The Canadian prairies: a history by Gerald Friesen.T
Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1984.

Forging the Prairie West by John Herd Thompson.
Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1998.

Manitoba: a history by W. L. Morton.
Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1957

Lessons > Strike 1919! Senior 3

Strike 1919! Senior 3

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  • Students will examine the development and operation of trade unions.
  • Students will explore the divisions created by Winnipeg's industrialization and growing conflict within the labour movement.
  • Students will identify the events that led to the defeat for the unions.
  • Students will develop further awareness of the strike's impact on Winnipeg and Canada’s economic development.

Curriculum Outcomes: Canada: A Social And Political History

  • Response to Industrialization: Working-Class Movements
  • Cooperatives, Professional Associations, Employers' Associations
  • The effect trade unions have on the life of the average worker
  • The effect cooperative movement and associations have on Canadian society
  • The concept of restructuring
  • Economic and Political ties developing between Canada and developed countries
  • How Canada is influenced culturally, economically and politically

Materials: (Activating student interest and Acquiring information)

Vocabulary : to promote use of language in oral discussion, reading and written work

strike revolution socialist business committee
benefits council dispute services revolt
volunteers criminal code cause journeyman
economics radical censorship prosecution force
trials solidarity divisions wages replacement
congress criticism exchange inflation bargaining
contract ultimatum affront loyal donation
initiative sedition conspiracy influence citizen

Suggestions for Instruction: (Applying)

Create opportunities for students to review the following:

  • Working-class movements
  • Cooperatives
  • Professional Associations
  • Employers’ Associations

Using the background and website information, have the students find the similarities and differences between the above topics and trade unions .

In small or large groups, have students chart the events leading up to the General Strike. Students may also use a variety of graphic organizers to collect information and highlight areas of interest. Encourage students to give reasons and personal opinion as to why events played out as interpreted from history. Have students share their information.

Areas of interest may lead to further study surrounding possible topics such as:

  • The Canadian economy – employers and employee relations in the past – (looking at the monopoly of the Fur Trade, competing companies, working conditions, wages, etc.)
  • The effect of unions on Canadian society
  • Labour around the world
  • The impact on Winnipeg’s economy and standard of living if a second “general” strike should happen
  • Are strikes necessary, or are there other options? Solutions?

Suggestions for Assessment

Students will demonstrate their understanding through:

  • meeting rubric criteria
  • presentations
  • group projects
  • oral discussions
  • written assignments, etc.

Extension Activities

  • field trip to Winnipeg’s Union Centre
  • guest speaker on unions
  • field trip to large industry in Winnipeg
  • inquiry into arbitration, collective bargaining, etc.
  • interviews with people who experienced life in Winnipeg before and after the strike
Digital Resources on Manitoba History