Browse "Unions & Labour Organizations"

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Winnipeg General Strike of 1919

The Winnipeg General Strike of 1919 was the largest strike in Canadian history. Between 15 May and 25 June 1919, more than 30,000 workers left their jobs. Factories, shops, transit and city services shut down. The strike resulted in arrests, injuries and the deaths of two protestors. It did not immediately succeed in empowering workers and improving job conditions. But the strike did help unite the working class in Canada. Some of its participants helped establish what is now the New Democratic Party.

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Windsor Ford Strike of 1945

The Windsor Ford Strike was a 99-day strike from 12 September to 19 December 1945 by 11,000 employees of the Windsor, Ontario, Ford Motor Company plant. Some 8,000 auto workers from other plants also participated. The Ford workers, who were led by the United Automobile Workers of Canada (UAW), demanded recognition of their union by Ford and mandatory membership for all plant workers. The strike was ultimately resolved through binding arbitration under Supreme Court Justice Ivan C. Rand and resulted in the widely used Rand Formula.

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One Big Union

On 13 March 1919 delegates from most union locals in western Canada met at the Western Labour Conference in Calgary and proclaimed support for the Bolshevik and other left-wing revolutions.

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Knights of Labor in Canada

The Knights of Labor, the leading labour reform organization in the late 19th century, played a key role in the development of the working-class consciousness in Canada. It was also an important player in the development of the Trades and Labor Congress of Canada and interceded with authorities to improve living standards for the working class. The movement fell victim to internal conflict and the successes of other unions, and began fading out at the end of the 1890s.

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Sleeping Car Porters in Canada

Sleeping car porters were railway employees who attended to passengers aboard sleeping cars. Porters were responsible for passengers’ needs throughout a train trip, including carrying luggage, setting up beds, pressing clothes and shining shoes, and serving food and beverages, among other services. The vast majority of sleeping car porters were Black men and the position was one of only a few job opportunities available to Black men in Canada. While the position carried respect and prestige for Black men in their communities, the work demanded long hours for little pay. Porters could be fired suddenly and were often subjected to racist treatment. Black Canadian porters formed the first Black railway union in North America (1917) and became members of the larger Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters in 1939. Both unions combatted racism and the many challenges that porters experienced on the job.

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Co-operative Movement

Co-operative marketing organizations began to appear in British North America in the 1840s when British labourers attempted unsuccessfully to start stores similar to those common in Britain. The first stable store, or society, was developed in 1861 in Stellarton, NS.

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CUPW Postal Strikes

Since 1965 the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (previously Canadian Postal Employees Association) has been involved in approximately 19 major disputes over several complex issues.

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Drumheller Strike

The Drumheller Strike of 1925 1925, ushered in a period of rival or "dual" unionism in Alberta's coalfields. The Drumheller miners, rejecting wage cuts negotiated by the United Mine Workers, struck in June 1925.

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Women in the Labour Force

Women are considered LABOUR FORCE participants only if they work outside the home. In the past women have been expected to be in the labour force only until they marry; this reflects the historical, idealized notion of a society in which the man is the breadwinner and the woman the homemaker.

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Nine Hour Movement

The Nine Hour Movement was an international phenomenon, taking place in Canada between January and June 1872. The movement’s goal was to standardize shorter working days.

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Industrial Unionism

The first significant attempt to organize on an industrial basis was undertaken in the 1880s by the KNIGHTS OF LABOR, which advocated unity of the producing classes and opposed employer blacklists and discrimination.