Winnipeg General Strike Essay Research Paper The

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.


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