Winnipeg General Strike • Available online @ msbeenen.wikispaces.com
W.W.W.W. • Who? ALMOST ALL WORKERS • What? A general strike across Winnipeg and other parts of Canada> leads to violence • When? 1919 (Not the 20’s but still IMPORTANT) • Where? Winnipeg Manitoba • **When you see this ~~ you do not need to copy that point!
Causes • After the war, soldiers came home looking for work but factories were shutting down and unemployment was on the rise. • Inflation during the war increased the cost of living and many families were now living in poverty • Immigrants had started taking over jobs that once belonged to the veterans, this created social tensions. • Workers also wanted better working conditions, too many workers were getting injured or killed on the job.
Negotiations • Workers tried to negotiate with the Government but they didn’t care. • Winnipeg builders exchange, electric, and fire alarm employees started to strike. They were labelled “Bolsheviks” and accused of undermining Canada • Lack of recognition from the Government caused other civic workers to join the strike in sympathy.
bOLSHEVIKS • Group of Russian radicals that overthrew the government in 1917. • They called for a revolution from workers around the world. • They believed people should control the way goods are produced and distributed. • Although some Canadians were influenced by these ideas it was not as extreme. REFORMISTS NOT REVOLUTIONARIES
Fear of the foreign • Because of this fear of Bolshevik ideas, foreign union leaders and workers were looked at suspiciously. • To prevent revolution, legislation quickly passed that any foreign born “radicals” (people who belonged to a revolutionary group or opposed organized government) could be instantly deported.
organization • The “One Big Union” was created in March 1919 by union leaders across western Canada in an attempt to help workers obtain more control of the industry. • Some workers did not want to negotiate with this Big Union • Frustration built and the works strike!
tHE sTRIKE • May 1919 metal and building workers walk off the job in Winnipeg: A general strike was voted in by the Trades and Labour union and over 30,000 workers went on strike • Winnipeg was at a standstill: Police supported the strike but stayed working to keep the peace, firefighters strike but went back to work after 11am~~ • Police intervened for fear of communism (it didn’t help that a large number of immigrants had settled in winnipeg)
winnipeg stands still • Stores and factories closed. • Dairies and bakeries stopped deliveries • Street car operators, garbage collectors, postal workers. etc.
Bloody Saturday • General strike had been going on for 37 days now • June 21st violence erupts (Blood Saturday) • A crowd had gathered to watch a parade protesting the arrest of strike leaders • Mayor feared troubled and read the riot act. He also called in the Royal North West Mounted police. • Police charged the crowd. One man was killed and 30 injured. • 5 days later people are ordered back to their jobs. Strike is over.
Results • Many strike leaders are arrested and sentenced to jail time. • Some were forced to sign “yellow dog contracts” stating they would never join a union or take part in union activities. • Criminal code was changed: persons proposing violence to bring about political or economic changes could be searched without a warrant.
It wasn’t all bad! • People actually started thinking about the lives of workers and how much they do. • Drew attention to social and economic problems faced by working people. • Royal Commission was appointed to investigate the causes of the strike. • Many of strike leaders moved on to do great things in politics.
Some other noteworthy labour changes!~~ • By 1929, Canadian provinces make it illegal to employ children under 14 in factories or mines. • School attendance was made compulsory. • Some children under 14 stilled worked full time.
Class task • Read “Bloody Saturday” Graphic Novel as a class • Finish KWL: If you get the marker fill in a point and pass it on. BE PREPARED TO DISCUSS • WITH A PARTNER CREATE A MIND MAP OF HOW THIS STRIKE WOULD’VE AFFECTED THE PEOPLE IN WINNIPEG/CANADA • **If you have any questions that relate to this topic please write them on a piece of paper and hand it in at the end of class.