In most countries, strike actions were quickly made illegal, as factory … A strike usually takes place in response to employee grievances. Radicalization of workers was also limited, with few individuals organizing in workplaces and few protests held against employers. Farmers, particularly in Ontario and the Prairie provinces, became involved in the labour revolt because of conscription. Conscription further exasperated the divide between urban and rural Canadians, which had been growing prior to the outbreak of war. There were also cases of essentially political strikes. • 1912–1914 – Great Coal Strike on Vancouver Island, aka Vancouver Island War - Joseph Mairs martyred - memorial cairn in Ladysmith, BC The growing power of workers, who were crucial to the war effort, allowed the unions to take bolder anti-war stances, as well as to seek a better position vis-à-vis their employers.  This day would come to be called “Bloody Saturday”, its iconic image that of a lone burning streetcar from that day. Strikes, Lockouts And Picketing. As the strike dragged on, the federal government intervened and a number of strike leaders were arrested in the early morning of 19 June. These organizational weaknesses opened Canadian labour to outside influence, particularly from American-based international unions, which led to a division between craft and industrial unions. Interesting observations about … This fear turned out to be unfounded, as Douglas McCalla argues, since women made up only a small percentage of the total munitions industry workers.. Finnish-, Ukrainian-, and Russian-language newspapers and publications were banned for their perceived connection to the communist uprisings in each of these countries, and the state expanded its power of censorship, granted in the early stages of the war by the War Measures Act. TORONTO, Nov 20 1997 (IPS) - Canadian postal workers, echoing the concerns of labour unions in the United States, have gone on strike over government demands for more “flexibility” in job arrangements. Strikes arise for a number of reasons, though principally in response to economic conditions (defined as an economic strike and meant to improve wages and benefits) or labour practices (intended to improve work conditions). When pay becomes too low to bear, options exist in the form of a)negotiating with a boss and/or working overtime, b) finding a new job that pays better, or c) sucking it up. The number of strikes more than doubled, from eleven in 1917 to twenty-seven in 1918, and the number of days occupied by wartime strikes soared from 12,549 to 84,121. Before the outbreak of the First World War, economic depression had shaken the Canadian economy, leading to rampant unemployment. Labour Relations Rights (No Right to Bargain Collectively and/or No Right to Strike) 5.3 Securing Essential Services by Imposing Limitations on the Right to Strike (Controlled Strike Model) 5.3.1 Federal Public Service Labour Relations Act 5.3.2 Canada Labour Code 5.4 General Observations on the Controlled or Designated Strike Model This would change during the course of the war. The foundations of our understanding of 1919 must be built on national and international conjunctures.” Despite the regional bias of the historiography identified by Kealey, there were changes that had a national effect on labour.  Whatever the catalyst for this decline, the war negatively affected labour in Canada. Gregory S. Kealey argues that “the revolt was national in character and that its seeds were not rooted in any unique regional fermentation. Next the 11,000 member labour umbrella group declared it was in favour of a general strike.  Radicalization was thus also limited, but the global war sent tremors throughout Canadian labour. is licensed under: CC by-NC-ND 3.0 Germany - Attribution, Non-commercial, No Derivative Works.  This particular outbreak of protests followed the harassment of men who had received exemptions from conscription. Canada Rail Strike Ends as CN Rail, Union Get Tentative Deal By . ): Canada and the First World War. Street, Kori: Patriotic, Not Permanent. A famous labour law professor told me once that sometimes you write decisions or public commission reports with an eye to the future. Many men from the traditional ranks of organised skilled labour rushed to the colours. In Canada, going on strike was a crime for some trade unionists until 1892. July 5, 2010 - A tentative resolution of the Vale strike in Sudbury is announced. As a result, on the eve of the First World War, Canadian labour – i.e., workers organised into unions to achieve common goals – was mostly organised on a small scale, if at all. The ongoing economic depression initially hampered any strong, organized opposition to the war or the Borden government. This started a “feminization” of clerical work that continued into the post-war years, something that did not occur in industrial occupations. In addition, large numbers of returning Canadian soldiers were involved in the strike, with some on the side of the protestors, others entering the new police force. We are part of the Employment and Social Development Canada portfolio. There is also protection for medical, dental, disability, life and other insurance schemes. Women were still in subordinate to men in unions and many separate ethnic and racial unions were organized. Library and Archives Canada, Orders in Council 19 September 1918 to 28 September 1918 (RG2), 2168E, v. 955, P.C.  