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This month in labour history

06/04/2019

LabourStart Canada

15-06-1872 The Trade Union Act comes into force. This is the legislation promised by the prime minister in April in response to the campaign for shorter hours and the arrest of striking Toronto printers. The Act states that unions are legal in Canada. 

14-06-1912 Union leaders meet at the Lethbridge Labour Temple to establish the Alberta Federation of Labour. This is the beginning of the Federation’s long struggle for workers’ rights in Alberta. 

19-06-1914 A coal mine explosion in the Crowsnest Pass at Hillcrest, Alberta takes the lives of 189 men, mostly immigrants. Canada's worst coal mine disaster leaves 90 widows and more than 250 orphans

21-06-1919 A silent parade to protest the arrest of leaders of the Winnipeg General Strike is attacked by the Royal Northwest Mounted Police and the special police hired by the city. Many are wounded, and two men lose their lives as a result of Bloody Saturday. 

25-06-1919 The Strike Committee announces the end of the Winnipeg General Strike. 

11-06-1925  Davis Day in Nova Scotia, a memorial day for coal miner William Davis, who was shot and killed by company police during the struggle for control of the Waterford Lake power plant during the historic 1925 strike. 

12-06-1934 Immigrant workers go on strike at the Noranda copper and gold mining operations in Québec, led by the Workers' Unity League. Strikebreakers are brought in, and there is no union contract until 1945. 

3-06-1935 Hundreds of unemployed men board boxcars in Vancouver, British Columbia, beginning the historic On-to-Ottawa Trek to protest conditions in the relief camps run by the Department of National Defence.

18-06-1935 Longshoremen in Vancouver, many of them war veterans, march to protest the use of scabs to unload cargo on the docks. In a three-hour battle, police chase the strikers down on horseback and use tear gas to disperse the protest. 

19-06-1938 Relief Project Workers' Union members occupying government buildings in Vancouver are evicted by police. A battle follows. 

17-06-1958 In Vancouver, British Columbia the Second Narrows Bridge collapses while under construction, and nineteen lives are lost. It is the city's worst industrial disaster. The bridge is now known as the Ironworkers Memorial Second Narrows Crossing.

20-06-1959 A sudden violent storm on Miramichi Bay, New Brunswick sweeps away 35 men and boys. The Escuminac Disaster is commemorated at the local wharf by The Fishermen, a monument created by Acadian artist Claude Roussel.

29-06-1981 The Canadian Union of Postal Workers begins a 42-day strike that succeeds in winning a contract with 17 weeks of maternity leave benefits. This breakthrough agreement sets a standard for other unions. 

20-06-1984 An earthquake kills four workers at the Falconbridge mine near Sudbury Ontario. The day is marked by an annual union memorial service and calls for renewed attention to health, safety and emergency preparedness. 

1-06-1986 In Edmonton, Alberta meatpacking workers go on strike against wage and pension rollbacks. There are more than 400 arrests before an agreement is reached in December. 

1-06-1987 In British Columbia, 250,000 workers walk off the job in a one-day general strike against restrictive new labour laws introduced by the Social Credit government. The legislation was repealed when the New Democratic Party returned to power in 1992. 

27-06-1991 The Supreme Court of Canada issues its decision in Lavigne v Ontario Public Service Employees Union, affirming the constitutional right of unions to spend money on social and political action to advance the interests of workers. 

8-06-2007 The Supreme Court of Canada rules, in a 6 to 1 decision, that collective bargaining rights are protected by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The decision describes collective bargaining rights as "a fundamental aspect of Canadian society."