Buttons. Posters. News clippings and photographs. These items will help make the Workers’ History Museum’s online Family Leave exhibit every bit as compelling as our existing physical exhibit.

And we need your help.

“We have just a few different types of artifacts,” says Geneviève Burley, who is heading the WHM’s efforts. Among the current collection are photographs, collective agreements from the 1980s, and posters and buttons from the Public Service Alliance of Canada and the Canadian Union of Postal Workers’ actions.

“A lot of our materials are from CUPW and PSAC,” Burley notes. “Their involvement has been amazing, but it would be nice to get some artefacts from different groups, organizations, or unions that fought for parental leave.”

And physical items aren’t all she’s looking for. “Stories would be great too, if people want to share their experience of the strike as well as the impact this had on their family.”

Is there anything special on Burley’s wish list? “We do have some collective agreements, but it would be really interesting to get a few more and see how the language changed over the years, as well as across different unions.”

The WHM’s Family Leave exhibit has already been shared with audiences across the province and Gatineau, and our documentary A Struggle to Remember: Fighting for Our Families has sold over 1000 copies.

With our online exhibit, this important chapter in Canadian workers’ history will be accessible to even more people. You can help us by sharing your artifacts and mementos. Please email your contact details, with description or an attached image of the artifacts and/or archival material, to Geneviève Burley and Arthur Carkner.

You will be notified if your artifact and/or archival material will be used for the exhibit. The WHM will retain the right to reproduce images, but the original artifact and/or archival material will remain the property of the individual, unless donated.

So far, Burley’s favourite artefact in the collection is a newspaper clipping from the 1980s. Fading now, it shows a woman being interviewed about her experience in the strike. “It’s interesting to see how a story gets into the media and how, especially in a time like now, when there is so much union busting, how people were behind the union.” This in itself is worth preserving.

By Cydney Foote, Chair Communications/Volunteer Coordinator