Daniel Blaikie MP tables Motion to commemorate the 1919 Winnipeg General Strike

WINNIPEG – This week in the House of Commons, NDP MP Daniel Blaikie (Elmwood-Transcona), tabled a motion to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the 1919 Winnipeg General Strike.

On May 15, 1919, the Winnipeg Trades and Labour Council called for a general strike when negotiations failed between management and building and metal trade workers. Soon more than 30,000 Winnipeg workers were striking for better working conditions, wages and the right to collective bargaining. With most everything in the city shut down, the Central Strike Committee effectively ran the city until arrests, federal government intervention and the violence against the workers on “Bloody Saturday” ended the strike on June 25.

“The Winnipeg General Strike showed the power that workers have when they stand together to demand fair treatment,” said Blaikie. “It continues to be an inspiration to me and all those in the labour movement who are pushing back against the attacks on working people by right-wing governments across Canada. I am proud to stand with Winnipeg’s labour leaders to call for the official commemoration of this event by the Parliament of Canada.”

“The Strike had a profound impact on labour relations in Canada and set the stage for a number of positive gains for working people, like the establishment of the minimum wage, labour rights, workplace health and safety protections, pensions and many other aspects of our social safety net,” said Kevin Rebeck, President of the Manitoba Federation of Labour. “Manitoba’s labour movement is proud to support a number of community events next year to celebrate this pivotal event in our national history.”

“The 1919 Winnipeg General Strike is an important reminder that workers’ gains are not won without a struggle. Almost a century later we see disparaging similarities for today’s workers,” said Basia Sokal, President of the Winnipeg Labour Council. “Stagnating wages, precarious work and attacks on organized labour are just some of the austerity measures being recycled by today’s right-wing politicians. These were some of the very issues for workers a hundred years ago. It’s time that working class people stand up to promote bringing up all workers to higher standards rather than attacking what little some workers still have. Let’s remember that it’s not a race to the bottom but a labour of love to bring all workers up!”

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For more information, please contact:

Paul Worster, 204-338-5851,

 

Daniel.Blaikie.c1@parl.gc.ca