Title: Letter of 28 May 1919 from T. Murray to R. A. Rigg
Author: Murray, Thomas Joseph, 1875-1954
Source: Archives of Manitoba, MG 14 B 43, Richard Arthur Rigg, Descriptive List
Page 2 of 4


R. A. R. -2-
taken to stand in favor of a war bonus, continued to
hold that stand even though it was found it was un-
favorable to the firemen. That was perhaps mistake
No. 3. Then the firemen presented an ultimatum giving
I think 48 hours notice. That was mistake NO. 4. The
City Council brought to a realization of the serious
situation by the threat of the firemen, appointed a
special committee to deal with the men, their first
intelligent act. This committee after two days and
night sessions came to an agreement with the men. On
Monday night the City Council turned down the report
of this Committee which of course was a very very
unwise thing. Then the firemen went on strike. A
reasonable amount of ordinary horse sense on the part
of the Board of Control and the Council, and a reasonable
amount of patience and forebearance on the part of the
Civic Unions, would have avoided all the trouble. Both
sides were at fault and I don't think there is very much
to choose between the two in so far as this dispute is
concerned. However labor quite properly, when the right
to strike was challenged, as it was challenged by
Fowler's amendment to the Committee's report, took up
the challenge and strongly rallied to the support of
the Civic Unions. There probably is no issue other
than the right to organize, which could have brought about
such a successful sympathetic strike as took place.
Certainly Trades Unionism in Winnipeg has proven its strength.
Fortunately the strike did not last long enough to result
in the slightest indication of weakness on the part of any
of the striking unions. They were all game until settle-
ment took place and in fact most of them were enjoying the
holiday and the situation generally. Trades unionism as a
whole I think comes out of the struggle in a stronger
position than before; I believe the public recognize
that important union issues must hereafter be dealt with
wisely and promptly. At the same time the necessity of
hereafter applying to principles of conciliation is also
clearly impressed upon the minds of everybody. Successful
as was this strike, I believe it has materially advanced
the arrival of the day when strikes will be very largely
if not wholly a thing of the past. There has been a lot
of serious thinking on the part of the public. The public
conscience has been stirred up; they will probably never
forgive or forget the firemen for striking; the firemen
will probably never again occupy in the public mind the
place which they have heretofore occupied; from occupying
a special niche in the affections of the people, the firemen
have probably come down to the position of the common herd.
I believe they might have gained all they wanted to without

Digital Resources on Manitoba History