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
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.
After 6 weeks the strike is collapsed. Most people involved are jailed. June 26th. 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.
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
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. A lot 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.
–first red scare was in the 20's
–right after winnipeg general strike
–it specifically targets unions
–This drives unions further into the shell
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.