The Winnipeg General strike - Coggle Diagram
The Winnipeg General strike
the most militant trades are the building and the metal trades. their unions go on strike on may 1-2 1919.
trades and labour union decide the time is right for a general strike - send out a vote on may 6
strike to start on may 15 at 11 am, run by the strike committee organized by the trade and labour council. Winnipeg police want to join but stay on the job so martial law cont come in and end the strike. hospital staff get an exemption too.
the elites get together the night before the strike and create the citizens committee of 1000, unclear of everyone in it but it was the elites who ran the city. (business owners) they wanted to stop the strike ASAP and had ties to military and high up political people. wanted to protect their own interests
creation of communism and the Bolshevik revolution in russia in 1917. Lenin and Trotsky influenced by Marx who criticizes capitalism. had to other throw the rich to get social change and end class conflict
growth of labour unions: had been growing in power and influence since the industrial rev. Western Canada had newer younger more aggressive leaders to take over the movement. and they western provinces are becoming more sympathetic to the labour cause.
changing conditions after war: no real plan to shift the economy from wartime to peace time. the shut down of war industries = lost jobs and returning soldiers = more people looking for work. inflation happens which leads to a small strike in 1918. unemployment rises rapidly
conditions in winnipeg: established elite ran the city and they controlled the municipality through the limitation of voting to property owners
- if you owned property in more than one ward you had more than one vote.
telephone workers the first ones off the job (female dominated profession and union) rest of the workers walk out in the middle of the work on 11 AM on May 15 1919. between 25,000-30,000 on the first day walked out more joined throughout the week
the citizens committee of 1000 responds: spreading the story that they were communists not legitimate Winnipeg workers - wanting to make it national problem not local. most strike leaders were actual influence by British labour movement not communism,
2 main issues with the strike. 1- no clearly stated objective for the strike and 2- no real plan for the strike. the strike committee allows some essentials to resume like milk and bread delivery.
veterans join: stay neutral at first but offer services to keep the peace if needed. strikers want them on their side because they are well respected and highly sympathetic group to have on their side, had a high social status
women and the strike: they were CRUCIAL to the strike even though its forgotten most the time. 2 women on the strike committee one being
women workers shut down some of the most important services in the city. they wanted improved working conditions. the
womens labour league
headed by Helen Armstrong set up the labour cafe where women were always served free and men were asked for donation but served free if needed served 1200-1500 meals a day to women and their children. rent committees pooled resources
the women labour league was portrayed as supporting the strike but it was more about supporting the women as workers first. focused on educating the women on their rights in the workplace and bring forward that women are workers
veterans begin to waiver on their neutral policy. info was hard to come by so they didn't know who to believe. the veterans are angry but didn't want violence
prostrike groups hold rallies and info sessions in Victoria park and it becomes known ass the soldiers parliament.
citizens committee goes right to the fed govt - federal opposition led by Arthur Meighan. Ottawa takes the opportunity to push through a new immigration act - immigrants from undesirable countries can be deported without a hearing and be stripped of citizenship -this included the British born strike leaders
Winnipeg fires the whole police force and hires
on June 10,1919 they parade down the streets on horseback with clubs. protestors throw bricks, bottles etc at them which is enough to warrant the NWMP to come in
JUNE 17, 1919 citizens committee and the specials arrest the strike leaders
bloody Saturday (JUNE 21, 1919)
veteran unitentionally set off the violence because they were going to silently march to protest the arrest of the leaders. the mayor then bans all public parades and reads the Riot act when they still march meaning that if they don't clear out in 30 minutes they can all be subject to getting arrested. strikers push over a tram and light it on fire
no unbiased accounts from that day, its one view against the other. NWMP fire on the crowd and 2 strikers are killed the strike is then called off the next day at 11 AM
royal commission is called to investigate the causes and justification of the strike. metal workers get their work week reduced. telephone workers lose all seniority and have to reapply, have to sign a declaration to never join strike again. hundreds of postal workers fired, over 50 fireman fired, legislation put into place to make this harder in the future
the trials: majority strike leaders are British born and these trails aren't open to the public. only one leader was deported due to his original papers having mistakes, one goes to the US voluntarily, rest remained in Canada and face criminal charges anywhere from 6 months to 2 years. the trails had very questionable evidence, the judge didn't like the defence lawyer and pretty biased against the strikers
the strike is vindicated by the royal commission and finds that it was never a communist plot or intended revolution also found the leaders tried to prevent the violence.