This did not prevent many labour representatives from running in the election on anti-conscription platforms, and there were many demands to conscript wealth along with young men. ): The Workers’ Revolt in Canada 1917-1925, Toronto 1998, p. 215. 1743, issued on 11 July 1918, outlawed strikes and lockouts, while assuring the right of workers to organize. 1949 – Aggregate union membership in Canada surpasses one million. Labor > Strikes: Countries Compared Map. The TLC’s affiliation with the American Federation of Labor (AFL) highlights the influence of American business unionism in pre-war Canada: American money financed the expansion of TLC unions.  There was no national unity among labour unions, nor among the working class more generally. A Military and Political History, Toronto 1981, p. 57. Desmond Morton argues that the economic downturn was caused by overproduction, dismissing the common explanation of insufficient manufacturing ability. Much like the rest of the population, Canadian labour largely supported the war. Borden, Mackenzie King, and Canada’s World War, Toronto 2012, p. 117. Drache, Daniel: The Formation and Fragmentation of the Canadian Working Class. Kealey, Gregory S.: 1919. Requests for collective bargaining by unions were rejected throughout the country, and especially in Manitoba. At the end of 1915, membership in Canada was at 140,000, and by 1916, had marginally increased to 160,000. Violence broke out when the crowd threw bottles and snowballs at the troops, mostly conscripts themselves, who had been sent to restore order on 1 April 1918. The Bolshevik revolution in October 1917 and the Russian exit from the war in March 1918 led the Borden government to introduce more draconian laws against organized labour.  Increased employment, especially of unskilled workers and women, triggered fears in craft unions of labour dilution: If greater numbers of non-skilled workers entered the workforce, the craft unions might lose their influence in labour unions. On October 14, 1976 over a million workers walked off the job across Canada as part of a General Strike called by the Canadian Labour Congress to protest the federal government’s plans to impose wage and price control legislation – a broken campaign promise and betrayal of workers by the Trudeau Liberal government. "Timeline of labour issues and events in Canada", Learn how and when to remove this template message, Royal Commission on the Relations of Labour and Capital, 2009 City of Toronto inside and outside workers strike, Bill 115 'Putting Students First Act 2012', Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada, "Vancouver Island War", Knowledge Network preview/summary video, Canada's Sweetheart: The Saga of Hal C. Banks - NFB - Collection, "Fighting the good fight: Homer Seguin tells his story", "1973 – 1982: CUPE Becomes a Seasoned Political Force", "Merger of Retail Clerks, Meat Cutters Created Union Exceeding 1.2 Million", "Vale reaches deal with workers at Sudbury nickel mine", https://www.thecoast.ca/RealityBites/archives/transit-strike/, Records of Mayworks labour festival are held by Simon Fraser University's Special Collections and Rare Books, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Timeline_of_labour_issues_and_events_in_Canada&oldid=977718064, Articles with dead external links from July 2018, Articles with permanently dead external links, Articles needing additional references from October 2010, All articles needing additional references, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, 1900 – Parliament passes the Conciliation Act and establishes the federal, 1912–1914 – Great Coal Strike on Vancouver Island, aka, 1914 – The Workmen's Compensation Act, the first social insurance legislation in Canadian history, was adopted by the, 1919 - Western Labour Conference in Calgary leads to creation of, 1924 - An informal coalition of progressive, 1925 - One coal miner was killed and many injured during a protest as a result of a major strike at the, 1939 - Canada Declares war on Germany (1939), August 1940 – The first compulsory national. Morton, Desmond: Canada and War. ): Canadian Labour History. The four-day strike is broken by the use of scabs and militia. Some historians have connected to the popular resistance to conscription to the overall labour revolt. The special constables followed, beating protestors with their batons. While by the war’s end, almost 37 percent of the Canadian Expeditionary Force had listed their occupations as “industrial”, workers at home started to strike, partly in protest of the war. Street, Patriotic, Not Permanent 2012, p. 150. Heron, Craig: The Canadian Labour Movement. Labour; Trades and Labour Congress; Conscription; Winnipeg General Strike, Labour Movements, Trade Unions and Strikes (Canada), World War I veterans demonstrating at City Hall Winnipeg, Revolt against Conscription and Division in Canada. Labour