Unions: From the 1920s to the 1960s

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After World War One, Canadian soldiers who risked their lives returned to Canada, only to realize that they were not compensated for their valour and that there were no job opportunities left for them. Six years had already passed since the beginning of World War One, but the economy was only getting worse than before. Women and foreigners were forced to give up their jobs in order for the veterans to have occupations that were often situated in dirty, dark, and uncomfortable conditions. This led to the development of unions; organizations that aimed for better living and working standards. These unions eventually grew into an unstoppable force that formed political parties for the people, and supported workers throughout the 1920s to the 1960s. On the other hand, the unions brought subtle violence, such as the Winnipeg General Strike in 1919 and the Asbestos Strike in 1949. Despite some violence and high labour costs, the unions significantly improved the working and living conditions of the citizens physically, economically, and socially.

Unions were already existent from MacDonald’s legislation in 1881, but the organizations were small. The unions grew rapidly during World War One; starting from several hundred to 378 000 members in 1919 as people protested against conscription. A total of 400 strikes occurred during that year for the welfare of the people, of which one was a General Strike. Before, craft unions were existent for the craft skilled jobs, but they eventually focused on Industrial matters as industrial machinery were introduced into the workforce and most workplaces. With this advancement in technology, work was finished more efficiently. In the years of the 1940s, ‘white collar work’ and services also formed...

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