Winnipeg General Strike Essay, Research Paper
The Work Revolution Strike
During June 1919, a strike took place that revolutionized unions and the working place
today. The Winnipeg General Strike of 1919 that took place in Winnipeg was fought between the
WTLC (Winnipeg Trades and Labour Council) and the high-payed employers and government.
The workers of Winnipeg struck for better working conditions, better pay, and shorter working
hours. Little did they know that this strike would lead to total chaos in the city of Winnipeg. The
WTLC had to fight with not only the provincial government and employers, but also the military,
RCMP and the federal government. They were greatly out numbered in this strike, but stood
strong in their beliefs and carried on for 6 weeks until the strike was over. The workers were
justified in going on strike and because of this, created a revolution.
Trying to get the employers and government to listen to the WTLC’s demands was hard.
Every attempt made was shut down by the rich, powerful people of business. The workers on
strike took force into the streets. Police were not enough to control these angry people, so the
government called in the Military and RCMP. The WTLC and workers had almost no power at all
compared to the Military and RCMP, making this an unfair fight. Even though this was realized
by many, the strike went on and took charge in greater lengths then before. On one day, the strike
was brought to the main street of Winnipeg. Everyone was there, causing great disturbance trying
to get their demands met. The RCMP rushed into the croud on horseback with baseball bats and
started swinging, hitting many people causing injury. One officer was pulled down and beaten
badly. When news of this reached the other officers, they open fired on the crowd with machine
guns. They killed one man and injured 30 others. This was known as “Bloody Saturday”. This
was an unfair fight not only because of the power situation, but also the guns and authority which
the WTLC’s opponents had. The WTLC also had its strengths as well. It had the support
of all the people of Winnipeg and across the nation. In other cities, sympathy strikes took place.
The WTLC had every right to go on strike. The working conditions at the time were
horrible. The pay and wages were downright despicable and the working hours were absolutely
unimaginable. The only way to improve these things was to strike since previous methods were
not successful. Examples of working conditions at the time were poor, unsafe and
many had been injured at the workplace, some even died. It was also not well lit, so completing
tasks were almost impossible. In the summer time, the work place was hot and unbearable. For
these reasons, the workers were justified in going on strike. It was about time that wages and
conditions were improved. Workers tried to compromise with their employers, but all attempts at
it failed miserably. A strike was an effective means of getting what workers wanted. A strike gave
the workers hope and something to look forward to.
In conclusion, the Winnipeg General Strike of 1919 fought between the WTLC and its
opponents was well justified. They had every right to strike for better working conditions, hours
and wages. The WTLC was justified to strike, but the strike that took place was unfair. WTLC
had the military and federal police to use force to back the opponents up. The WTLC only had the
people and their word. Even though the WTLC and workers lost the strike, they created a
revolution. They would change the work place for the better. They would make better wages and
better working hours. If it wasn’t for this enormous strike, who knows how work in general
would be in terms of conditions and even how it would be perceived.