York Professor Emerita Linda Briskin (MA ’77, PhD ’86) recently received the Sefton Award for Contributions to Labour Relations.
The award is meant to honour individuals who have made a significant contribution to the field of labour relations and human rights. It is in memory of Larry Sefton (1917-1973), who began his career in the labour movement on the picket line in Kirkland Lake, Ont., during the Second World War gold miners’ strike. He later led the 1946 Stelco strike, held office in the United Steelworkers of America and became the director of District 6.
“It has been a privilege to engage in scholarly work as a union and feminist activist. And when my research has helped to support the struggles and organizing of union women, it has been deeply rewarding,” said Briskin in her acceptance speech. She is a professor in the Department of Social Science and the School of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies in the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies.
“My involvement in the nascent women’s movement in Montreal in the 1960s and the Quebec common front strike in 1972 during my first year of teaching high school, demonstrated unequivocally the power of collective action and solidarity. These two experiences shaped my life – not only my union and feminist activism but also the direction of my scholarship,” she said.
Briskin thanked social justice activists “for their persistence, courage and dedication” particularly at a time when rights are facing constant attack, especially those of workers and unions. She encouraged them to protect the gains made by women and provide support to women of colour, older women, young women, native women, women with a disability, and lesbian and transgendered women.
Briskin received the award at a ceremony following the Annual Sefton Memorial Lecture at the University of Toronto March 18.