention to promote “membership involvement and union democracy”.On issues ofconcern to women, there were recommendations regarding full fundingfor abortion clinics, non-discriminatory hiring by the employer, gender equity on theexecutive committee, and the establishment of awareness and educational programs on thevalues and skills of the low-paid workers in the union.In 1991, a Constitutional Structural Revisions committee was established torecommend structural revisions to thenextconvention, and someprogress was made. Crosscomponent committees were established to be used as a “forum for education on issues”.The constitutional amendment requiring that at least one vice-president be female wentthrough. Regional vice-presidents were eliminated, the union committed itself to changingits internal policy to provide daycare during and after union educational, conference orconvention activities, to pressuring the government to enact pay equity legislation, and toactively supporting reduced violence against women and children. It also resolved tonegotiate affirmative action programs with the employer and made ending wagediscrimination against women a priority.No referrals back to the provincial executive or the executive committee on nonstructural issues occurred. The structural revisions that were referred were introduced byComponent 12 and included increasing the number of representatives on the provincialPeriod 2 229executive forlarger components and creating aWomen’sCoordinatorpositionto deal solelywith women’s issues. An additional referral involvedextending the financial policyregarding child care to looking after physically or mentally disabledor elderly people. Theresolutions that were turned down were also introducedby Component 12. They dealt withelecting rather than appointing committee membersand allowing locals the powerto submitresolutions directly to convention, rather than havingto go through their componentexecutives.At the 1993 convention, 4 resolutions were forwardedto another newly-appointed,gender-balanced task force. Several resolutions ofa structural nature were passed.Resolutions came infrom nine ofthe componentssupporting increasing the numberofvice-president positions from two to four, and designatingtwo ofthem for women, and this waspassed. Component 12 was temporarily granted oneextra representative on the provincialexecutive until afterthe 1995 convention. The administrativecommittee was eliminatedandthe executive committee was given the additional dutyofoverseeing the ongoing operationof the union. The BCGEU resolved to removesystemic barriers to women’s fullparticipation through scheduling of activitiesat times when women with familyresponsibilities could still attend.Italso committedto giving the public strongerprotectionagainst all persons accusedof sexual offenses, rejecting discrimination within the union onany grounds, undertakingan extensive education program to combat harassmentand violence against women andchildren, and making the union “a more accessibleand inclusive organization to the fullrange of our membership”, including the gay/lesbianfaction of the union.Period 2 230Overall, in period two more resolutions and particularly those of a structural naturethat favouredthe interests ofwomenwere introduced and actedupon, althoughmany otherswere turnedback for furtherconsideration. The most important outstanding issue otherthanrepresentation by populationis giving the women’s committee chair a voting positionontheprovincial executive.The second category ofgainofconcernto women was level ofparticipation inuniongovernance (Refer to Table 6.2). There is evidence ofimprovement in period two in termsofproportion offemale on staff, which increased from an average of34% in period one to40% in period two, however even in 1993 only one ofthe three directors and only one ofthe 8 coordinators were female. It was at the staff representative level that the gains weremade. Substantial improvement in the average proportion of females on the provincialexecutive occurred as well, from 17% in period one to 36% in period two. In 1994, itreached 50%. An important improvement came in the increase in the proportion of femaledelegates at the convention. Prior to 1989, the average was 32%. The average for 1989-1993 was 47%, and in 1993 for the first time 53% of the voting delegates (compared to62% of the membership) were female. Finally, the make-up of the master bargainingcommitteechanged over the years as well. The average proportionoffemales on the masterbargaining committee was 15% in period one whereas inperiod two approximately 31 % ofthe master bargaining committee was female.The third category of gain to be considered is improvement in contract language.There is little point in comparing the number of contract clauses negotiated for women inperiod one and two for a couple of reasons. First, the initial master agreement was notPeriod 2 231negotiateduntil 1974 so the union was starting from scratch with respect to women’s issuesin period one. Second, six master agreements were negotiated in period one whereas onlythree have been negotiated since then. But I will try to capture the nature of the gainsachieved by each master agreement in period two.The first agreement negotiated inperiod two tookeffect in 1988. The adoptionleaveclause was expanded to include continuation of employer coverage of medical, extendedhealth, dental, group life or long-term disability premiums during the leave period, andaccumulation of vacation entitlements as well. The second agreement, effective 1991,introduced contract language promoting a