This month in labour history
27-01-1872 A public meeting at the Mechanics' Institute in Hamilton, Ontario adopts resolutions to reduce the normal six-day working week from 60 to 54 hours. When the Nine Hour League is announced, support grows in a dozen centres, from Sarnia to Montréal.
15-01-1889 Innkeeper Joe Beef of Montréal dies, a legendary friend to the outcast poor and labouring classes. More than 50 unions march in his funeral procession.
31-01-1907 More than 400 women telephone operators in Toronto walk out when Bell Telephone attempts to introduce longer hours and lower pay.
20-01-1914 Joseph Mairs, 21, a coal miner from Ladysmith, British Columbia, dies in prison after failing to receive adequate medical treatment. He is one of more than 200 strikers arrested in a long struggle for recognition of the United Mine Workers of America
23-01-1918 In wartime Nova Scotia, 88 men are killed in an explosion in a coal mine at Stellarton. The casualties of that day are later listed on a memorial. Another memorial lists the 69 local soldiers killed during the four years of the First World War.
29-01-1946 Supreme Court Justice Ivan C. Rand releases his report on the Ford strike and imposes the Rand Formula to promote union security.
20-01-1950 Barred windows and locked doors prevent workers from escaping a fire in a small basement garment factory in downtown Toronto. Of the eleven people in the shop, six die in the blaze, including the owner and his son, and three more in hospital.
1-01-1952 Old Age Security, the country's first universal pension plan, comes into effect for Canadians at 70 years of age. The Canada Pension Plan, based on employment contributions, follows in 1966.
19-01-1973 Annie Buller, a veteran Communist organizer, dies in Toronto at 78 years of age after a lifetime of activism in support of labour and political causes.
9-01-1974 Workers at United Aircraft in Longueiul, Québec begin a bitter confrontation that lasts 20 months. One result is the anti-scab law introduced by the new Parti Québécois government in 1977.
24-01-1979 The first bank strike in Canadian history begins when workers picket branches of La Banque d'épargne de la cité et du district de Montréal.
29-01-1980 Jean-Claude Parrot, president of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers, is sent to prison for defying a back-to-work law.
26-01-1981 An illegal strike by 16,000 Ontario hospital workers, members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees, begins. CUPE President Grace Hartman later goes to jail for supporting her members.
26-01-1983 Instructors at Quebec CEGEPs walk out, beginning a Common Front strike against rollbacks in collective agreements introduced by the Parti Québécois. Primary and high school teachers and other public sector workers join the protest.
25-01-1988 Members of the United Nurses of Alberta defy a ban on strike action and begin a province-wide strike against cutbacks in health care. They win their case, and a better contract follows two years later.