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WIGS is an interdisciplinary research group affiliated with the School of Labour Studies at McMaster University.

We bring a social science perspective to issues of direct concern to paid and unpaid workers, and the institutions representing their interests. We have established links with researchers in the trade union community and at universities in a number of countries. WIGS facilitates research, holds regular seminars, and plans occasional conferences. We can facilitate trade unionists, researchers, faculty and graduate students wishing to visit McMaster and participate in our activities.

Current Research

photo of Wayne Lewchuk

Wayne Lewchuk

(Labour Studies), B.A., M.A. (Toronto), Ph.D. (Cambridge)


Quality of Life at Work

Researchers in this area are involved in both historical studies on health and safety issues and analysis of the impact of work reorganization on the quality of life at work. Robert Storey and Wayne Lewchuk have recently completed a comprehensive historical study of asbestos use at the Bendix Brake plant in Windsor. Donna Baines is focusing on the impact of work reorganization in the public sector and in particular amongst social workers. Wayne Lewchuk is working with the CAW on a major workplace study of how work reorganization affects the work life of automobile workers. This project received substantial new funding in the fall of 1999 from the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board. The original work will be extended to include an examination of how work organization affects blood pressure and hypertension.



Don Wells is currently working on a number of projects related to union responses to globalization. As well as his work on how Canadian unions are establishing links with unions in other countries, he is helping to coordinate an international network of scholars studying the impact of globalization on autoworkers and their unions. The International Research Network on Autowork in the Americas (IRNAA) brings together researchers from Canada, Mexico and the United States and is a joint project of McMaster University, Wayne State University and the University of Puebla. It examines a wide range of issues related to autowork with a special emphasis on how modularity is reshaping the industry.


photo of Donald Wells

Donald Wells

Professor Emeritus

Downloadable Papers

Research Papers:

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