harassment and discrimination-free workenvironment, the sexual harassment language and procedures to deal with complaints weretightened, and employees who terminated service to raise children were granted in-servicestatus and accumulated seniority upon application for re-employment. A deferral ofmaternity leave commencement, parental leave forbirthladoptionof75% pay for 10 weeksand paid maternity leave of85% pay for 17 weeks were negotiated. Maternity, parental andadoption leaves were made extendable for 6 months with medical certificate, during whichtime the employer premiums for all health and dental benefits were paid, and vacationentitlements accrued. Procedures forthe operationofthe employee assistance programwereclarified and ajointeducationprogram to increase awareness ofthe program was arranged.The telephone allowance for employees in travel status was improved, and the employer’sliability for child care expenses was extended to those incurred by employees attendingemployer-sponsored courses away from home or outside regular working hours.Period 2 232The 1994 agreement replaced the sexual harassment protection clause withadiscrimination and harassment protection clause. A personal harassment protection clausewas negotiated. The bridging of service clause for employees temporarily terminatingservice to bring up children was extended to employees with responsibilities fordependentparents and spouses. The bereavement leave provision was changed to take intoconsideration established etlmo-cultural or religious practices, the proviso of a 6-monthreturn to service following maternity, paternal or adoption leave in order to qualify foraccrued vacation credits while on leave was modified to consider employees unable to putin 6 months service due to re-qualifying for maternity, paternity or adoption leave. Thetelephone allowance for employees in travel status was further liberalized. The employerwas made liable forchildcare expenses incurred by employees attendingemployer-endorsededucational, training andcareer development activities or employer-sponsored activities notnormally within the employee’s job duties, or away from their homes. Another substantialachievement in period two was the successful negotiation of pay equity arrangements,although this was not on the table in period one.Inretrospect, significantbargaining gains for women were achieved inbothperiods,as were improvements in the level of female involvement in the governance of the union.Improvements in union and women’s committee structures did not materialize to any greatextent until period two, but by 1994, they had had a major effect on the structure of theprovincial executive, which went from 26% female at the start ofthe period to 50% femaleafter the 1993 convention.Period 2 233Summary and ConclusionsSummaryAs with the previous case, to detennine what we learned from this case study, weneed to review the theoretical model in the context ofthe two periods to see to what extentthe model was upheld, what variables were particularly significant to committee powerunder what circumstances, and what accounted for outcomes achieved.The two periods were very different. In the first period (1975 - 1987), thecommittee’s goals were to increase female participation in union governance and removethe inequalities facing women by working through union structures and adapting theirpriorities to those ofthe leadership. Union and committee structures allowed the committeeto carry out routine activities such as attending to correspondence from other women’sgroups and producing recommendations regarding women’s issues to the executive. Theydid allow the committee to establish a base of support for women’s issues within themembership, develop momentumtowards goal achievement, orachieve cohesiveness withinthe committee. These problems arose from the lack ofconnections with the grassroots, theinconsistentscheduling ofmeetings, poormeetingattendance, andlackoffollow-upbetweenmeetings.The leadership appeared reluctant to modify structures to facilitate female activismsuch as paying for representatives from the various components to attend women’scommittee meetings. It was unwilling to allocate additional resources to committeeoperations so committee members could have time offto build local and regional women’scommittees. This suggests that leadership support may have been deficient for much ofthePeriod 2 234period, despite rhetoric to the contrary, andseemingly extended only to thenegotiation ofwomen’s issues. This may have been becausemost ofthe leadership’s energywas divertedinto the union’s battle with the governmentduring this period. An alternativeexplanationis that the leadership may not have beenthat interested in fostering increasedfemaleparticipation in union governance by encouragingfemale activism.Sincemembership supportforwomen’s issueswithintheunionwas weakthroughoutperiod one, overall the variables inthe power model were negative. The committeewascertainly not powerful. However it hadnever expressed a desire to powerful,ordemonstrated a commitment to developingpower. Informal union structures whichdefinedappropriatebehaviouras doingwhatthe leadership willedmay have largelybeenresponsiblefor this. Nevertheless, there was evidencethis period that the committeewas somewhatfrustrated with the lack ofprogress madefor women. The major gains achievedwere at thebargaining table where the committee’srole was limited to making recommendationsoncontract clauses. Therefore, outcomes wereas predicted by the model, giventhe lack ofcommittee power.The major change that occurred in period two (1987to