Today in Labor History

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Archive for the tag “canada”

February 10, 1928

February 10

At the Hollinger Consolidated Gold Mine in Timmins, Ontario – the largest in North America – 39 miners are killed when a fire spreads carbon monoxide through the workings. There was no rescue plan in place and it took five days to put out the fire.

November 18, 1929


Viljo Rosvall and Janne Voutilainen – two Finnish-Canadian members of the Lumber Workers Industrial Union of Canada from Thunder Bay, Ontario – disappear on their way to recruit sympathetic bushworkers for a strike. Their bodies were found at Onion Lake by a union search party the following spring and the community suspected that they had been murdered by company thugs.

October 14, 1976

070119_01In response to the government’s imposition of wage controls for all Canadian workers, the Canadian Labour Congress calls for a Day of Protest. Over a million people participated in rallies and demonstrations held in every major city.

August 12, 1909

anarchy_0Workers and the Canadian Pacific Railway police engage in a protracted gun battle during a strike by 700 non-union freight handlers – immigrants from Greece and Italy – in Thunder Bay, Ontario. A federal conciliation board settled the strike, but in 1910, the Canadian Pacific Railway fired 400 of those workers.

July 24, 1941

wpid-0321ov_WWII_Work_Production_PosterWhen their pay was shorted, 700 workers at Canada’s largest aluminum plant in Arvida, Quebec, walk off the job in an illegal (because the industry had been classified as essential to the war effort) strike. The next day, the strike spread to 4,500 workers, who occupied the plant. Work resumed several days later and negotiations began, with the union as intermediary, assisted by federal conciliators.

June 19, 1914

June 19An explosion in the Hillcrest mine in the Crowsnest Pass region of western Canada kills 189 miners. It devastated the town of Hillcrest, which had a total population of about 1,000, leaving 130 women widowed and about 400 children fatherless. Many of the miners were buried in a mass grave in the Hillcrest Cemetery. It was the worst coal mining disaster in Canadian history.

June 11, 1925

June 11Cape Breton coal miner William Davis is killed by armed company police when he and other residents of New Waterford march to demand that utilities be restored after the mining company cut off the water and electric supply during a long and bitter strike. June 11 is commemorated throughout Nova Scotia as Miners’ Memorial Day.

June 9, 1919

Pg001Nearly a month into the Winnipeg general strike, the Police Commission fires almost the entire city police force for refusing to withdraw their strike notice and sign a pledge not to participate in a sympathy strike. They were replaced by a large body of untrained but better paid special constables.

May 15, 1919

WinnipegGeneralStrikeA general strike called by the Winnipeg Trades and Labour Council brings out 30,000 workers – half of whom were not even union members – in support of the city’s building and metal trade workers, on strike over wages and working conditions. For six weeks, the city came to a halt.

May 2, 1952

ph_HEC-020_arch_xl1,200 retail employees – most of them women – begin a strike at Dupuis Frères, a major department store in Montréal, Canada, when negotiations with management reach a standstill nearly two years after trying to get a first contract. The strike lasted for three months until the store’s manager was replaced with someone willing to negotiate with the union.

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