Strike. It claimed to speak for labour in Canada, when in fact few workers were organised into unions and not represented by the TLC. The Canadian Government and the Suppression of the 1918 Quebec Easter Riots, in: Canadian Historical Review 89/4 (2008), pp. 29-12-1876 Grand Trunk Railway workers in eastern Ontario go on strike in support of fired co-workers. In response to conscription and a lack of workers’ rights, labour engaged in a revolt against employers, the war, and the federal government. by Ute Daniel, Peter Gatrell, Oliver Janz, Heather Jones, Jennifer Keene, Alan Kramer, and Bill Nasson, issued by Freie Universität Berlin, Berlin 2018-06-28. On 15 May 1919, between 25,000 and 30,000 workers left their workplaces at eleven o’clock in the morning. Many of the strike leaders were sentenced to prison terms as the federal government feared a Bolshevik uprising. A union strike happens when the union and management are unable to negotiate to meet one another’s needs. Marginal note: Strike notice 87.2 (1) Unless a lockout not prohibited by this Part has occurred, a trade union must give notice to the employer, at least seventy-two hours in advance, indicating the date on which a strike will occur, and must provide a copy of the notice to the Minister.. Transit workers were denied salary or compensation increases, due to a reported $3M deficit. This decision prompted anger and distrust towards the government among the labour ranks; there was, however, very little they could do to strike at traditional power bases.  These numbers were not maintained in the post-war years, however. In the Prairie provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta, the labour revolt was more radical and socialist-inflected. Women and Girls of Canada and Newfoundland during the First World War, Vancouver 2012, p. 150. The exact impact of the war on women in the workforce is still debated. There is some truth to this, but other factors more strongly motivated the protestors. International Encyclopedia of the First World War, ed. Many in its ranks feared it was the first step to conscription.  The founding of the OBU contributed to the events that led to the Winnipeg General strike in spring 1919. By 1919, the number of strikes rose to 427 with 150,000 workers, and by 1920, the number had reached 457. Strikes became common during the Industrial Revolution, when mass labor became important in factories and mines. It has been estimated 350,000 wage-earners struck from 1917-1920. This included women, workers from other countries, and ethnic minorities.  The local and provincial governments did little to try to end the strike, but feared that the Bolsheviks had wormed their way into the organizations.  Instead, Sangster contends, women largely replaced men in clerical work, a trend that had begun before the war. That election also saw numerous labour politicians elected to office: Joseph Shaw (1883-1944) and William Irvine (1885-1962) won as Labour candidates in Calgary, J. S. Woodsworth (1874-1942) in Winnipeg. As the war progressed, conscription became a necessity after the high casualties Canada suffered at Vimy Ridge, Hill 70, and Passchendaele.  The violence of the battlefields, thought to be far away, had reached Canada. Other accounts allege that shots were fired from the crowd or from other concealed positions. Despite this, the TLC was unofficially recognized by the federal government as representing labour in Canada. Growing discontent with government repression and perceived greed on the part of employers led to one of the most violent and divisive labour strikes in Canadian history. Brown, Robert Craig / Cook, Ramsay: Canada 1896-1921.  Farmers had initially been promised exemption from conscription, and when this protection was removed, they organised against conscription. The Unionist party, made up of Conservatives and pro-conscription Liberals, represented conscription, while the opposition Liberals were against it. One example is the death of Albert “Ginger” Goodwin (1887-1918), a labour leader who was killed on 27 July 1918 while evading conscription in the hills of British Columbia. Canada’s construction industry is grappling with labor trouble this spring, with strikes in Ontario and Prince Edward Island and unusually protracted contract negotiations.  It focused on skilled trades; hence the name craft unions.  There was an additional ban on “any association, organization, society or corporation, one of those purposes or professed purposes is to bring about any government, political, social, industrial, or economic change within Canada”. Between the arrests of the strike leaders and the violence, support was waning, and by 25 June, the strike was called off. Heron, The Workers’ Revolt 1998 , p. 183. The TLC had opposed all of these elements. Expanding the Circle of Resistance, in: Heron, Craig (ed. Conscription had brought different sections of labour into Canadian politics, forever changing the political landscape. 