the present) is that feministactivists within the membership articulatedtheir desire for power inorder to change thestatus ofwomenwithinthe union, andtookactionto secure itby mobilizinga large segmentofthe membership to fight for structural changes. Thiswas done despite lack ofprecedentfor such action within the union andwithout leadership authorization.Fortunately, theexternal environment was moresettled this period which allowedthe activists on thePeriod 2235women’s committee to meet on a more regularbasis and commit themselvesto eliminatingsystemic barriers to female participationin the union and promotinggender equity.The contrast in the committee’s orientationin the two periodswas startling, andseemed to reflect a transition from institutionalizationback to activism. The socialchangeorientation ofthe resolutions dealingwith women’s issues thatwere brought to conventionin period two was much more apparent(See Tables 7 and 8). Althoughthe committeecontinued to carry out its administrativefunctions, it appearedto operate moreindependently than previously. Thiswas indicated by its use of politicalstrategies to raisethe provincial executive members’ levelof consciousness regarding women’sissues, suchas inviting them to women’s conferencesand gettingpowerful menonthe executive to fronttheir issues at conventions. There wasalso a willingness to upset the malemembership thathad not beenpresent previously. The mosttelling illustrations ofthelatter were commentsfrom Component 12 chairs (who sat on thewomen’s committee), committingthemselves tobeing “brats” and abandoning their “goodgirl” image if that’s what itwould take to gainpower for themselves.Component 12 joined forces withthe committee to fight for structuralchange. Theleadership eventually backed themas well, and the committee beganto acquire power, asthe theoreticalmodel predicted it would.Outcomes inperiod two revealedstrong gains withrespect to female participation in theunion, contract clauses favourableto women, andunion structures. The committee sharedcredit with Component 12for non-bargaining gainsachieved.Period 2 236Conclusions Regarding the Theoretical Model:A number of observations can be made about this case. In period one when thecommittee was relatively powerless, the major gains for women were made with respect tocontractclauses, whichwere negotiatedbythe leadership. Also, substantialgains were madewith respect to increasing the female presence on the staff, another goal of the leadership.However, resources necessary to achieve grassroots support for women’s issues, which thecommittee deemed a priority, were not made available.A number of possible conclusions can be drawn from this:1) where committee and leadership goals are aligned, facilitative structures will be created,and vice versa.2) when a committee lacks power, structures and leadership goals will shape outcomes.3) there are other sources ofgains for womenbesides committeepower - inthis case, unionstructures.In period two, the increase in committee power had little to do with leadershipsupport. The firstoftwo majorcontributors to committeepowerwas the increased militancyof the membership arising from the campaign spear-headed by Component 12, aimed ateliminating systemic barriers to female participation in the union and promoting genderequity. Although the leadership endorsed these goals by approving new terms of referencefor the committee, overall it remained non-committal with respect to the radical structuralchanges being soughtuntil it spoke out infavour ofthe White Paper atthe 1991 convention.Subsequently, it increased resource allocations to the committee.The second contributor was changes inthe way the committee functioned. ItbecamePeriod 2 237more political and more assertive, as well as more cohesive and committed. It also becamemore active. This suggests some additional tentative conclusions:4) membership support can be a major factor in committee power, so structures that allowa committee to foster membership support are valuable.5) membership wishes can affect leadership goals once the mobilized membership reachesa critical mass. Leadership perceptions play some role in determining what constitutes acritical mass, because it is obvious that in period one, while there were feminist activistsagitating about lack ofprogress for women, their concerns were not taken seriously by theleadership.6) committee characteristics, goals and actions are an important source ofcommitteepowerbecause they affect levels of leadership and membership support. Desirable committeecharacteristics are cohesion, focus, use of unruly tactics, and persistence. High activitylevels are also favoured.In period two, structural reform became the focus of committee efforts. Existingcomponent structures enhanced the ability of Component 12 and the committee to achievethese reforms. But without the persistent efforts of feminist activists and widespreadmembership support, these reforms would not have materialized. The conclusion to bedrawn from this is:7) militancy, membership support, andfacilitativestructures are needed to achievestructuralreform in the absence of aligned leadership and committee goals.These three factors wouldbe associated withcommitteepower, butthis case suggeststhatthe structuralreforms achievedweremorecloselyassociatedwithmembershipmilitancyPeriod 2 238than committee power, which again decouples committee power and gains achieved forwomen. Both union structures and membership militancy appear to figure prominently inoutcomes.Again these conclusions suggest that the model should be redrawn to highlight