1919: A Year of Strikes in the Canadian West

mapleLeaf1919: A Year of Strikes in the Canadian West

Anti-strike banner, Winnipeg, May 15, 1919. Public Archives of ManitobaAnti-strike banner, Winnipeg, May 15, 1919. Public Archives of Manitoba

"In May of 1919 a heat wave crossed the province. Edmonton had reached temperatures of 85 degrees. Like the heat wave a mood of union militancy was in the air across Alberta, indeed across Western Canada. A strike wave would soon erupt sweeping the West like a prairie fire.

"The press of the day was full of stories about the Armistice with Germany. In editorials and front page stories the press railed against the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia, denouncing radical unions and alien workers, infected with Bolshevik ideas. The government and the editorialists agreed that the solution to stopping radical ideas was to deport foreigners; especially Hutterites, Mennonites, Dukhbours and those damn radicals in the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW).

"The Mathers Royal Commission on Industrial Relations was going across Canada trying to fathom the unprecedented series of strikes that had been happening, since January, from Nova Scotia to Victoria. Many of these strikes were short lived, but as soon as one was resolved another would spring up. They affected all industries and all levels of society. Miners struck in Nova Scotia and in the Rockies. Street Car workers in Toronto and Windsor went on strike. Even housemaids held a week long strike. The issues were the same; workers wanted an eight hour day, one day off in seven, and recognition of their unions."

Eugene W. Plawiuk, The Edmonton General Strike of 1919

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"Mr. McDaniel from B.C. was given the floor and he explained that the strikers needed funds in Canada. That he wanted credentials from the [Seattle] Metal Trades so he could visit various locals and solicit funds. He was granted the credentials."

Report of Agent 106, Broussais C. Beck Collection, Accession No. 155-1, Box 1, Folder 7, June 24, 1919, University of Washington Manuscripts and University Archives


Bercuson, David J. 1919: A Year of Strikes / 1919: un ann¢ ee de gr`eves. [Ottawa]: National Film Board of Canada; National Museum of Man, ã 1974. (Canada's Visual History, Series 1, Volume 3). 30 slides and guide. Suzzallo General Stacks F1026 .C36 1974 v. 3

Canada. Royal Commission on Industrial Relations. Report of Commission appointed under Order-in-council (P.C. 670) to Enquire into Industrial Relations in Canada, together with a Minority Report and Supplementary Report. The Honorable Chief Justice Mathers, of Manitoba, Chairman. [Ottawa: 1919]. On order

Jordan, Mary Veronica. Survival: Labour's Trials and Tribulations in Canada. Toronto: McDonald House, 1975. Suzzallo General Stacks HD8107 .R87 J67

Lonardo, Michael. Canadian Labour History Bibliography.


Bernard, Elaine. "Last Back: Folklore and the Telephone Operators in the 1919 Vancouver General Strike" in Barbara K. Latham and Roberta J. Pazdo, eds., Not Just Pin Money: Selected Essays on the History of Women's Work in British Columbia (Victoria: Camosun College, 1984). Special Collections PNW HD6100 .B7N68 1984

Conley, James R. "Frontier Labourers, Crafts in Crisis and the Western Labour Revolt: The Case of Vancouver, 1900-1919." Labour / Le Travail 23 (Spring 1989): 1-37. Suzzallo General Stacks HD8102 .L3 v. 23

Phillips, Paul Arthur. No Power Greater: A Century of Labour in British Columbia. Vancouver, B.C.: Federation of Labour and Boag Foundation, 1967. Special Collections PNW HD6529 .B7P45


Avery, D. "The Radical Alien and the Winnipeg General Strike of 1919" in Carl Berger and Ramsay Cook, eds. The West and the Nation: Essays in Honour of W. L. Morton(Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, c1976). Suzzallo General Stacks F1060 .W38

Bumsted, J. M. The Winnipeg General Strike of 1919: an Illustrated History. Winnipeg: Shillingford, 1994. On order

Gray, Jack. Striker Schneiderman [a play]. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, [1973]. Drama General Stacks PR9199.3 .G73S8

Henry, Ann Maud. Lulu Street: a Play. Vancouver, B.C.: Talonbooks, 1975. Drama General Stacks PR9199.3 H454 L8

Masters, Donald Campbell. The Winnipeg General Strike. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1950. Suzzallo General Stacks HD5330 .Z9 W46


Report of Agent 106, Broussais C. Beck Collection, Accession No. 155-1, Box 1, Folders 7-8. Contacts between B.C. and Seattle labor representatives are mentioned in reports of June 24, 25, and 27, 1919; and July 13, 1919.

Plawiuk, Eugene W. Calgary 1919: The Birth of the OBU and the General Strike.

________. Edmonton General Strike of 1919.


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