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Canada (510,504)
LABRST 1A03 (339)
David Goutor (304)

Unroaring twenties, industrial unionism

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Labour Studies
David Goutor

Last weeks lecture* Widespread unrest in the strike Large scale strikes in larger strikes, biggest in vancouver & victoria. Strikes have two characteristics that are worrisome. Strikes are very clearly political. Workers walking off job to support others doing the same thing. Some strikes are lasting a lot longer than expected. No sympathy strikes are quite big enough. Government begins to gather its forces & pushes harder against sympathy strikes & winnipeg itself. Legislative muscle- government goes to main employees in the city (postal workers) and tells them if they don't go back to work the are fired. Police are fired & new people are hired. June 21 1919- Strikers decide to hold a rally. Street cars are still running which is due to scab labour. A street car is rolling towards the strikers. They roll it over, police become involved & there is a riot. Throughout the day there are fights. This day is called bloody saturday. 1 official death. It is referred to bloody Saturday because it is the beginning of the end of the strike. There are continuing arrests of the strike leaders. th After 6 weeks the strike is collapsed. Most people involved are jailed. June 26 . This does not stop the government from making arrests & almost all people who immigrated here were sent back to their home countries. Sympathy strikes will drag on for another month. National perspectives- 1- radicals got caught up and went far 2- whats really happening is drive coming from the bottom. Workers on the ground are fed up. Their action is what carries the strike. The general strike leaders did not expect it to be so big & they were not ready to run the city. Unroaring Twenties & The Depression Nov.2 2011 1920s- Roaring Twenties - 20's were good times for corporations, a good time for corporate triumph. In General, corporate & business leaders enjoyed a time of very high economy. Unions & workers were on the back foot at this time. “Unions are no longer needed” was the view due to the setbacks after the war. Tough time for unions. The “hangover” from the post war strike was very big. Alot of mainstream labour leaders & craft unionists never supported the radicals. Government putting winnipeg strike with force had long term effects. Safe & Sane Unionism- wanted to appear unthreatening. They wanted to be cautious and not try bold new things. Problem- continued advance of new technology is starting to catch up with craft unions. Skill & leverage in the workplace starts to erode. The capacity to resist this is difficult. Unions are targeted & their power and influence is reduced. Red Scare – first red scare was in the 20's – right after winnipeg general strike – it specifically targets unions – This drives unions further into the shell Corporate Welfare- Pensions- Idea of the pension is that you pay into a program while you're working. It's a benefit. In this time, there were no rules. If you got fired you often would not get your pension. The longer you are paying into the pension you have a bigger incentive to make the company happy. You do not want to get fired & lose your pension. Nickname was ' golden handcuffs'. Corporate welfare dealt with very basic things- health & safety, hygiene. Company Unions & Work Councils – Unions that companies control – creating an outlet and making workers feel like if they had a problem, going to a union was not the only problem. – Big corporations felt good, and felt like they had much power – worker resistance was on the back foot. – Workers worked on a day to day level in fear. Economy was not doing very well in Canada. Usa was much better. Canada's economy was not good for most of the 20s. Economy had fundamental problems, resource industries were having a big struggle ie. Coal mining & fuel. Known as “sick industries” that couldn't be cured. Glitter & shine was in mass production industries.Auto, appliances & electrical were creating huge advancements. Auto was starting to mass produce cars on a much bigger scale which was impressive to people. 20's is the beginning of Pop Culture!! Home appliances give you a sense that you are joining a different set- social status. Gives you a feeling that you are more like celebrities. Very large segments of population cannot afford things that make them relate with pop culture. Dirty Thirties- 1930's One of the hardest decades in Canada to live. Economy shrank by a large amount. It starts to decline in 1929 & continues for 4 straight years. The Great Depression- Worst year was 1933 for the depression. It goes on for the entire decade. Business Consolidation- Businesses can take over their competition that can't keep up. It depended where you were, not who you were during the 30s. In the west was where the problems where felt the most, because there was a massive drought. The topsoil dried up & blew away. Farmers in those areas who drove the boom were hurt. In central Canada in manufacturing things depended on industry. Industry variations- Big corporate employers did okay- Ford & Gm made profits for most of the 30s. If they started to lose money they would lay people off on mass. The major division is between big ticket and small ticket item. Small ticket item- small purchase (shoes, boots) by 1933 people have worn out their clothes. People start to buy again. Food industry starts to pick up. Big ticket items are going slower. Construction industry shrunk by 75%. Towns that mined things for steel were hit hard in the 30s & some mines even closed (ie. Iron mines) In those towns unemployment would be 95 to 100%. Gender Female dominated industries tend to do better than males. – Big ticket companies (male dominated) goes down, garment industry (female) goes up – Being a working woman for once had upside, men did not like that. – Social questions of gender roles started to arise. – Rules become even more rigid when you could work. Women could not work once they got married or had kids. – Women adjusted their
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