This thesis explores the emergence and initial evolution of the British Columbia Nurses Union from 1976 to 1992. The thesis argues that class and gender framed interrelated processes of organizational change, labour action, and political consciousness for British Columbia’s nurses. These changes took place in the context of a historical struggle between professionalism and trade unionism in nursing, and during a turbulent and transformative era for western capitalism and the role of the capitalist state in the 1970s and 1980s. This thesis argues that class, as a socioeconomic relationship and as lived experience, was the driving force behind organizational, economic, and political change in the nursing occupation. This central assertion stands in sharp contrast to claims that class has ceased to be of socioeconomic or political importance in postindustrial, capitalist society.
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