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labour strikes in canada

): Canada and the First World War. However, some sectors of labour were against war, and called for general strikes to cripple the country and prevent its entry into the conflict. The Canada Labour Code (Part I–Industrial Relations) recognizes that employees can lawfully engage in a strike against employers, and employers can lawfully lock out their employees in an effort to compel or persuade "the other side" to agree to terms and conditions of employment, provided they do so in accordance with the provisions of the Code. A famous labour law professor told me once that sometimes you write decisions or public commission reports with an eye to the future. An Illustrated History of the Canadian Labour Movement, Montreal et al. There is also protection for medical, dental, disability, life and other insurance schemes. In response to conscription and a lack of workers’ rights, labour engaged in a revolt against employers, the war, and the federal government. [28] This particular outbreak of protests followed the harassment of men who had received exemptions from conscription. Royal Northwest Mounted Police (RNMP) officers on horseback used batons and gunfire to disperse the crowd. Thus, while labour’s power increased during the war, government suppression prevented major changes from being consolidated, and so the gains made during the war years were effectively lost for decades to come. That led to a new round of violence, which broke out on 21 June when strikers defied the ban on parades and gathered at the intersection of Portage and Main in downtown Winnipeg. So is how union workers think when they want to get their points across. In 1919 many of the workers unions came together in Calgary to form One Big Union or the OBU. [16] In southern Ontario, the number of days lost in strikes grew from 25,000 in 1915, to 77,000 in 1916, to over 120,000 in 1918.[17]. Sandrine Rastello. The ongoing economic depression initially hampered any strong, organized opposition to the war or the Borden government. 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. Interesting observations about … [19] The founding of the OBU contributed to the events that led to the Winnipeg General strike in spring 1919. Essays in Honour of Robert Craig Brown, Toronto 2005, p. 143. This included women, workers from other countries, and ethnic minorities. The economic depression that racked the country in 1914 did not end until 1916, as the war orders helped to bolster the Canadian economy. 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. 29-12-1876 Grand Trunk Railway workers in eastern Ontario go on strike in support of fired co-workers. Many Ontario workers benefitted from the increase in war production, and were therefore less radical. While farmers were initially praised by the government and elites as contributing to the war effort, as inflation rose from 1916, some in the cities looked for the cause. Much like the rest of the population, Canadian labour largely supported the war. The increasing radicalization of labour led to the violent Winnipeg General Strike in June 1919. With wide public support in the province, the producers win union recognition. The four-day strike is broken by the use of scabs and militia. 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. Naylor, James: Southern Ontario. • 1912–1914 – Great Coal Strike on Vancouver Island, aka Vancouver Island War - Joseph Mairs martyred - memorial cairn in Ladysmith, BC A Military and Political History, Toronto 1981, p. 57. Labour reacted to the outbreak of war with enthusiasm, like the rest of Canada. Both the political elite and labour leaders called for some form of conscription of wealth. As the strike dragged on, the federal government intervened and a number of strike leaders were arrested in the early morning of 19 June. Selected Readings, Toronto 1994, p. 25. The issue of farm labour and conscription is not often presented as being a concern in Quebec; however, Jatinder Mann argues that concerns over maintaining farm labour were a factor in French-Canadian opposition to conscription, in addition to not having an emotional connection to the British Empire. Given its commitment to socialist principles, the OBU also favoured including as many people as possible. There is no consensus as to when the Canadian labour revolt began. At the end of 1915, membership in Canada was at 140,000, and by 1916, had marginally increased to 160,000. The Unionist party, made up of Conservatives and pro-conscription Liberals, represented conscription, while the opposition Liberals were against it. Solidarity and Fragmentation, in: Heron, Craig (ed. Attesting to labour’s weakness and in contrast to most other belligerent countries, the federal government under Prime Minister Robert Borden (1854-1937) did not seek the opinion of labour leaders. A: Section 155 of the Labour Relations Code protects pension rights and benefits during a strike or lockout. ): Canadian Labour History: Selected Readings, Toronto 1994, p. 197. International Encyclopedia of the First World War, ed. By 1919, 378,000 workers had unionized. In most countries, strike actions were quickly made illegal, as factory … Ian McKay links conscription opposition to labour by stating that the 1918 Easter anti-conscription riots in Quebec City took place in the working-class suburbs and was therefore part of the political left’s protest efforts. "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. ): The Workers’ Revolt in Canada 1917-1925, Toronto 1998, p. 47. [34] 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. ... Today, nearly 30 years later, the Constitutional right to strike came to Canada carried on the sails of Justice Dickson’s dissent. A one-day general strike in British Columbia on 1 June 1987 protested against the proposed changes to British Columbia labour laws in bills 19 and 20. This comes after breakdowns in negotiations over the postal worker’s collective agreement that dictates working conditions. Canada post is on strike. Heron, Canadian Labour Movement 2012, p. 47. The Trades and Labour Congress (TLC) was the strongest labour group in Canada in the pre-war period, but it was not a national organization. 