The Winnipeg General Strike
Key Terms Alien: A non-citizen resident of a country Amendment: A modification made to a law Arthur Meighen: The Minister of the Interior and the acting Minister of Justice during the Winnipeg General Strike “Bloody Saturday”: The final Saturday of the Winnipeg General Strike when the “special police” clashed with the demonstrators Bolshevist: A member of the Russian Social Democratic Workers' Party that seized power in that country in November 1917. A communist. Bread: Bread was delivered to people’s homes by the local bakeries Business: A commercial enterprise or establishment Canadian Pacific Railway: The railway was originally built between eastern Canada and British Columbia between 1881 and 1885, fulfilling a promise extended to British Columbia when it entered Confederation in 1871. It was Canada’s first transcontinental railway. Capitalism: An economic system in which the means of production and distribution are privately or corporately owned and development is proportionate to the accumulation and reinvestment of profits gained in a free market. Communism: Political and social concept of a classless society, in which personal property would be abolished and all citizens would be equal, particularly in the distribution of wealth. Communism as it was developed in theory failed in practice, as it was unable to fulfill the ideological aspirations for which it aimed. Demonstrators: participants in a public display of opinion Deportation: Expulsion of an undesirable alien from a country Dismissal: the act of being fired from employment Government: the organization that is the governing authority of a political unit (In Canada’s case the government is elected). House of Commons: The elected Lower House of parliament in Canada Injunction: Law. A court order prohibiting a party from a specific course of action Insurrection: Planned uprising to overthrow the government in power Military exemption: Freedom from the law that required compulsory military service (or conscription)

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They were known as the “hello girls” Union: Representatives of a group of workers who negotiate working conditions that suit their interests Veteran: A person who has served in the armed forces Wages: Payment for labour or services to a worker." “Special police”: A force hired by the Committee of One Thousand to replace the regular police force Strike: Work stoppage decided by workers in a bid to put pressure on employers for better working conditions Telephone Operators: Many women worked as telephone operators. founded in 1961 when the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF) reorganized itself and joined with the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) Picketing: act of patrolling a place of work affected by a strike in order to discourage its support. daily. Saskatchewan. "All For one. to make public the workers' grievances.The Winnipeg General Strike New Democratic Party: Canadian political party. Riot Act: A law providing that when 12 or more people unlawfully assemble and disturb the public peace.Manitoba. Alberta and British Columbia Page 2 of 6 . they must disperse upon proclamation or be considered guilty of breaking the law Sedition: Conduct or language inciting rebellion against the authority of a state Solidarity: Unanimity of attitude or purpose between members of a group or class. especially remuneration on an hourly. or weekly basis Western Canadians: People who live in the provinces west of Ontario . and one for all. and in some cases to prevent strikebreakers from taking the strikers' jobs. captured in the slogan.

There was an overwhelming vote for strike action. 11. Times were hard for Canadian workers. and . which seemed more interested in giving in to the interests of the more heavily populated "Ottawa-Montréal-Toronto triangle" than other parts of the country. ________. all voted in favour of the strike. 500 female walked off the job. This caused massive protests in the west. Page 3 of 6 . they pulled the switches. Before they left. postal workers. __________ __________ were generally suspicious of the federal government. When no resolution to the conflicts seemed possible. leaving much of the city without phone service. workday. Employers .000 in favour and 600 opposed. World War I ended in _______. Police. was know as "___________ City" because of the frequency that local courts granted employers injunctions against Workers / Labour Workers demanded better and better working conditions. Women also voted in favour of the strike. Prime Minister Robert Borden granted a __________ ____________ to western farmers in 1917 and then reneged on his promise several weeks later after he had won the election. Prices were rising faster than between labour.Background By the First World War. fire fighters. to negotiate. Relations Winnipeg ___________ and the courts had been poisoned over the years. Workers tried to organize by joining ________. recognition. water works employees. People were angry that corporations had made huge profits during the war while others suffered. the Winnipeg Trades and Labour Council polled its members on whether or not to launch a general . cooks and waiters and tailors.

