In my early 20s, I worked at a meatpacking facility in British Columbia. This experience marked the beginning of my interests in labour and the economics of the global meat industry. I was most taken by the way the skilled butchers challenged my notions of what factory labour should look like. I began an extensive study of British Columbia's place within the the global meatpacking economy and the particular articulation of a changing industrial labour process in BC plants.
I learned that workers in BC had staved off the worst aspects of the industrial transformation that swept Canadian and American meatpacking in the 1970s, and BC workers maintained a strong skilled craft identity. I also learned that the success of male butchers came at the expense of new women workers in the plants who took on the worst aspects of mechanization and the division of the labour process in processing departments like sausage and ham making.
Tim Paulson, "From 'Knife Men' to 'Streamlining with Curves': Structure, Skill, and Gender in British Columbia's Meatpacking Industry," BC Studies 193 (Spring 2017).
Oral history interviews now held in the University of Victoria Library Special Collections (Call Number TS1970 P38 20100).