Winnipeg General Strike

Topics: Trade union, Strike action, Minimum wage Pages: 3 (874 words) Published: April 4, 2011
The Winnipeg General Strike was a landmark in North America. The strike officially began on May 15th, 1919 at 11:00 AM and continued until late June, 1919, and approximately 35, 000 workers, basically the entire workforce of Winnipeg, walked off their jobs, risking their entire lives (Naylor, 2009). This strike has been one of the most studied historic moments in Canadian history. The General Strike had been brewing for many years prior to 1919, a large series of circumstances contributed to the strike, from international to local (Beszterda, 1975).

The strike began in the beginning of May, 1919, after months of labor negotiations the workforce finally had enough and the strike began. The metalworkers were next to participate the strike, the employers of the main factories in the town refused to negotiate their contract. There was a committee that was composed of 1,000 manufactures, bankers, and politicians; they called themselves the Citizens Committee.

The Winnipeg General Strike was caused by many reasons. One reason was the immediate reasons for the building of trades and metal workers going on strike for better wages and to improve the conditions that they worked in daily. The workers were payed a low wage and worked in horrible conditions that would automatically be condemned today. The money that they worked extremely hard for made it difficult to leave comfortably, as many people do today.

The sweep of the strike involved non-unionzed workers as well, which arose from problems with World War 1. They sacrificed years of high expectations suring the war and its aftermath were greeted with high unemployment instead, an industrial turndown, and inflation. The tight labour market had led to an increase in unions, the success of the Russion Revolution in 1917 had led not only to an increase in ideas, but it also provoked a fear on the part of those in authority. (Munroe, 2010)

The One Big Union was a major part of the strike. They did not...
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