general strikes in manitoba

map of manitoba

1919, may 15 - june 26 - general strike in winnipeg spawns waves of general strikes throughout canada
the one big union (obu) had been formed recently as an international industrial union, much in the same model as the industrial workers of the world (iww). the iww, along with the socialist part of canada, had been outlawed in canada as a seditious organization. the founding convention for the obu was to be held in may in calgary, and it was expected that during that convention general strike actions would be organized for the month of june. the primary issues involved in such an action were the demands of an 8 hour day, a 6 day week and recognition of the obu as a bargaining agent.

meanwhile, in winnipeg and other canadian cities, metal trades workers were in a stalemate in negotiations with their employers. at a meeting of the winnipeg trades and labor council, a vote was called to engage in a sympathy strike. so, a month earlier than planned by union leaders, rank-and-file workers walked off the job en masse and shut down the city of winnipeg. in addition to successfully ceasing nearly all commercial and government activity in the city, the strike also had the effect of severing most communication and transportation between eastern and western canada, due to winnipeg's particular geographic location. labor unrest in canada was so great at the time that winiipeg's general strike was like a spark in a gas main -- igniting similar explotions across the country.

for much more information, visit Eugene Plawiuk's 1919 winnipeg general strike links page

the world : north america : canada : manitoba