This month in labour history

This month in labour history

3-02-1939 421 members of the Mackenzie-Papineau battalion disembark at Halifax. Of the 1,300 who fought fascism in the Spanish Civil War (1936-39), half of them had been killed. Most Mac-Paps had been recruited by their unions and were union activists. [more]

3-02-2005 Ontario's Liberal minister Gerard Kennedy describes 'strike' as 'a bit of a five-letter word' in the education sector [more]

6-02-2012 Eleven farmworkers, including nine migrant workers from Peru, are killed in a highway crash at Hampstead, Ontario. The tragedy highlights unsafe conditions in the sector and the exploitation of seasonal workers. [more]

9-02-1869 Birth of James Bryson McLachlan, at Ecclefechan, Scotland. As a union leader in Canada he becomes the champion of the Nova Scotia coal miners and a leading spokesman for the cause of labour radicalism. [more]

10-02-1928 At the Hollinger Consolidated Gold Mine at Timmins, Ontario, the largest in North America, 39 miners are killed when a fire spreads carbon monoxide through the workings. There is no rescue plan in place and it takes five days to put out the fire. [more]

11-02-1963 At Reesor Siding, near Kapuskasing, Ontario, eleven union members are shot, three fatally, in a confrontation over pulpwood supplies for a strikebound mill. Three of the attackers are later fined for possessing dangerous firearms. [more]

11-02-1908 Eight workers are killed in an explosion at the Standard Explosive Company works on Île Perrot, near Montreal. [more]

14-02-1949 In defiance of provincial laws, asbestos workers in Québec begin a four-month strike for better wages and workplace safety. With strong public support for the miners' cause, the strike becomes a forerunner of the province's Quiet Revolution. [more]

15-02-1982 All 84 crew on board are lost when an oil-drilling rig capsizes and sinks in a storm on the Grand Banks off Newfoundland and Labrador. The Ocean Ranger disaster is attributed to failures in structural design and inadequate safety measures. [more]

17-02-1944 Wartime unrest convinces the federal government to bring in an emergency order, P.C. 1003. It requires employers to recognize and bargain with unions supported by the majority of employees. This sets a standard for postwar labour relations law. [more]

19-02-2017 Labour leader Bob White dies at 81 years of age. He is remembered as a founder of the Canadian Auto Workers and a popular president of the Canadian Labour Congress.[more]

21-02-1891 At Springhill, Nova Scotia an explosion takes the lives of 125 men and boys in the province's largest coal mine disaster. They leave more than 200 widows and children. [more]

25-02-1931 In Toronto more than 500 women dressmakers protest sweatshop conditions in the needle trades and begin a strike for better wages and union recognition. Large numbers of scabs and police are deployed. [more]

26-02-1979 The Farmworkers Organizing Committee (FWOC) is established at a meeting in a room in the New Westminster library. Eight people are present including: Raj Chouhan, Harinder Mahil, Sarwan Sidhu, Pritam Singh, Amarit Pal Mann, Gurnam Sahota. [more]