This month in Labour History
29-12-1876 Grand Trunk Railway workers in eastern Ontario go on strike in support of fired co-workers. The four-day strike is broken using scabs and militia.
9-12-1895 Annie Buller is born in Ukraine, coming to Canada as a child. She becomes an early woman leader of the Communist Party of Canada and one of its most formidable organizers.
9-12-1910 Methane gas explodes in the Bellevue, Alberta coal mine in the Crowsnest Pass. The union had warned against gas accumulations more than once that year. There are seventeen survivors and thirty-one casualties, including one rescuer.
27-12-1913 Protests by members of the Industrial Workers of the World in Edmonton, Alberta, force the city to provide emergency work and housing for 400 unemployed.
6-12-1917 Wartime miscalculations and naval mismanagement cause unprecedented devastation for working-class neighborhoods in Halifax, Nova Scotia. When two ships collide in the harbour, one of them loaded with tons of explosives, almost 2,000 people are killed.
6-12-1921 J. S. Woodsworth, a Methodist minister arrested during the Winnipeg General Strike of 1919, is elected as the Labour Member of Parliament for Winnipeg Centre. Re-elected five times, he is a founder, in 1932, of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation.
19-12-1945 The historic 99-day strike at Ford in Windsor, Ontario ends with an agreement to have Supreme Court Justice Ivan C. Rand arbitrate a new collective agreement. His decision leads to adoption of the Rand Formula for union security.
31-12-1958 In Newfoundland, members of the International Woodworkers of America go on strike against the Anglo-Newfoundland Development Company. When Premier Joe Smallwood decertifies the union, the struggle draws international attention.
14-12-1965 A small group of women workers at Tilco Plastics in Peterborough, Ontario, go on strike for a union contract, only to face strike-breakers and court injunctions against picketing. The strike is lost but leads to the abolition of ex parte injunctions.
7-12-1970 The Royal Commission on the Status of Women releases its report. Many of the 167 recommendations relate to the status of women in the workplace, including pay equity and access to childcare, education and training.
11-12-1984 The United Auto Workers Canadian Council decides to separate from the international union and form UAW-Canada, later the Canadian Auto Workers (CAW).
20-12-2001 In a union appeal against an Ontario law, the Supreme Court of Canada rules that the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects the right of agricultural workers to trade unionism and collective bargaining.
31-12-2011 The six-month long lockout of Steelworkers by Rio Tinto in Alma Quebec begins. It is followed by an unprecedented global solidarity campaign.