2384, September 1918. Remember Kirkland Lake: The Gold Miners' Strike of 1941–42 tells the story of one of the most important industrial disputes in Canadian labour history. For the majority of those employed, however, protesting a job is unthinkable, not to mention a fireable offense. The Alberta Labour Relations Board has ruled that health-care workers who walked off the job Monday were engaged in an illegal strike. Mitchell, Tom / Naylor, James: The Prairies. The prevailing opinion amongst contemporary labour leaders and later historians is that the war severely weakened labour’s cause in the immediate post-war years after minor gains during the war. We fought for and won many of the rights enjoyed by all workers today – minimum wages, overtime pay, workplace safety standards, maternity and parental leave, vacation pay, and protection from discrimination and harassment. Essays in Honour of Robert Craig Brown, Toronto 2005, p. 169. In May 1917, after returning from France and seeing the personal toll the war was taking on Canadian soldiers, whom he had visited in hospital, Prime Minister Borden reversed his promise not to enact conscription. So is how union workers think when they want to get their points across. The two most frequently used are mediation (which is covered in Chapter Eight of this guide) and strikes or lockouts. CM Dixon/Print Collector/Getty Images Major Work Stoppages in Canada (Labour Program Canada). In 1919 many of the workers unions came together in Calgary to form One Big Union or the OBU. Canadian labour’s position at the beginning of the First World War was weak in relation to employers. Before the war, unions were present throughout the country, but exercised only limited power. 503-540. Naylor, James: Southern Ontario. They are affected by a number of factors, including labour organizations, collective bargaining, labour market, government policy, the structure of the economy, labour law and technological change. The economic depression that racked the country in 1914 did not end until 1916, as the war orders helped to bolster the Canadian economy. Rioting broke out, resulting in two deaths, numerous injuries, and dozens of arrests. February 4, 2012 - in Halifax, Amalgamated Transit Union went on strike, crippling the city's public transportation until March 14, 2012. , There was a large amount of strikes during the war and in its immediate aftermath. Under such conditions, strikes occurred, but rarely succeeded in achieving workers’ goals. The increasing radicalization of labour led to the violent Winnipeg General Strike in June 1919. Non-skilled women entering the workforce were a large concern, as they threatened the traditionally male-dominated industrial occupations that allowed unions to maintain their power within Canadian labour. 2384, issued on 25 September 1918, declared several political groups and unions illegal, including the International Workers of the World (IWW), the Russian Social Democratic Party, the Russian Revolutionary Group, the Russian Social Revolutionists, the Russian Workers Union, the Ukrainian Revolutionary Group, the Ukrainian Social Democratic Party, the Social Democratic Party, the Social Labour Party, the Group of Social Democrats of Bolsheviki, the Group of Social Democrats of Anarchists, the Workers International Industrial Union, the Chinese Nationalist League, and the Chinese Labour Association. Strikes typically only impact union members, so non-members are not technically on strike, however, some non-union employees who will eventually be allowed to join the union might also part take so as to avoid any situations in the future. A Nation Transformed, Toronto 1974, p. 242.  This position is supported by Kori Street, who demonstrates that over 50 percent of employed women in 1917 worked as clerks. The Labour Program is responsible for protecting the rights and well-being of both workers and employers in federally regulated workplaces. The 1919 Winnipeg General Strike was the culmination of years of war, anger, repression, and loss. Borden had first recommended a voluntary information-gathering scheme, where men submitted information about themselves to allow the government to gauge the human resources available for the Canadian war effort. The most radical elements of the labour revolt did not begin until after the war had ended. Kealey, State Repression of Labour 1992, p. 314. This text ): The Workers’ Revolt in Canada 1917-1925, Toronto 1998, p. 270.  The OBU started in Western Canada when its members split from the TLC in March 1919 at conference in Calgary, Alberta. By 1922, there were 100,000 fewer union members than in 1919. The most radical elements of the labour revolt did not begin until after the war had ended. 1949 - Controversial American labour unionist, 1965 – Wildcat postal strike, leading to the extension of collective bargaining rights to the majority of the public service, 1968 - Air Canada agents in British Columbia begin, 1986 - Six-month-long strike at the Gainers meatpacking plant in Edmonton, 1998 - Teenagers Jennifer Wiebe and Tessa Lowinger successfully unionize a, September 19, 2008 - A fire destroys the historic. Many Ontario workers benefitted from the increase in war production, and were therefore less radical. ): The Workers’ Revolt in Canada 1917-1925, Toronto 1998, p. 47. 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