The Winnipeg General Strike marks 100 years

Nearly 300 strike-related records are now digitized and accessible

May 15, 1919 marks a pivotal moment in Winnipeg’s history. At 11 a.m. that day, between 25,000 and 35,000 workers walked off the job and essentially brought the City of Winnipeg to a standstill.

“The Winnipeg General Strike began as a disagreement between metal workers and their employers,” said Sarah Ramsden, Senior Archivist at the City of Winnipeg.

The strike spanned roughly six weeks and saw several strike leaders, including two City Council aldermen, arrested. This prompted what started out as a silent march on June 21.

That march turned violent as people in the crowd set a streetcar on fire. The Royal Northwest Mounted Police charged into the crowd. Two people were killed and several others injured as a result of the riot.

“Seven of the nine strike leaders put on trial were convicted, and served between six months and two years in prison,” said Ramsden.

The City of Winnipeg Archives has marked the centennial anniversary of the strike by digitizing nearly 300 records related to the strike.

“These records document the role of the City and its employees before, during, and after this important event,” said Ramsden.

The records can be easily accessed through the Winnipeg in Focus website. Archives has also compiled a research guide which explores the significance of the Winnipeg General Strike.

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