THIS MONTH IN LABOUR HISTORY

1-05-1906 Socialists in Montréal organize Canada's first May Day demonstration. The following year ten thousand people assemble in the Champs de Mars before the crowd is dispersed by police. [more]

1-05-1986 Shirley Carr becomes the first woman president of the Canadian Labour Congress. A coal miner's daughter who became a member of the Canadian Union of Public Employees, she is also the first CLC president from a public sector union. [more]

2-05-1952 More than 1,000 retail employees, most of them women, begin a strike at Dupuis Frères, a major department store in Montréal. It takes three months, but support for the new militancy among Catholic unions helps the workers win a collective agreement. [more]

3-05-1887 British Columbia's worst mine disaster takes 150 lives after an explosion in a deep underground mine at Nanaimo. The casualties include 53 Chinese labourers, whose names were not recorded by the company. [more]

5-05-1972 Saskatchewan brings in an Occupational Health (and Safety) Act, considered the first of its kind in North America. It includes the right to information about workplace hazards, to participate in safety decisions and to refuse unsafe work. [more]

9-05-1972 Leaders of the Québec Common Front go to jail for defying back to work laws during the April general strike. More than 300,000 workers participate in work stoppages and occupations that bring the provincial government back to the bargaining table. [more]

9-05-1992 An underground explosion takes the lives of 26 miners in Pictou County, Nova Scotia. A public inquiry into the Westray Disaster reports that workers were intimidated into ignoring safety hazards. [more]

14-05-1940 Emma Goldman, the veteran feminist, anarchist and labour organizer, dies in Toronto, Ontario. A memorial service is held at the Labor Lyceum on Spadina Avenue. She is later buried in Chicago with the Haymarket martyrs. [more]

14-05-1940 Emma Goldman, the veteran feminist, labour and anarchist organizer, dies in Toronto, Ontario. A memorial service is held at the Labor Lyceum on Spadina Avenue, but she is buried with the Haymarket martyrs in Chicago. [more]

15-05-1919 A general strike called by the Winnipeg Trades and Labour Council brings out 30,000 workers in support of the unions in the building and metal trades. The city comes to a standstill for six weeks in one of the major labour struggles in Canadian history. [more]

15-05-1919 Winnipeg General Strike. [more]

18-05-1952 The American singer and activist Paul Robeson performs for 40,000 people at a union-sponsored concert at the Peace Arch between Washington State and British Columbia. His passport had been revoked and he had been refused admission to Canada. [more]

28-05-1927 The House of Commons approves a limited old age pension plan. To qualify, Canadians must be 70 years of age and pass a means test. Also, they must live in a participating province. [more]