Labour Studies Index

Updated: 2022-05-16

Strikes in the Maritimes, 1901-1914

Document type Article
Author McKay, Ian
Journal Acadiensis
Volume 13
Date 1983
Pages 3-46


Recent studies have illustrated the strength and significance of working-class movements in the Maritimes during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Other work has emphasized the organization of local and international unions and the emergence of the socialist movement in the region. A study of strikes in the Maritimes can help provide a regional context for such work, and also help correct the regional imbalance in national historiography. Strikes themselves were crucial events, and no historical interpretation of the region in this period can safely overlook them. By studying the vigorous response of the region's workers to the new political economy of the early 20th century, we can start to understand the human implications of economic change. For these reasons, it is worth our effort to describe and analyze the general pattern of strikes, often in quantitative terms. This general pattern can then be related to the region's economic structure and help broaden our understanding of the economic revolution which transformed the region from the 1880s to the 1920s. In particular, two major themes emerge from this analysis: the transformation of the labour market and the revolution in the workplace. --From author's introduction