theimportance of the alignment of committee and membership goals, union and committeestructures, and membership support. The irrelevance of committee power to certainoutcomes under certain circumstances should also be clarified.Other Conclusions:Other generalizations are suggested by this case. To the extent that the BCGEU’sformal structures and regularized procedures are typical ofthose of organized labour, theydo not lend themselves to addressing the needs of non-traditional members. The manyobstacles to female activism already enumerated, such as the need to devote evenings andweek-ends to union business at the expense of family obligations, are cases in point. Theunion’s way of doing things tends to reinforce the existing power distributions and isextremely resistant to change. Also, the process ofinstitutionalization is reversible, as wasdemonstrated here. However, it requires an investment of huge amounts of energy by acommitted group of feminist activists and a great deal of perseverance.A major insight I gained as I studied this committee’s evolution was that perhaps itis inevitable that an institutionalized committee committed to fundamental change whichdoes notmaterializewill eventually chafeatthe structures governing its actions and discoverthathaving its ownpower is essential to achievingthosegoals. A shared awareness certainlyPeriod 2 239developed within the BCGEU’s women’s committee at the start ofperiod two and resultedin a heightened determination to correct the situation. Although the social movementliterature suggests that social movementorganizations tend toward institutionalizationinthelong-term unless they redefine their goals, this study provides evidence that theinstitutionalizationprocess is reversible. De-institutionalizationcanoccurnotonly as a resultof newly defined goals but also because of a rebirth of commitment to previously-definedbut as yet unattained goals. This constitutes an extension ofthe social movement literature,because there has been little elucidation of how social movement organizations evolvebeyond the institutionalized phase.Probably the major contributionofthis study has been the elaboration ofhow poweris retained by leadership groups. Many ofthe means ofretaining power that were listed inthe structural power literature in organizational theory and in the industrial relationsliterature, such as utilizing strategic communications, cutting off resource flows, andcentralizing power in the hands ofthe leadership, were in evidence or were averred in thisstudy. The use oftacticspredicted inthe social movement literature, such as cooptation andeffective immobilization of challenger groups, was also evident.However the case also showed that power holders can be pressured into spreadingpower more widely through the articulation of a commitment to change, the mobilizationof support for that change, persistence, and the use of creative tactics to create awarenessofthe need for change. Hence the study shows that Michel’s (1956) IronLaw ofOligarchyis not absolute, even in a union that is highly bureaucratized and centrally controlled, witha largely complacent membership.Period 2 240This study upheld the resource dependency model found in the organizationalliterature. In this case, the most potentially powerful group was the membership, becauseit ultimately elects the leadership. Alienating Component 12 would have been ill-advisedgiven its size, so although the component’s demands went against tradition, they had to beaddressed, particularly when they were supported by other components.Support was found as well for the Foucauldian power model. Part of the reasonComponent 12 was able to influence so many people was because of the presence ofComponent 12 members in all regions of the province and the existence of structures tofacilitatecontactwiththem. Similarly, theconstitutionalmake-up oftheprovincialexecutiveprovided access into all the components, as did the women’s committee’s structure.Component 12’s executive members activated the provincial network and became verypowerful change agents. But the structures themselves were the base of their power. Thissuggests thatComponent 12’s focusonstructuralreformwas appropriate forthepropagationof its power. As it becomes increasingly influential in determining structures in future, itspower should continue to grow.From a morepractical perspective, this study suggests thatthe BCGEU’s centralizedstructures are an impediment to union responsiveness to emergent membership issues,regardless of their utility on other dimensions. Since it is not in the union’s long-terminterests to try to suppress these issues, and since in fact they cannot be suppressedindefinitely, it would seem advisable for the BCGEU to consider modifying its highlycentralized structures to encourage greater membership input. Special efforts to createPeriod 2 241appropriate vehicles for such input appear necessary, given the disparities within themembership inregard to education and willingness to speak out in front oflarge audiences.Inregard to the women’s committee, provincialcommitteemembers should be giventhe mandate and resources to develop local and regional women’s committees whoseoperations will have to be centrally-funded. The union should consider extending thecommittee’s mandate beyond women’s issues, or creating additional committees to addressother emergent interests. While a silent membership in some ways facilitates leadership, italso constitutes a latent threat.Encouraging members to come forward with their issues in a non-threateningenvironment is one way to ward offthat threat and strengthen the union in the long run. Inthe next chapter, the findings of this and the previous study will be compared, and finalconclusions regarding their theoretical significance will be discussed.TABLE4ORIGINOFWOMEN’SRESOLUTIONSBROUGHTFORWARD4.1PeriodOne:YearWomen’sConf.Prov.Substi-#6#11#12MarineEnvironmentTotalExec.tuteServ.1975661977111319813111619831113198512141987111214Total672421212364.2PeriodTwo:YearProv.Subst.