The . Armstrong established a dining hall where ________ were free for women strikers. Thursday May 15. while factory production ceased. telephones. the strikers agreed to issue signs that read “ by Authority of the Strike Committee”. retail stores. Most restaurants. 1919. These signs raised questions about who was in charge. The strike leaders did not want to be accused of trying to starve the city. During the strike. composed of delegates from each of the unions affiliated with the Winnipeg Trades and Labour Council. The strikers always maintained that they were not trying to take over the of the city.000 Winnipeg workers walked out on a general . telegrams. Work stopped quickly at the big Canadian Pacific _____ ______ shops and yards across the city. while men were expected to pay or make a donation.The Winnipeg General Strike The Winnipeg General Strike Beginning promptly at 11:00am. between 25. so they wanted continued delivery of _______ and . streetcars. Thousands of war ___________ demonstrated in favour of the strikers. Under the leadership of Helen Armstrong. The strikers elected a group they call the Central Committee. gasoline or milk delivery. Many strikes and demonstrations took place in other cities in Canada. and employees of the water works shocked and frightened many in Winnipeg by joining the strike. newspapers. The dairies and the bakeries were worried that people might attack their delivery wagons if they thought that they were operating in opposition to the strike. This committee had to determine which were going to be offered to the public. the Women’s Labour League played a central role in organizing women’s activities throughout the strike. Page 4 of 6 . taxis.000 and 30. For this reason. but by its nature a general strike challenges a community’s existing power relations. played a key role in making sure that businesses that were struck stayed closed. and even barber shops closed. Armstrong was arrested several times. Winnipeg had no mail.

In its own paper. ____________ to meet with the Central Strike Committee to consider its grievances. it attacked the strikers and their supporters as revolutionaries and implied that the strike was largely the work of Eastern European immigrants. For the most part.800 “________ ” police officers recruited by the Committee. The committee told the politicians that the strike was a revolution in the making. Robertson ordered federal government employees back to work threatening them with if they refused. the leaders of the Winnipeg ____ community and local government officials established the Citizens’ Committee of One Thousand. While the strike leaders kept their troops in line. The Committee forced the City Council to fire the entire Winnipeg police force for refusing to take an oath promising not to participate in general strikes. the business community took the initiative. It organized volunteers to replace and worked to ensure that the strike ended in a defeat for the unions. Employers / Business / Government Shortly after the start of the General Strike. but it did have access to the . Gideon Decker Robertson and the Minister of Interior (and acting Minister of Justice) Arthur _________ . It had far fewer than a government power in both Manitoba and members.Another of the Strike Committee’s main concerns was ensuring that the strikers did not provide the government with an excuse to use to end the strike. The of One Thousand met with the Minister of Labour. they urged people to stay off the streets or attend the large open-air meetings held in a park near the Red River. Meighen had the Criminal Code of Canada to broaden the definition of born radicals for _________ and amended the Immigration Act to target foreignThe two federal ministers _____________. The police force was replaced by 1. Page 5 of 6 .

By the end of the day. Woodsworth. Many of the jailed strike leaders ran for office in the Manitoba provincial election of 1920. Four days later. who had been arrested but was never tried for his support of the strike. Even though they could not leave their cells during the campaign. _________ was over.S. The federal government and the Committee of One Thousand did not agree with this and put many of the strike leaders on trial for sedition and conspiracy. and A. Page 6 of 6 . possibly thousands of for their participation in the strike.The Winnipeg General Strike On June 17. 1919. Heaps). Others only got their jobs back in the future. Veterans and other supporters of the strike clashed with the “Special” police force and the Royal North-West Mounted Police.A. On June 25th. Hundreds. which would later become the as _________ _________ _________ or N. In 1921. not a revolution. three of them won election to the legislature. the Winnipeg General The workers were returned to work without contracts. on a day later named “ Saturday” strikers assembled at Market Square and the panicked Mayor read the Act. was elected to the House of the leader of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation. after six weeks. the federal government ordered the arrest of twelve strike leaders (including J. two men were dead and at least thirty of the ____________ were seriously injured.S. J.P. Woodsworth. if they signed agreements promising not to join Later a Manitoba government commission of inquiry concluded that the ___________ _________ was essentially a labour dispute.D.

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