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. Under such conditions, strikes occurred, but rarely succeeded in achieving workers’ goals. This started a “feminization” of clerical work that continued into the post-war years, something that did not occur in industrial occupations. It became the New Democratic Party in 1961, and continues to represent the labour position on provincial and federal levels. Kealey, Gregory S.: State Repression of Labour and the Left in Canada, 1914-20. This strike united the Canadian labour movement around the demand for collective bargaining legislation, which it won in 1944 and which remains central to our industrial relations system. Essays in Honour of Robert Craig Brown, Toronto 2005, p. 169. 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. [18] The OBU started in Western Canada when its members split from the TLC in March 1919 at conference in Calgary, Alberta. Worker shortages struck rural farmers first, as higher wages at munitions factories and war service drew more people to the cities. Strikes, Lockouts And Picketing. In 1917, munitions workers made up less than 20 percent of total women workers. Drache, Daniel: The Formation and Fragmentation of the Canadian Working Class. The special constables followed, beating protestors with their batons. 1949 – Aggregate union membership in Canada surpasses one million. July 5, 2010 - A tentative resolution of the Vale strike in Sudbury is announced. Paul Weinberg. A Short History, Toronto 2012, pp. Sangster, Joan: Mobilizing Women for War in: Mackenzie, David (ed. Cook, Tim: Warlords. / Bright, David (eds. [13] These numbers were not maintained in the post-war years, however. Canadian labour’s position at the beginning of the First World War was weak in relation to employers. Craig Heron concludes that more women and ethnic minorities joined unions, but complete union solidarity was still lacking. ): The Workers’ Revolt in Canada 1917-1925, Toronto 1998, p. 215. Before the outbreak of the First World War, economic depression had shaken the Canadian economy, leading to rampant unemployment. Anti-conscription protests and resistance were part of the larger labour revolt against the war from mid-1917 onward. 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. Morton, Desmond: Canada and War. It began in earnest when metal trades and building workers walked off the job in early May, demanding wage increases and the right to collective bargaining. Major Work Stoppages in Canada (Labour Program Canada). Between the arrests of the strike leaders and the violence, support was waning, and by 25 June, the strike was called off. This text McCalla, Douglas: The Economic Impact of the Great War, in: Mackenzie, David (ed. [12] Workers also struck for higher wages, job security, and safer working conditions. The first recorded labor strike occurred in ancient Egypt in 1156 BC, when workers stopped working to protest late payment from the pharaoh, Ramesses III. ): Canadian Labour History. 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 most radical elements of the labour revolt did not begin until after the war had ended. Women were still in subordinate to men in unions and many separate ethnic and racial unions were organized. 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. [3] Based primarily in the more industrialised Eastern part of the country, the TLC’s narrow definition of trade unionism, which precluded many workers from joining, prevented the development of working-class solidarity on a nation-wide basis. 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. [15] Several regions offer insight into the number labour days lost: The Maritimes lost a large amount of production for a relatively small region. Many of the strike leaders were sentenced to prison terms as the federal government feared a Bolshevik uprising. Mail stopped running, telephone service was suspended, and garbage collection ceased. Though the TLC generally supported the war, it took a hardline anti-conscription stance, and most labour groups followed. A "Day of Protest" was called by the Canadian Labour Congresson 14 October 1976 to mark the anniversary of the royal assent of the Anti-Inflation law and regulations. Brown, Robert Craig / Cook, Ramsay: Canada 1896-1921. The later years of the war saw a larger increase in membership: By the end of 1917, the total was approximately 205,000, and in 1918 250,000. Gregory Kealey claims the state had hidden its anti-working-class stance prior to the war, but that the measures introduced in the late war and post-war period revealed its true intentions to suppress radical labour movements. They took their protest to Ottawa, but to no avail: The conscripting of farmers continued until the measure was ended in early 1919. Leftists and the People’s Enlightenment in Canada, 1890-1920, Toronto 2008, p. 433. Canada Rail Strike Ends as CN Rail, Union Get Tentative Deal By . Strike action, also called labor strike, labour strike, or simply strike, is a work stoppage, caused by the mass refusal of employees to work. American-based international unions dominated and heavily influenced how Canadian labour was organised in the pre-war years. 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). 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. [7] 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. [25] 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 city was essentially shut down. Women and Girls of Canada and Newfoundland during the First World War, Vancouver 2012, p. 150. ): Canada and the First World War. This page was last edited on 10 September 2020, at 15:05. 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. The Canadian Soldier in the First World War, Toronto 1992, p. 287. The TLC faced opposition from the One Big Union (OBU), which advocated that all sectors of labour, skilled and unskilled, be represented by one organization. The foundations of our understanding of 1919 must be built on national and international conjunctures.”[20] Despite the regional bias of the historiography identified by Kealey, there were changes that had a national effect on labour. Conflict was not constrained to workers and employers, but also occurred between labour groups. We are part of the Employment and Social Development Canada portfolio. Strikes became common during the Industrial Revolution, when mass labor became important in factories and mines. 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