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  • FAST FOOD ALIENATION: SERVICE WORK AND UNIONISM IN BRITISH COLUMBIA, 1968-1 998

    by

    Jeremy Strachan Mil loy B.A., Trent University, 2005

    THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF

    MASTER OF ARTS

    ln the History Department

    @ Jeremy Milloy 2007

    SIMON FRASER UNIVERSITY

    Fall 2007

    All rights reserved. This work may not be reproduced in whole or in part, by photocopy

    or other means, without permission of the author.

  • Last revision: Spring 09

    Declaration of Partial Copyright Licence The author, whose copyright is declared on the title page of this work, has granted to Simon Fraser University the right to lend this thesis, project or extended essay to users of the Simon Fraser University Library, and to make partial or single copies only for such users or in response to a request from the library of any other university, or other educational institution, on its own behalf or for one of its users.

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    Simon Fraser University Library Burnaby, BC, Canada

  • STATEMENT OF ETHICS APPROVAL

    The author, whose name appears on the title page of this work, has obtained, for the research described in this work, either:

    (a) Human research ethics approval from the Simon Fraser University Office of Research Ethics,

    or

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    or has conducted the research

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    A copy of the approval letter has been filed at the Theses Office of the University Library at the time of submission of this thesis or project.

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    Simon Fraser University Burnaby, BC, Canada

    Last update: Spring 2010

  • ABSTRACT

    Since Wor ld Wor l l , serv ice work hos become the moior employment

    sector in North Americo. One of the most recognizoble forms i t tqkes is in the

    fost food industry, o mult i-bi l l ion dol lor business with outlets ol l over the globe.

    Lit t le hos been writ ten obout the history of this work, centrol to the functioning

    of the g lobol economy ond o key port of the move f rom on industr io l economy

    to o consumer one. This move hos chonged work drost icol ly ond ro l led bock

    the l imited borgoin of postwor Fordism.

    This thesis historicizes fost food work by exomining BC's White Spot

    choin, which unl ike o lmost ony other hos been unionized for over three

    decodes. Drowing on union records ond orol interviews, i t onolyzes fost food

    unionism, evoluotes orgonizing in the sector, ond drows out workploce

    dynomics qnd processes; orguing thot lobour proct ices in th is sector hove been

    cruciol in moking work more exploitot ive.

    Keywords: fast food; labour history; Fordism; service work; unions

    Subject Terms: Fast Food Restaurants - Canada; Labour Unions -

    Restaurant Employees - Canada - 2}th Century

    i l l

  • To Soroh, for everything

    iv

  • ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

    I hod heqrd q lot of greot th ings qbout Mqrk Leier before I come to SFU,

    but he st i l l monoged to exceed my expectot ions. For his knowledge,

    encourogement , r igor , good humor , ond cooch ing , lom t ru ly g ro te fu l . lom

    olso thonkfu l for the chol lenges ond support of fered by El ise Chenier , ond to

    Stephen McBr ide for being q percept ive ond engoged externol exqminer.

    My reseorch wos oided enormously by the stoff ot UBC's Rore Books

    onds Specio l Col lect ions, whi le my progress through the progrom wos enobled

    ond encourqged by the stoff ot SFU's History Deportment. I must olso thonk

    those workers qnd trode unionists who grociously took t ime for on interview.

    Support , encourogement, loughter , ond inte l lectuol s t imulot ion were

    provided by my fr iends, both ot SFU qnd outside. Thonk you. Thonk you to my

    fomi ly , John, Mol ly , Clore, Br idget , ond M-J, whose love qnd encourogement

    hove susto ined me qnd whose exomples hove inspi red me. This work is o lso in

    memory of my mother, Cotherine.

    Finol ly, this work is dedicoted to Soroh, with boundless groti tude for

    I om lucky ond proud you shore youryour love in ol l i ts mony monifestqt ions.

    l i fe with me, ond I with you.

  • Approvol Abstroct Dedicotion Acknowledgements

    Chopter 1: Introduction: Jobs Of lhe Fulure

    Chopter 2: Serving, Sweoting, Smiling ond Selling: Work of White Spof ond

    KFC

    Toble Of Contents

    Chopte r 3: " l Didn't Even Know We Hod A Union"

    Chopter 4: "l Guess This Kindo Pufs Sguomish On fhe Mop

    Iokes On McDonolds

    Chopfer 5: Conclusion : Everyone's Jobs

    Bibl iogrophy

    Poge

    ": A Rebuih Union 65

    87

    95

    i i i i i iv Y

    r9

    47

    vi

  • 1

    Chapter 1

    Introduction: “Jobs Of The Future”

    Look at the past serving the future. The men sitting at the table in the

    photograph served by one embodiment of their industry’s history. Confident

    and relaxed in expensive suits, they can enjoy the service of the bearded

    prospector as an amusing throwback to the old days of Canadian restaurants.

    The days when food was strictly a necessary proposition, something sold to

    camp workers in mining towns, factory workers in the big cities, or in Chinese

    restaurants dotting the small towns from coast to coast. The days of running

  • 2

    hardscrabble, subsistence businesses are over. They can laugh because they

    have seen the future of their trade, the future of the Canadian economy, and

    the future looks very different.1

    Harvey Smith, the youthful, crew-cut man in the centre, is the president

    of the Canadian Restaurant Association. Bonanza ’65, the trade show he put

    together, drew over 20,000 delegates to Exhibition Park in Toronto to meet,

    greet, and be wowed by 500 displays erected by 275 firms. Even better, it’s

    getting front page coverage in the Globe and Mail’s business section, a must

    read for Canada’s elite, above the fold next to articles on the big players in

    pulp, airlines, and auto manufacturing. His comments to the Globe reporter are

    fitting for a man, and an industry, in a confident, expansive mood.

    Smith and the man to his right in the picture, Arthur Somerville, asserted

    that restaurants would be one of Canada’s leading employment engines over

    the next two decades, and that the industry was already of such importance

    that its fundamentals needed to be taught at the university level. The biggest

    challenge facing this rosy future was the ability to attract the right workers.

    Smith said better people needed to be attracted with higher wages and better

    technology. Somerville said of the importance of workers, “in the past, many

    1 Roger Newman, “Restaurant Industry Forseen As Mainstay For Jobs Of Future,” Globe and Mail, 23 March 1965. The headline also is the source for this chapter’s title.

  • 3

    establishments have just muddled through, but you can no longer be in the

    restaurant business just because you make the best hamburgers in the world.”2

    Smith and