#1#4#5#7#10#12#17TotalExec.1989117110199131221151519937323116Total1111253115241A2435.1 Period One:TABLE 5 DISPOSITIONS OF WOMEN’S RESOLUTIONSYear Passed Not Passed Referred Total1975 6 61977 2 1 31981 6 61983 3 31985 3 1 41987 4 1 9 14Total 24 2 10 365.2 Period Two:Year Passed Not Passed Referred Total1989 6 4 101991 8 3 4 151993 9 3 4 16Total 23 6 12 412446.1 Period OneTABLE 6 FEMALE PARTICIPATION IN BCGEUVS. TOTAL PARTICIPATIONYear Table Director Staff Prov. Cony. Master MembersOfficer of Staff Exec. Delegate Barg’g1975 2/4 0/1 5/26 2/22 18% 1/15 35%1977 2/4 1/3 7/26 2/21 23% 2/18 41%1979 1/4 1/3 15/39 3/19 31% 2/18 51%1981 1/4 1/3 16/39 3/20 36% 2/14 51%1983 1/4 1/3 15/41 5/19 37% 2/13 51%1985 1/4 2/3 17/45 3/19 41% 3/13 50%1987 1/4 2/4 21/56 5/19 38% 3/13 52%Ave. - - 34% 17% 32% 15% 47%6.2 Period TwoYear Table Director Staff Prov. Cony. Master MembersOfficer of Staff Exec. Delegate Barg‘g1989 2/4 1/3 22/58 5/19 40% 4/12 N/A1991 1/4 1/2 26/65 6/20 47% 4/13 57%1993 3/6 1/3 27/65 6/16 53% 3/10 62%1994 3/6 1/3 N/A 9/18 N/A N/A N/AAve. - - 40% 36% 47% 31% N/A245TABLE 7 WOMEN’S RESOLUTIONS BROUGHT FORWARDStructural ChangeYear Other Formal Structure Social Change Other Total1975 4 0 1 1 61977 1 1 0 1 31979 0 0 0 0 01981 0 0 1 5 61983 0 0 1 2 31985 2 0 0 2 41987 6 0 8 0 141989 6 0 4 0 101991 6 6 2 1 151993 5 9 2 0 16246TABLE 8 GAINS REALIZED BY CATEGORY BY PERIOD8.1 Governance Improvements:Period 1 2Start Average Start End Average% F on Exec. 9 17 2638* 31*% F Delegates 18 3238 53 46% F Staff 19 34 3842 40*Increased to 50% in 1994 following component elections which made the average 38%.8.2 Structural Change:Period 1 2# Structural Policies! 1218Procedures# Social Change11 18# Other10 1TOTAL 33 27247Chapter 6. Summary and ConclusionsSummary ofResearch Project:This study was motivated by a desire to better understand the role women’scommittees in unions could play in eradicating the persistent inequalities facing women inthe labour market. Women’s committees were instituted to advance women’s interests inrecognition of the increasing proportion of unionized workers who were female.Nevertheless, their successes over the past 20 years have been limited.The objective ofthis research was to determine how and under what circumstancescould women’s committees secure gains for women, given a context where women havehistorically been and continue to be at a power disadvantage relative to men. The researchquestion was explored within the two largest public sector unions in B.C., the B.C.Government and Service Employees’ Union, and the B.C. Teachers’ Federation.Based on literatures from organization theory and industrial relations, and insightsgained from the social movement and feminist literatures, a theoretical model to explaincommittee power was developed (See Figure 1). This model and a number of guidingprinciples that arose from the various literatures guided datacollection. Data were collectedover the entire 20-year histories of these committees via archival research and semi-structured interviews. Interviewees included past and present members of the committees,staff involved with the committees, and members of the leadership groups. The principalstrategies for data analysis were pattern-matching, non-statistical time series analysis, andexplanation building.248Framework of This Chapter:The case studies revealed a number of anomalies that will be explored in thischapter. Some pertained to the theoretical model, others to the differences in the operationof the two unions and their women’s committees over time. Case fmdings will be furtheranalyzed in this chapter by comparing the two cases over time. Subsequently, all thefindings pertaining to the theoretical model will be synthesized and analyzed and a revisedtheoretical model presented. Propositions that define the limits of that model will bedeveloped. Following that, other conclusions arising from the analysis will be discussed.Finally, future directions forthis research will be presented. We willbeginwith a summaryof the two cases and their findings.Conclusions Regarding the Theoretical ModelSummary of Research Findings:From its inception, theBCTF’s committee operated witha greatdealmore autonomythan did the BCGEU committee. The teachers’ committee sought to reform societalstructures thatdisempoweredwomenas a class and to increase female participationinuniongovernance. It was closely tied to the locals through its contact network and enjoyed activeleadership support until 1987. Subsequently, external and internal environmental conditionsdestabilized as a result of legislative changes and a split that developed withinthemembership. As a result, lower priority was given to the committee’s social reform goalsand structural changes were introduced that produced a leadership-run committee with249reduced power and vitality. Nevertheless, substantial gains for women materialized at thebargaining table after 1987.A number of questions emerged from this case analysis. Why was the committeegranted so much autonomy in the early years, and then restrained in period four? If thecommittee really was powerful in period three, why did it notpreventthe destruction ofthecontact network which