• This is not charity: the masculine work of strike relief

      Millar, Grace (Oxford Academic, 2016-08-04)
      On March 14 1951, the relief committee of the Auckland branch of the New Zealand Waterside Workers’ union voted to exclude women from the union’s relief depot. This article examines the decisions of the Auckland relief committee during a lock-out that lasted from January to June 1951. The men organizing relief understood the relationship between class, gender and welfare perpetuated by mainstream welfare organizations and they were determined not to replicate it. Excluding women was part of their effort to reconstruct the work of welfare as masculine work. Union relief structures are very much of their time; they are created as a result of an industrial conflict and usually dismantled when it ends. Because of their transient nature, they are particularly revealing about the contours of gender, class, work and welfare in a particular time and place. There is also potential for research to inform the historiography of relief. In working-class cultures where it is a man’s role to earn money and a woman’s role to manage that money, union relief during strikes and lock-outs affects and redefines both these roles. Exploring how workers have navigated these situations deepens our understanding of working-class communities.