Monday 17 April 2023


 In the Spirit of 1919: Workshop & Gathering 

Saturday, May 6th 2023 
This one-day workshop explored how we can summon the solidarity and hope that the city’s workers displayed 103 years ago to meet today’s challenges. 
It include panel discussions, a Ukrainian dinner and an evening of working-class song and celebration, featuring Maria Dunn
The following day, there was a Winnipeg General Strike Bus Tour . 
To learn more about these events go to. 

Sunday 16 May 2021

Strategic Non-Action

 May 15, 1919. At 7am workers started walking out of their workplaces across the city. By the end of the week the city was shut down by the workers in what became a historic moment for Canada, though they did not know it yet.

From the book Magnificent Fight, “There was a huge cast of players in the drama that was acted out in the Winnipeg General Strike, mostly divided by class but with many cultural, ethnic and gender alliances or antagonisms providing a complex script. The issues that motivated the protagonists were both simple and complex, some contentious and others confused. All of which stimulated different perspectives of what was at stake in The Strike. Ultimately the drama ended in a violent confrontation that left the Winnipeg working class disappointed but not defeated.”

The Strike represented issues still at play today. The workers were fighting for the right to organize in unions and for a living wage. Veterans were protesting their treatment by the government. Immigrants wanted respect and a fair place in society. The main strategic action promoted by the strike leaders was to withdraw their labour, to stop working. As William Ivens wrote in the Western Labor News on May 21, that the “only thing that the workers had to do to win The Strike is to do nothing”.

Today workers are also consumers. And there is power in what we buy, when, where and how.

Today there is a strategic suggestion from The Strike. In addition to taking a public stand on what we believe, also withdraw participation in what is exploiting us. Don’t shop!

Just think the reaction we could have when we refuse to buy products wrapped in useless and wasteful plastic (covid restrictions showed how quickly the air could be clearer). Think what we can tell business leaders if we don’t shop at Walmart or Tim Horton’s (which I admit would be difficult for me). Think what power we could have if we seriously and vigorously buy local, not imported. Think what will happen when we cancel Netflix.

There are instructions and inspirations in our history. What we do with history is up to us.

Wednesday 20 May 2020

Time for 'Living Wages"

Living Wage

Once again, a hundred years later, is the call for a living wage.

One of the main demands of the 1919 strikers was to establish  'living wage' for workers. They knew it was important  to pay a fair or decent wage so families could meet their daily needs. They also knew a living wage was good for the local economy, as it would keep money circulating and generally lifting the well being of communities.

Now in the time of covid19 there is a renewed call for a living wage. Fortunately the public and politicians now see how important workers - front line, service, support - are to our economy and public health. Will the public and politicians now also realize how important it is to pay these workers a living wage?

Saturday 25 May 2019

Victoria Park

Victory Park has its own brass plaque.
After 100 years, the location of the park is marked by a tiny plaque on Waterfront Drive between Pacific and James Avenues.
But if going by you may miss it. It is on the south side of the condominium building, accessible by a sidewalk going west.
It was put up this spring, without notice. When the developer was given the land, it was required to post a commemoration of the location, which was not done until this year.

Friday 30 November 2018

100th Anniversary of The Strike

2019 was the centenary of the General Sympathetic Strike.
Here are some of the events that took place, engaging an estimated 10,000 people:

UFCW Parade & CUPE Concert         May 25th,  Exchange District to Memorial Park

Joe Hill Road Show                                May 30, 8pm Ukrainian Labour Temple

Songs for next Century Concert       June 8,  Old Market Square

Play: Women Strike                              June 13, 7pm Ukrainian Labour Temple

STRIKE the musical                    June 19 - July 9, Rainbow Stage

Memorial of Blood Saturday         June 21, @ corner Market Ave. / Main St.


100th Anniversary of the Ukrainian Labour Temple
(February 14 actual anniversary) Rededication event April 25

Social Planning Council of Winnipeg 100th
(April 14 actual anniversary) April  26th Celebration, ULT

MayWorks Festival of Labour and the Arts
May, numerous locations

Heritage Winnipeg, Doors Open event                    
May 25 & 26, various important historical sites

Premier of  movie STAND (was known as STRIKE the musical)

Art Exhibition: “Revolting”       Edge Gallery 621 Main Street.                                    
            August 2 to August 30


1919 STRIKE Exhibit                     March 22 onward, Manitoba Museum

Book Launch: Magnificent Fight     May 2, 7pm McNally Robinson

1919 Strike Conference                   May 9-12, University of Winnipeg

Myers LLP Social                          May 11, 2019, Ukrainian Labour Temple

Book Launch: PAPERGIRL             Sunday May 5, 3pm McNally

BOLSHIE BASH                                   May 9 – 17, Rachel Brown Theatre

Book Launch: Graphic History of General Strike             May 12, 2pm, McNally

Poetry Reading: Ron Romanowski                May 13, 7pm McNally

Memorial Service – Mike Sokolowski            May 16, 7pm Brookside Cemetery

Sympathetic Strike Tour                              May 26, North/South End/Exchange 

Thursday 22 November 2018

Walker Theatre Meeting sets Stage for 1919 Winnipeg Strike

There were two very visible events that fed the view that The Strike was a revolt, not merely a protest. One was an important meeting at the Walker Theatre on December 22, 1918, organized by the Winnipeg Trades and Labour Council and the Socialist Party of Canada. It was “dedicated to the purpose of finding no good at all in the government.”  The meeting was planned because the workers realized that the Trades and Labour Congress officers were “impotent in the matter of securing from the Government redress of the grievances complained of, and were determined that the voice of protest should be heard."  (Defense Committee 1920:4)
The 1,600 workers at the meeting were protesting the use of Orders-in-Council (Dominion Cabinet orders) to deal with issues they believed parliament should have responsibility for. They believed Orders-in-Council were undemocratic in suppressing union action, limiting freedom of the press and curtailing political party activity. The meeting was also a protest against the continued imprisonment of political prisoners and sending military forces to fight the revolutionary government of Russia. The meeting endorsed a resolution (copied from a similar Toronto meeting), "that conditions in this country do not, and never have warranted such an unjustifiable interference with the liberties of the people. We view with apprehension the introduction of autocratic methods and the increasing tendency of a few men to usurp the prerogatives of the people which are alone vested in their elected representatives.” (Defense Committee 1920:7)
The report on the meeting in the Western Labor News of December 27 noted that John Queen, “then called for three cheers for the Russian Revolution. The meeting ended with deafening cries of ‘Long live the Russian Soviet Republic! Long live Karl Liebknecht [a German Socialist who was murdered by nationalist troops the following January]! Long live the working class!’ The meeting ordered that, if possible, the message of congratulations be cabled to the Bolsheviki.” A follow up meeting at the Majestic Theatre, only organized by the SPC, reiterated the critique of government made at the Walker, but laid on more of the socialist critique of government. Despite these meetings, there was never a formal alliance between the unions in The Strike and any political party.  

Video Statement

Introduction to Victoria Park 

Friday 1 June 2018

2018 STRIKE Tour

During MayWorks each year, there is a 1919 General Sympathetic Strike Tour on the last Sunday in May. The City Transit bus was full in previous tours so it is wise to book space early.
To register for the 2019 Strike Tour, contact or call/text 204 793 3289.