was believed to be the base of its power? Why did deterioratingenvironmental conditions in period four trigger actions that dissipated the committee’spower, when inprevious periods deteriorating environmental conditions were accompaniedby steady increases in committee power? Why were outcomes achieved seeminglyindependent of committee power in period three and four? Why had the need formembership support been so seriously underestimated in period three?An underlying explanation for these anomalies was that leadership and activistsupport were strong enough in the first three periods to ensure that committee and unionstructures facilitated committee goal achievement. A further factor seems to have been theViewpoint leadership’s ideological commitment to social change which to some extent mayhave coloured its assessment of threat in the internal and external environment. Outcomesand committee power arose from existing structures and committee activity, and lack ofmembership support was not really an issue until the 1988 election. But then it quicklybecame evidentthat committeepowerdepended onbothleadership and membership supportwhich affected structures. The committee’s acceptance of leadership goals after its initialprotest allowed it to retain some leadership favour and regain member support, but not toregain its power or its external focus.250Fromthis analysis, a numberoftentativeconclusions were reached whichclarify theimportance of certain variables in the model and indicate how the variables might beconnected (See Figure 2). These conclusions will be examined after the second case isreviewed.The BCGEU’s women’s committee from its inception was committed to workingthrough union structures to achieve its goals, which were to increase female participationinuniongovernance and reduce the inequalitiesfacing women. These structures were highlycentralized and did not particularly facilitate committee goal achievement except in thebargaining area, which was one area in which the union’s commitment to gains for womenwas apparent. In particular, 1) structures prevented the committee from developing agrassroots base of support and from meeting on a consistent basis until the late 1980’s; 2)forced components to bear the cost of sending representatives to women’s committeemeeting; 3) created more male-dominated than female-dominated components; and 4)segregated the membership by education level and socio-economic status.In the mid-1980’s, feminist activists started agitating for the structural reformsessential to making progress on women’s issues. Despite leadership resistance, throughenergetic and persistent effort the movement spread. Eventually enough support wasgenerated at grassroots levels to achieve major structural reforms which significantlyaffected the level offemale participation in the union. This movement arose largely outsidethe women’s conunittee, but the committee supported it.A number of key questions arose from this case. Why did the committee not tryharder to make the leadership attend to women’s issues in the first period and establish251structures that would facilitate committee goal achievement? Why did the leadership resistmodifying structures that made female activism difficult, when it professed to want morefemale participation in the union? Why was the membership less supportive of women’sissues thanwas the BCTF membership? Was committee power really irrelevant to outcomesachieved for women? What did account for outcomes?Again, an underlying explanation for these anomalies lay in formal and informalstructures in the BCGEU which were resistant to change until overwhelming pressure wasbrought to bear to change them. The formal structures have already been mentioned. Lessformal structures were apparent in the way things were done at the BCGEU. For instance,members and activists to a great extent did what the leadership wanted, acted as teamplayers and put the union’s welfare ahead of all other considerations. On the women’scommittee, appropriate behaviours included letting leadership goals determine committeeactivities, goingthroughproper channels, andnotupsetting themen. Noneofthese informalstructures were conducive to militancy or to developing committee power.Because power was centralized in the top leadership, the leadership could havebrought pressure to bear that would have resulted in quicker structural reform. Sincewomen’s issues were divisive and gains for the female members may have meant fewergains for the male members, the leadership did not want to risk alienating the malemembership by taking decisive action. The structures then ensured that the status quo wasmaintained. Until the feminist activists displayed their determination to fight for changeusing available structures to mobilize widescale membership support, little was achievedexcept as provided for by existing structures. Hence in period one, structures determined252outcomes and bargaining gains occurred.In period two, feminist efforts, member support, and eventually leader supportcombined to produce outcomes. The committee itselfplayed a smallrolebecause committeestructures had not changed and were still not conducive to committee power. Nevertheless,the committee was more active, more cohesive, and more inclined to pursue its own agendathis period, which positively affected conunittee power. It also enjoyed much highermembership support, access to component structures to pursue its goals, and greater supporton the provincial executive because of the progress made in getting more women to chaircomponents.From this analysis a number of tentative