Box 14, Folder 12, Document 79

Dublin Core

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September 13, 1966.

His Worship Mayor Ivan Allen, Jr.,
Atlanta, Georgia.

Dear Mayor Allen:-

I have been reading with interest about the striking fire-
men in Atlanta.

First of all, I commend you on your firm stand. In my
opinion, a strike, under any circumstances, is a form of
blackmail, particularly when a strike occurs in an
important service industry essential to the health and
safety of the community, when it becomes a form of social
blackmail which sooner or later, I am sure, will not be

In 1919, we had a "general" strike in Winnipeg at which
time did not only the Fire Department go on strike but so
also did the Police, Garbage Collectors, Bus and Streetcar
Operators, Telegraph Operators, Postal employees, Tele-
phone Operators, and Printers. There were other workers
in less important jobs who also went on strike which
laster for six weeks.

The business community organized what was known as a
"Committee of 1000''. Essential services were maintained
by volunteers, particularly the Fire Department which at
that time consisted largely of horse-drawn vehicles. In
order to prevent the strikers from wearing out the

horses by false alarms, it was necessary to keep armed
guards on each fire alarm box. An emergency task force
of citizens was armed and encamped on several school
grounds under the command of experienced military people.
After several weeks, the Post Office issued an ultimatum
of return to work which was not accepted by the strikers,
and all federally employed personnel in the Post Office
were discharged and most of them were never rehired.

The strike eventually broke down for two reasons. First,
the strikers began to find that their own families were
unable to get food, fuel, and ice. Secondly, soldiers
returned from overseas after the First World War began to
take the jobs that the strikers had vacated and they were

His Worship Mayor Ivan Allen, Jr. - 2.

in no mood to be intimidated. The final straw was the
arrest of the strike leaders who were charged with
sedition and a number of them were sent to the peniten-

There was no serious strike in Winnipeg after that for
twenty years. Since then, perhaps the most outstanding
strike has been that of the Typographical Union which
threatened to close down our two daily papers. This

strike occurred in the late 1940's and none of the strikers
were re-employed and I don't believe the newspapers missed
more than one edition.

In our neighboring province of Saskatchewan, the Public
Utility workers have recently gone on strike (the
electrical facilities in this case are owned by the Pro-
vince). The government of the Province has recently
enacted legislation which compels the strikers to go back
to work at a smaller increase in pay than had been
suggested by the Province across the bargaining table.

At the moment, we are waiting to see whether the strikers
will defy the legislation. If they do, I have no doubt
that the government, which fortunately is in a strong
position in the House, will take extremely firm steps to
deal with them.

I commend you on your stand.

Yours sincerely,

Ee s Ficissr

LL Zé a

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