Title: Letter of 19 May 1919 from R.B. Russell to V. R. Midgley (unsigned)
Author: Russell, Robert Boyd, 1889-1964
Source: Archives of Manitoba, MG10 A3, One Big Union, M308
Page 1 of 1


District Lodge No. 2, International Association of Machinists
Headquarters: 14 Labor Temple, Winnipeg, Manitoba
R. B. RUSSELL, Secretary-Treasurer
May 19th 1919
Mr. V. Midgley,
Labor Temple,
Vancouver, B.C.
Dear Sir and Brother:-
I suppose you will be anxious to know what is taking
place at Winnipeg. We pulled a strike on Thursday morning,
which tied up the entire City – everything has come to a
complete stand-still. From reports we had received, we knew
they intended declaring martial law, and for that reason we
left the Policemen on the Job. We also decided to leave in
enough Men on the Water Works to keep the pressure on the Mains
at 30 pounds, enough to give a domestic supply to Working-Mens
Homes. Finding out that they were attempting to create
disturbances, we decided to allow the Music Halls and Picture
Shows to remain open, providing they displayed a card, stating
that they were open with permission of the Strike Committee, and
also giving us a written guarantee that they would not show
pictures which would be construed to be objectionable to the
Strikers. After having tied up the City completely, we
realized the necessity of opening up some Restuarants [Restaurants], in order
to feed the unmarried population and also to give a limited
supply of Bread and Milk, in order that hunger would not give
the excuse of bringing about riot: providing also, that they
displayed a Card, stating that they were open with the authority
of the Strike Committee. The same prevails with the supply of
gasoline necessary to carry on those industries we had exempted -
everything that is running is advertising the fact that it is
by authority of the Strikers.
We have closed the three Daily Presses and are issuing
a strike-Bulletin every day. The Telegraphers are completely
closed down, unless for wires coming and going to the Labor Temple.
The Mail-service is completely tied-up and we are the only people
who can get anything out of Town. We have received a solid strike
vote from the Engineers, Firemen, and Trainmen and Switchmen working
on the Government Road, also an unanimous strike vote from the
Trainmen and Firemen on the C.P.R. and we have arranged Meetings
for the Engineers and Switchmen for to-day and expect they will
follow suit. Word has been received from Calgary that they have
settled for 80¢ per hour and a 44-hour week: all other clauses of
the agreement having been agreed to. I believe this will give
the Winnipeg Employers an excuse for settling. It is a fine
spectacle to see Employers coming to the Labor Temple, asking
permission to operate their various industries; and we have been
able to stop all attempts to influence the Returned Soldiers, who
at their last Mass Meeting unanimously adopted a resolution
endorsing the Strike. We found out that they offered $25,000.00
to the Great War Veterans in order to keep peace and order – I will
explain this at a later date as I am too busy at present to write
in detail. I will send you a complete copy of the Strike
Bulletins that are issued, in order that you will have all
information in connection with the Strike.
I received your wire in reference to the Conference
and note the request of Montana. I will write you on this
question at a later date, when things are a little more settled.

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