conclusions were reached (See Figure 3)that particularly pertained to the impact ofleader goals on structures and outcomes and therole the membership could play in affecting structures, outcomes and committee power inthe face of leader resistance.Both case analyses indicated that the theoretical model could be improved by givinggreater considerationto the factors that appeared to be most significantto committeepower.They also decoupled committee power and outcomes by showing that leadership structuresandmembership goals could affect outcomes independentofcommitteepower. A cross-caseanalysis will now be undertaken to determine what further insights may be gained throughthis research.Cross-Case Analysis:Because ofdata limitationsonly a limitednumberofcomparisons canbemade. Also,the BCTF’s data from the first three periods must be collapsed into one period to make253cross-case comparisons possible. Fortunately, those three periods were similar in thatleadership and committeegoals were aligned, committee structures were favourable, andthecommittee’s commitment, drive, and strategies were comparable.In both cases a natural break occurred in 1987. This is when the leadershipchangeover took place at the BCTF, and when the militancy of feminist activists at theBCGEUbecame apparent. Thepre-1987 period forthe BCTF was like the post-1987periodatthe BCGEU inthatcommitteepower was most apparent. The factthatperiod one covered12 years while period two covered only 7 years will be considered as committee outcomesare compared.So that the types and numbers ofresolutions each unionbrought forward in periodsone and two could be compared, a table similar to Table 7 was developed for the BCTF.A new table was then developed that allowed comparisons to be made between the twocommittees over time (See Table 9). Table 9 addresses three issues: 1) types ofresolutionsbroughtto convention; 2) types ofresolutions passed; 3) female participation achieved. Thethree categories ofresolutions referred to in Tables 9.1 and 9.2 are: 1) changes inpoliciesand procedures (i.e. structures) that are fully implementable internally; 2) social changes,which are externally-directed and are not fully implementable internally; and 3) otherresolutions, which tended to be definitional.Table 9.1 shows thatthe BCTF broughtforward more resolutions inperiod one thanperiod 2 (45 vs. 13), whereas the BCGEU did the opposite (36 vs. 41). Comparing the twounions for period one, the BCTF’s committee brought forward more resolutions in periodone thandid the BCGEU (45 vs. 36), and a muchhigher proportionofthem (62% vs. 31%)254was oriented to social change. In period two, feminist activists at the BCGEU broughtforward more resolutions than did the BCTF (41 vs. 13) and most of them (78%) wereoriented to changing BCGEU structures.Looking atbothperiods together, the BCGEUbroughtforwardmoreresolutionsthandid the BCTF (77 vs. 58). More of the BCGEU’s than the BCTF’s resolutions wereoriented to changing policies and procedures (60% vs. 31%) than were oriented to socialchange (25% vs. 62%). Resolutions oriented to social change were dominant in the BCTFboth periods, whereas structural change resolutions were dominant in the BCGEU in bothperiods.Table 9.2 shows the types ofresolutions passed each period and overall in the twounions. In absolute terms, far fewer resolutions were passed in period one than period two(77 vs. 38). Comparing internally, a lower proportion oftotal resolutions was passed at theBCTF inperiodtwo compared withperiod one (11/13 or 85% vs. 44/45 or 98%). The sametrend was in evidence for the BCGEU, which passed 33/36 (92%) of the resolutionsproposed in period one but only 27/41 (66%) in period two. In both unions, resolutionsaddressedto implementable structural changehadthe lowestsuccess rates, butthis was mostevidentinperiod two. AttheBCGEU, 86% ofthe structural change resolutions were passedin period one while the comparable figure for period two was 56%. At the BCTF, all ofthem were passed in period one while only 75% were passed in period two.Comparing the unions, the BCTF had a higher overall success rate each period thandid the BCGEU (98% in period one and 95% in period two, vs. 92% in period one and78% in period two). It was also more successful getting its structural change resolutions255passed each period than was the BCGEU (100% in period one and 75% in period two vs.86% in period one and 56% in period two.) However it is noteworthy that far morestructural change resolutions were passed at the BCGEU than were passed at the BCTF inperiod two (18 vs. 3). Also, the BCGEU was more successful with its social changeresolutions in period two than was the BCTF (100% vs. 88%) although over both periodsfar fewer of them were introduced at the BCGEU than the BCTF (19 vs. 34).Looking at both periods together, the table shows that the BCGEU got moreresolutions passed (60 vs. 55) but was proportionately less successful overall and on alldimensions except social change resolutions than was the BCTF. The BCGEU was muchless active in this area than was the BCTF.Table 9.3 examines improvements in the proportion of females on staff and inprovincialleadership. Withinthe BCTF, female representationon staffimproved78% (from3/17 to 9/28) in period one while female representation on the provincial leadershipincreased 300% (from 1/11 to 4/11) by the end of the period. It should be noted that whileonly 36% of the provincial leadership was female at the end of period one, it had peakedat 54% in 1984 and 1985. During period two the improvement with respect to staff was53%, while the improvementwithrespect to leadership was 25%. Considering bothperiodstogether, the female presence on staff and in leadership improved 172% (from 3/17 to17/35) and 400% (from 1/11 to 5/11) respectively.Within the BCGEU, in period one female representation on staff and in provincialleadership improved 100% (from5/26to 21/56) and 189% (from2/22to 5/19) respectively.In period two, the improvements were 11 % (from 21/56 to 27/65) and 92% (from 5/19 to2569/18) respectively. Overboth periods, female representation on staffincreased 121 % (from5/26 to 27/65) and on the leadership 456% (from 2/22 to 9/18).By the end of period two, 49% of the BCTF’s staff and 45% of the BCTF’sprovincialleadership was female whilefemales currently constitute 64% ofthe membership.At the BCGEU at the end ofperiod two, 42% of staffand 50% ofthe provincial leadershipis female, while females constitute 62% ofthe membership currently. In chalking up gainsof 121 % with respect to increasing female representationon staffand of456% with respectto leadership, the BCGEU matched the performance of the BCTF, which racked up gainsof 172% and 400% overall.Some general observations can be made from this table:1) There was more activity at the BCTF than the BCGEU in period one, with the reverseholding true in period two. Activity levels then appear to be related to strength of femaleactivism which was highest at the BCTF in period one and at the BCGEU in period two.However, since the BCTF committee was strong for a longer period than was the BCGEU,it is interesting that overall activity levels were higher at the BCGEU.2) The BCTF focusedon social change bothperiods while theBCGEU focused on structuralchange. The explanationfor these different strategies is not explained by the power model.3) There was more resistance to resolutions proposed in period two than period one asevidenced by the lower proportion of resolutions proposed that was passed. This wasparticularly the case at the BCGEU.Two observations arise fromthe lastpoint. First, resistance levels are notnecessarilyrelated to the level of activity, although the BCGEU case suggested the opposite. At the257BCTF less resistance was encountered inperiod one when the committee was more active.Second, resistance levels are not necessarily associated with committee power. Again, theBCTF passed 44 of the 45 (98%) resolutions proposed in period one when it was strong,but only 11 of the 13 (85%) resolutions proposed in period two when it was less so. Incontrast, the BCGEU passed 33 of 36 (92%) of resolutions proposed in period one whenit was weak, and 30 of41(73%) resolutions proposed in period two when it was stronger.The BCTF example makes sense according to the theoretical model, but the BCGEUexample contradicts the model.4) The BCTF’s committee was overall more successful at getting its resolutions passed thanwas the BCGEU, but improvements in female participation in union governance over bothperiods were about the same in both unions. This was despite the fact that the feministactivismapparent atthe BCTF fromthe inceptionofthe committeeuntil the mid-1980’s wasnot a factor in evidence at the BCGEU until the mid-1980’s.The link between activist power and improvements in union governance wascontradictory in the two unions. Ifonly the BCTF experience is considered, then gains inboth areas fell as committeepowerfell, upholdingthe powermodel. Ifthe BCGEU situationis considered by itself, the absence of committee strength and activism in period one stillyielded quite substantial improvements in the proportion of females on staff and in theleadership. Conversely, the increase in the committee’s strength and activism inperiod twoyielded lower gains inboth areas. Gains in period one of 100% and 189% regarding femalerepresentation on staffand in the union leadership were replaced by gains of 11 % and 92%respectively in period two.258These observations implythatactivistgoals andtheiralignmentwithleadership goalsaffect resistance levels and need to receive greater consideration in the theoretical model.Also, responsibility for outcomes cannot be attributed solely to committee and feministactivists’ efforts - union structures can have an independent effect. Furthermore, it seemsirrelevant whether a committee focuses on structural reform or on social reform, althoughthe former seems to lead to higher levels of resistance, if the BCGEU’s experience istypical.Synthesis of Research Findings:The conclusions reached in each case and in the cross-case analysis are summarizedin Figure 4. A number of commonalities are evident in these conclusions. With regard tosources of committee power, both cases agree that union and committee structures,committee characteristics, and membership support are all important. Membership supportmay affect power indirectly by affecting leadership goals, or directly by supportingcommittee goals. The BCTF case showed that the alignment ofcommittee and leader goalswas demonstrably important. This was never really an issue at the BCGEU becausecommitteepowerwas relatively insignificantuntilperiodtwo, and arose fromthe alignmentofcommitteeandmembershipgoals ratherthancommitteeand leadership goals. Factorsthataffected structures and leadership goals were indirect sources of committee power.For example, both cases revealed that the membership could force the leadership tochange its goals as long as sufficient numbers of members were mobilized. In the absenceof such pressure, formal and informal structures appeared to reflect leadership goals.259However, both cases also revealed that perceptions of threat in the internal or externalenvironment coul